It has been a busy summer in the employment law world. Companies doing business in California, Connecticut, Nevada, New York, Oregon, New York City, San Antonio, and Dallas should become familiar with these legal updates:
- Nevada and NYC: Pre-Employment Marijuana Screening Restrictions.
- Employers in Nevada and New York City soon won't be able to reject applicants for testing positive for marijuana. With a few exceptions, Nevada's law requires employers to overlook a positive result for THC or marijuana on a pre-employment drug test. NYC's law goes a step further by outlawing pre-employment drug testing for THC and marijuana altogether, except in certain circumstances (such as safety sensitive positions).
- Compliance Deadlines: January 1, 2020 (Nevada) and May 10, 2020 (NYC).
- Take-Away: Employers in Nevada and NYC should ensure their handbooks are consistent with these new laws and change their testing requirements and procedures if necessary.
- Connecticut and Oregon: Paid Family Leave.
- Connecticut and Oregon just became the seventh and eighth states to enact paid family leave - and these new laws are the most generous family leave programs in the country. Both laws will provide workers with wage replacement benefits for up to 12 weeks of leave. Connecticut's program is funded by a payroll tax on workers, while Oregon's is funded by both workers and companies with 25+ employees. Connecticut wage replacement benefits will be capped at $900 weekly, whereas Oregon employees can receive up to $1,215.
- Compliance Deadlines: January 1, 2021 (Connecticut) and January 1, 2023 (Oregon).
- Take-Away: While there's still plenty of time to prepare before these laws take effect, employers in Connecticut and Oregon should prepare for additional payroll deductions and consider updating their handbooks to reflect these upcoming benefits.
Washington: Paid Family Leave Reporting Deadline.
- Washington State began collecting payroll premiums for paid family and medical leave on January 1, 2019. Washington employers are reminded that July 31 is the deadline to submit Q1 and Q2 reports and payments.
- Compliance Deadline: July 31, 2019.
- Take-Away: Washington employers should set up their SecureAccess Washington (SAW) accounts as soon as possible in order to register and prepare for the July 31 deadline.
San Antonio and Dallas, TX: Paid Sick Time.
- Everything is bigger in Texas - even paid sick time laws. Following in the steps of New Jersey and otherjurisdictions, San Antonio and Dallas passed their own sick leave laws - but these Texas laws offer more leave time than most of their sick leave counterparts. Under both laws, companies with up to 15 employees will need to provide 48 hours of paid sick time per year, and companies with more than 15 employees will need to provide 64 hours of paid sick time per year. Sick time can either be frontloaded or accrued at the rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked. Business organizations have sued the City of San Antonio to stop implementation (arguing the law is unconstitutional). We will keep you posted, but for now, companies should comply with the August 1 implementation date.
- Compliance Deadline: August 1, 2019 (companies with 6+ employees) or August 1, 2021 (companies with 1-5 employees).
- Take-Away: San Antonio and Dallas employers should make sure their handbooks are up to date and should be ready to begin sick time accruals by the start of next month.
California and New York: Hairstyle Discrimination Bans.
- Just this month, California and New York became the first two states to ban discrimination based on hairstyle, following NYC's historic law passed in February, which we wrote about here. California's law, called the CROWN Act, prohibits grooming policies that disproportionately affect people of color, including bans on certain hairstyles such as Afros, braids, twists, cornrows, and locks. New York's law updates the definition of "race" to include "traits historically associated with race," including hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
- Compliance Deadline: California's law goes into effect January 1, 2020. New York's law is effective immediately.
- Take-Away: California and New York employers, it's time to update your anti-discrimination and dress code policies.
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