Employment Law This Week® – Episode 143 – Monthly Rundown: August 2019

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This Employment Law This Week® Monthly Rundown discusses the most important developments for employers heading into August 2019. The episode includes:

1. Increased Employee Protections for Cannabis Users

Employment protections for pot users are on the rise. Last month, New Jersey amended its medical marijuana law to provide express protections to employees who use medical marijuana. At the same time, New Jersey’s Supreme Court is considering whether medical marijuana users are entitled to “reasonable accommodations” under the state’s discrimination laws. Meanwhile, New York legislators could not come to agreement on a recreational legalization bill, which likely would have included employment protections, so, instead, they decriminalized possession of less than 2 oz. of marijuana. Look for lawmakers to try to pass additional regulations in the next session. Nevada recently became the first state to outlaw the rejection of applicants who test positive for marijuana, following New York City’s lead. And Illinois is now the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana. The new law puts into place the most comprehensive workplace protections for marijuana users.

2. First Opinion Letters Released Under New Wage and Hour Leadership

After a two-month hiatus, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor has released a series of opinion letters. They are the first such letters issued under the new leadership at the WHD. As always, the letters address specific questions submitted by the public, but they can apply more broadly. Addressed in this series are the following: calculating overtime pay for nondiscretionary bonuses, applying overtime exemptions to paralegals, and rounding hours worked under the Service Contract Act.

Click here for more information: https://www.ebglaw.com/eltw143-wh

3. New Jersey and Illinois Enact Salary History Inquiry Bans

Illinois and New Jersey ban salary history inquiries statewide. This adds two large states to the growing number of jurisdictions using salary history inquiry bans to try and address the gender pay gap. The laws make it illegal for employers to screen applicants based on their salary history. The Illinois law will take effect on September 29, 2019, and the New Jersey law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Click here for more information: https://www.ebglaw.com/news/new-jersey-becomes-the-latest-state-to-enact-a-ban-on-salary-history-inquiries/

4. Deadline for New York State Anti-Harassment Training Approaches

A heads-up for New York employers—the deadline for training New York employees on preventing sexual harassment and discrimination is October 9. All New York-based employees must be trained, regardless of the size of the employer’s New York workforce. And there are additional requirements for New York City employers. Visit http://www.ebglaw.com/oct9 for more information.

5. Tip of the Week

Lenora Billings-Harris, Diversity Strategist for Ubuntu Global and a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, shares some tips on disrupting bias with teams and clients:

“Research repeatedly shows that organizations with diverse and inclusive workforce environments outperform their competition. Inclusion is the challenging part of the equation, because of the impact of unconscious or implicit bias. Here are a few actions I invite you to practice with teams and with clients: Ask team members for their ideas before you mention yours. Invite the introverts to share. You can’t control the behavior of clients, so here are a few tips to ensure your team members are heard regardless of titles, tenure, age, gender, or ethnicity: Before launching into the focus of the meeting, inform your client of the wealth of talent on your team as you introduce each person. Help the client understand the expertise among all present. Disrupting bias enables diversity of thought, which serves our organizations and our clients.”

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These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The “Tip of the Week” offers one perspective on possible human resource ideas or business practices. It presents the perspective of an individual not affiliated with Epstein Becker Green and should not be considered legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.


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