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What Employment Practices Issues to Look Out For


What Employment Practices Issues to Look Out ForWhat Employment Practices Issues to Look Out For

In December, we covered some new employment laws in California taking effect that could impact your employment practices, including mandatory anti-bullying training for supervisory employees, changes to mandatory sexual harassment training and updates to mandatory paid sick leave. In this article we are looking further into law developments that can affect employers across the country.

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Employers doing business in the U.S. until recently were not legally required to provide paid sick leave to employees. In 2015, employers will have to comply with newly adopted paid sick leave laws covering workers in the states of California, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The cities of New York City and San Francisco and Oakland, California have also adopted new laws. Who is covered by each law, the rate of accrual and the amount that can be earned per year varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Although many employers provide paid sick leave, they limit the type of employees eligible for paid sick leave. Typically specific part-time employees are ineligible for paid sick leave under the employer’s policy. The new laws require paid sick leave based on the number of hours worked, which means that more part-time workers will have to be provided paid sick leave. It’s advisable that every business employing workers in any of the areas covered by a sick leave law should review its policies in detail to ensure the proper paid sick leave is provided.

Anti-discrimination Priorities

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Retaliation against workers who oppose discrimination or harassment on any of these protected bases is also federally protected. Yet because pay disparities continue to exist among women and racial minorities, particularly in the areas of upper management and at technology companies, the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for 2013 to 2016 has established federal priorities for this year and the following to include requiring employers to change recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women and people with disabilities and to administer compensation systems and practices to avoid discrimination against women. It’s essential that you review your practices and pay schedules to be sure they’re in compliance.

Confidential Information, Social Media and Non-Disparagement Policies

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects the right of non-management employees to engage in “concerted” activity involving wages, hours and working conditions. The NLRB enforces not only the rights of union-represented employees, but also has jurisdiction over non-union employees. As such, the NLRB recently has been challenging common employer confidentiality, social media and non-disparagement policies and practices, claiming violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

A policy that prevents employees from discussing the terms and conditions of their employment is unlawful. Moreover, narrower employer confidentiality and non-disparagement policies may be unlawful, depending on the verbiage and how they are applied. It’s recommended that employers have policies protecting their confidential and proprietary information and prohibiting the public sharing of certain types of information related to the company. But, as this is an area in which any employer policy or practice – or discipline of an employee for engaging in conduct that an employer believes to be against its interests – may be subject to legal challenge, an employer should have its policies reviewed by an attorney for compliance regarding federal and state laws that are evolving.

Axis Insurance Services provides Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to protect employers in the event of allegations involving discrimination, sexual harassment and other workplace issues. EPLI insurance is a critical component of comprehensive protection for all employers no matter what industry they serve or the size of the company. Give us a call at (877) 787-5258 to discuss how we can help you with your EPLI program.

 

Source: Mondaq

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Blogged on: February 17, 2015 by Mike Smith
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