Previously, we warned how the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Cannabis Act) will directly impact Illinois employers’ responsibilities and liabilities when drug testing, disciplining or terminating employees because of the use or possession of cannabis.
Then, in December 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed amendments into the Cannabis Act. At first glance, it appears these amendments, Public Act 101-0593, are employer-friendly because they have relieved some of the tension between Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (Right to Privacy Act) and the Cannabis Act. For example, under the amendments to the Cannabis Act, an employer may retract a job offer based on an applicant’s cannabis use before beginning employment.
With the new year fast approaching, millions around the world will be gathering to count down the end of 2019 and usher in a new decade. As the ball drops in Times Square, employers should be asking themselves, “Are my exempt employees still subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption?”
For months, companies doing business in California have awaited clarity on the final contours of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Some employer questions were recently answered when California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released proposed regulations for the CCPA and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several CCPA amendments into law. One of those amendments, AB-25, exempts certain types of employee data from coverage under the CCPA.
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced its Final Rule updating the exemption threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on Sept. 24, 2019. The Final Rule raises the standard salary level threshold for “white collar” employees from the $23,660 minimum established in 2004 to $35,568, or $684 per week. Employees earning less than $35,568 a year must be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 each week. Above this salary level, eligibility for overtime varies based on job duties.
Can employers violate employees’ rights by creating policies that prohibit certain hairstyles at work? New York City and California think so; and they likely won’t be the last jurisdictions with a say on the matter.
Just this year the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued guidelines saying that while employers can require that employees maintain a work-appropriate appearance, a grooming policy that prohibits locs, cornrows, fades, Afros, and other such hairstyles will be considered racial bias. Specifically, the guidelines state:
Under a new law set to take effect September 29, 2019, Illinois employers will be prohibited from, among other things, asking for an employee’s wage history during the hiring process. The law, which amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act, is designed with the intent of avoiding future pay disparity between men and women based on prior wage differences.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois residents and visitors over age 21 are allowed to purchase, possess, use, or transport cannabis for recreational purposes. Illinois’ legalization of recreational cannabis under state law will impact Illinois and Missouri employers because the drug will be more accessible to their employees.
Since June 2010, contractors and subcontractors with contracts that result from federal agency solicitations issued on or after June 21, 2010, have been required to display the Department of Labor (DOL) poster notifying employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). On May 16, 2019, the DOL made the following updates to this employer-required poster:
- a new telephone number for the National Labor Relations Board; and
- new contact information for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employee’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, rather it is a procedural requirement that could be waived by the employer’s failure to timely raise the issue.
In Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, --- S.Ct. ---- (U.S. June 3, 2019) the plaintiff, Davis, filed a charge of discrimination alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. While that charge was pending, Davis was told to report to work on a Sunday. When Davis refused due to a prior church commitment, her employment was terminated. Intending to amend her earlier charge, Davis submitted an EEOC Intake Questionnaire on which she handwrote “religion” under “Harms or Actions” and checked the boxes for “discharge” and “reasonable accommodation.” However, Davis made no change to her formal charge of discrimination document to allege discrimination on the basis of her religion.
As we explained last week, a federal judge recently ruled that all employers who are required to submit EEO-1 surveys must report 2018 employee pay data by Sept. 30, 2019. In that ruling, the court also ordered the EEOC to collect a second year of pay data and gave the agency a choice between collecting employers’ 2017 data with the 2018 pay data or waiting to collect 2019 pay data next year.