California getting tough law on gender wage gap

October 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers in California will have to comply with what’s being called the strongest equal pay law in the nation when it takes effect on January 1, 2016.

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed the California Fair Pay Act, Senate Bill 358, on October 6. A statement from the governor’s office says current law prohibits employers from paying a woman less than a man when they both perform equal work at the same establishment, but the new law will require equal pay regardless of gender for “substantially similar work.” The new law also will prohibit retaliation against employees who invoke the law and will protect employees who discuss wages.

The new law differs from current law in two key ways, according to Mark I. Schickman, an attorney with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco. First, it requires employers to understand not only what the “same job” is but also what “comparable jobs” are. “That’s very different,” Schickman said. Plus, the law doesn’t provide employers guidance on how to figure that out. The second key difference is that the new law puts the burden of proof on the employer to justify differences in wages.

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Franchisee group calls ruling on Seattle wage law discriminatory

September 28, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Franchisers in Seattle are faced with phasing in the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage more quickly than they had hoped now that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected their bid to be classified as small businesses, a decision the franchisers call discriminatory.

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law that requires employers to phase in the new $15 minimum wage over the next few years. Employers with 500 or fewer employees have more time to implement the change than employers with more than 500 workers.

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New Florida law offers employers protection against hackers

by Lisa Berg

Effective October 1, Florida business owners will have a new civil remedy in the event they’re harmed by unauthorized access to their computers or information stored on protected computers.

Under Florida’s Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act (CADRA), businesses can pursue a civil action for “harm or loss” suffered as a result of unauthorized access to “protected computers.”

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New Connecticut law makes wage infractions more dangerous

by John Herrington

A new Connecticut law taking effect October 1 requires courts to award double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees for most employee wage claims.

Under the new law—Public Act 15-86, the “Act Concerning an Employer’s Failure to Pay Wages”—a court must award, as a baseline default, double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees if it finds that an employer has (1) failed to pay an employee’s wages, accrued fringe benefits, or arbitration award or (2) failed to meet the law’s requirements for an employee’s minimum wage or overtime rates.

Before the new law, which applies to all Connecticut employers, courts consistently held that awards for double damages and attorneys’ fees required the employee to establish facts sufficient to support a finding of bad faith, arbitrariness, or unreasonableness by the employer. Under the new law, that burden shifts from employees to employers.

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New Connecticut law protects interns from discrimination, harassment

by Ashley Harrison Sakakeeny

Employers in Connecticut should update their antidiscrimination and antiharassment policies to cover unpaid interns as a new state law becomes effective October 1.

The new law, Public Act 15-56, prohibits discrimination and harassment against interns much like current laws protect employees. It prohibits discrimination based on an intern’s race, color, age, and other protected characteristics. Also, the law makes it illegal to retaliate against an intern for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment. It permits interns to file complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and, ultimately, in Connecticut superior court.

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Connecticut employers need to be ready for new social media law

by John Herrington

Connecticut employers need to prepare for a new law taking effect October 1 limiting how they can access social media accounts belonging to employees and applicants.

The new law prohibits an employer from:

  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to provide a username, password, or any other authentication means for accessing a personal online account;
  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer;
  • Requiring employees or applicants to invite the employer or to accept an invitation from the employer to join a group affiliated with a personal online account;
  • Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, retaliating against, or otherwise penalizing employees who refuse to provide the means to access a personal online account; or
  • Failing or refusing to hire applicants based on their refusal to provide access to a personal online account.

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Uber class action ruling expected to have national implications

September 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A San Francisco judge’s ruling granting class action status to possibly thousands of Uber drivers carries implications that “go well beyond California,” according to an attorney closely watching the case.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled September 1 that a group of Uber drivers in California can sue as a class as they argue that they should be considered employees instead of independent contractors.

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New law allows veteran preference for private employers in Nebraska

by Mark M. Schorr

Private employers in Nebraska will be allowed to implement policies giving hiring preference to veterans when a new law takes effect on August 30.

Legislative Bill 272 will allow private employers with one or more employees to have a preference for veterans in hiring decisions without violating other laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Covered veterans include individuals who (1) served full-time in the U.S. armed forces with military pay and allowances and (2) received an honorable or general discharge.

The law also covers the spouses of veterans who were killed in hostile action or suffered a 100 percent permanent disability as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The law doesn’t cover individuals whose service was solely for training or determining physical fitness.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Nebraska

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Houston Equal Rights Ordinance going on November ballot

Voters in Houston will decide the fate of the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) when they go to the polls in November. On August 5, the Houston City Council decided to put the measure on the ballot after the Texas Supreme Court ruled on July 24 that the council had to either repeal the ordinance or put it to the voters.

The city council passed HERO in May 2014, but the ordinance was the target of a petition drive to have it repealed. At first, the city secretary said opponents of the measure had enough signatures to force a vote. Later, many of the signatures were thrown out, but the supreme court decided the petition was properly certified.

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New York fast-food employers bracing for $15 minimum wage

July 24, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

New York fast-food workers may be celebrating the likelihood of a $15-an-hour minimum wage phased in over the next few years, but others are questioning the justification offered for the of a chinese restaurant

A three-member wage board appointed by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recommended the new minimum wage for fast-food workers July 22. It won’t take effect without an order from the state’s acting labor commissioner, which is expected.

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