Welcome to the latest edition of AlphaStaff's Monthly Compliance Updates!

We are pleased to provide you with a recap of National and State Legal Updates and highlight resources provided by some of AlphaStaff’s trusted legal partners to help guide and keep you in compliance.


National Updates

OSHA Penalties Automatically Increase

Employers that are issued citations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after January 16, 2023, can be subject to hefty fines based on the infraction type. The U.S. Department of Labor recently released the annual increase to the maximum penalty that may be levied for various violations. For example, OSHA's maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $14,502 to $15,625 per violation. Additionally, the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $145,027 to $156,259 per violation. For more information, please visit this link.


Congress Expands Protections for Pregnant Employees and Employees Who Are Nursing

On December 22, 2022, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act. Effective June 27, 2023, the PWFA requires employers with 15 or more employees must engage in an interactive process with the eligible employee to identify and make reasonable accommodations for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This Act is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. The PUMP Act builds on a previous amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requiring employers to provide non-exempt reasonable break time and a location to express milk for one year following the birth of a child. Effective December 29, 2022, the PUMP act extends this right to exempt and non-exempt employees covered by the FLSA. Employers should review their policies to ensure they properly comply with these new laws. For more information, please visit this link.


State Updates

California Changes to Criminal Background Checks

In late 2022, the Civil Rights Council of the California Civil Rights Department released draft revisions to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations governing employers’ use of an applicant’s criminal history when making employment decisions. Several changes will further restrict an employer’s ability to utilize the results of a criminal background check. For example, if an applicant volunteers information about their criminal history, this information may not be the basis for refusing to extend a conditional offer to the applicant. The new regulations will also expand on the factors an employer must consider as part of the individualized assessment necessary to rescind a conditional offer based on conviction history. For example, if an applicant provides proof of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances before the commencement of the individualized assessment, an employer must consider that evidence in the assessment process. These revisions are expected to take effect in early 2023. As a result, employers in California should review current policies and procedures related to background checks. For more information, please visit this link.


Connecticut Clean Slate Law Brings New Requirements for Employers in 2023

Effective January 1, 2023, Connecticut’s Clean Slate law requires the automatic erasure of misdemeanor or low-level felony records after seven years from the most recent date of conviction. Under this law, Class D or E felonies and unclassified felonies with penalties of less than five years can also be automatically erased after ten years from the most recent date of conviction. Connecticut prohibits employers from requiring an applicant to disclose any criminal history that has been erased or inquire about criminal history on a job application. Connecticut employers should review their application forms to ensure compliance with the existing ban-the-box requirement and examine the background check procedures to limit their scope of inquiry appropriately. Please visit this link for more information.


New Jersey Expanded Mini-WARN Law to Take Effect April 2023

Effective April 10, 2023, the amendments to the New Jersey Millville-Dallas Airmotive Plan Job Loss Notification Act expand the coverage of the law and significantly increase an employer’s obligations. Several changes to key definitions will make it easier for an employer to be covered by this amended law. As amended, New Jersey employers must also provide 90 days’ notice to the impacted workforce and pay a guaranteed severance. Each terminated employee is entitled to one week of severance pay for each full year of employment. If an employer fails to provide timely notice, they must pay an additional four weeks of severance to the terminated employee. The amended mini-WARN prohibits an employer from obtaining a waiver of severance. The Department of Labor Commissioner or a competent jurisdiction court must approve any proposed waiver. Employers operating in New Jersey should carefully evaluate the legal implications of any employment decision that results in the termination of 50 or more employees. Please visit this link for more information.  


New York Becomes the Latest State to Require Salary Transparency

The number of jurisdictions that have enacted transparency laws is growing at a steady pace. On December 21, 2022, New York became the newest state to enact such a law. Under New York’s law, employers located in New York state with four or more employees must disclose the compensation range in advertisements for all positions that can be performed in New York State. This requirement will likely apply to remote positions. However, it is still being determined if the employee threshold means all four employees must be in New York or if the total employee count is four, regardless of location. This new law becomes effective on September 17, 2023. The NY Department of Labor is expected to establish regulations to clarify the new law in the coming months. For more information, please visit this link.