Welcome to our September 2021 edition of AlphaStaff Monthly              Compliance Updates!

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

 

Path Out of the Pandemic

Last week, President Biden issued an action plan that rolled out several provisions that will impact many private employers nationwide.  He has directed the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) to issue Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that will require all employers with at least 100 employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or be subject to weekly COVID testing.  The implications under this order are continuously developing, but the true impact of the standards cannot be determined until they have been issued by OHSA.  AlphaStaff will continue to provide updates as they become available. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Mandatory Employee Vaccines: National Legislation Tracking

Littler is actively tracking as states update their mandatory vaccination legislation. As of this update, the following states have issued legislation regarding mandatory vaccination of either state workers or for some type of private employer: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Connecticut Limits Inquiries into Age of Job Applicants

On June 24, 2021, An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment Applications was passed prohibiting employers from requesting information that may divulge a prospective employee’s age without a “bona fide occupational qualification or need” or a requirement to comply with applicable state laws.  The new law becomes effective October 1, 2021. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Florida’s Ban on Vaccine Passports

Florida Statute 381.00316 became effective on July 1, 2021, prohibiting business entities from requiring proof of vaccination or documentation showing post-transmission recovery as a condition to enter their establishments.   However, it is essential to note that employers are not affected by this law.  They are still allowed to implement a mandatory vaccination policy or require proof of vaccinations from their employees, vendors, or independent contractors in accordance with the ADA. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Illinois’ New Non-Compete Bill

On August 11, 2021, Illinois passed a new law changing the way employers may use restrictive covenants with their Illinois employees. The law will become effective on January 1, 2022.  It will, most notably, increase the compensation threshold required to allow the use of restrictive covenants and also codify the requirement that an employee is granted at least two years of employment as adequate consideration to sign a restrictive covenant. For more information, please visit this link. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Maine Limits Criminal History Requests

Effective October 18, 2021, Maine employers will be prohibited from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on the initial employment application. Employers are also prohibited from disqualifying an applicant from applying to a position unless it is a position that requires such qualification under federal or state law. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Montana Protects Off-Duty Marijuana Use

In May 2021, Montana passed legislation that now considers marijuana a “lawful product”. Therefore, employers are prohibited from refusing to hire or discriminating against an employee as it relates to their compensation, promotion, or conditions of employment when the employee uses marijuana away from the employer’s premise and when they are not working. This new law will become effective on January 1, 2022. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Texas Amends Sexual Harassment Laws

Effective September 1, 2021, Texas law will now expand the protections granted to employees from sexual harassment under the Texas Labor Code. As a result, an employer only needs to have one employee to be liable under this law. Furthermore, it also increases the required steps an employer must take when responding to and investigating a complaint of sexual harassment. For more information, please visit this link.

 

Washington Enacts .58 Percent Payroll Tax for Long-Term Care Benefits

Washington passed legislation creating a state-run long-term-care (LTC) services program.  Effective January 1, 2022, Washington employers will be required to withhold a .58% payroll tax from employee wages.  This law applies to all private and public employers with a Washington employee except for the federal government or a federal tribe.  Employees may seek an exemption from participating if they have purchased sufficient LTC coverage before November 1, 2021.  They must apply for the exemption between October 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. For more information, please visit this link.