United States: State Of The States: Legislatures Are Off To The Races!

Most state legislatures are back in session, and they are poised to address a wide range of labor and employment issues this year. Since January 1, 2017, more than 500 employment-related bills have been proposed in more than 40 states. New York leads the pack, with roughly 90 such bills pending, while Connecticut, Hawaii and Missouri have at least 30 each to date. As a practical matter, few of these bills will become law, but they nonetheless reveal current trends at the local level. This month's State of the States highlights some of these noteworthy trends.

Minimum Wage

Not surprisingly, minimum wage continues to be a significant source of local legislative activity across the country. More than half of the states currently have at least one bill pending that concerns minimum wage rates, and several states have multiple proposals in the works. Readers interested in more detail on this topic should consult WPI Wage Watch, a Littler feature focusing exclusively on breaking minimum wage developments coast-to-coast.1

Equal Pay

Equal pay remains a hot-button issue as well. Earlier this month, New Jersey lawmakers were unable to muster the votes necessary to withstand Governor Christie's veto of a bill that would have increased penalties for wage discrimination based on sex. While New Jersey's proposal fell short for now, equal pay bills have been introduced in at least 11 other states. Indiana legislators have proposed a bill that generally prohibits employers from discriminating in pay based on an employee's sex, race, or national origin, for work on equivalent jobs. Such bills may not gain much traction in Republican-controlled legislatures, but the debate over equal pay is unlikely to subside.

Wage Transparency

A few states are considering another tactic in their efforts to ensure equal pay. Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington, for example, have proposed wage transparency statutes. If passed, these bills would prohibit employers from retaliating or discriminating against employees who disclose or otherwise discuss their wages with other workers. Several of the pending equal pay measures noted above also include similar provisions.

Salary History

On a related note, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recently joined Massachusetts by enacting a law banning employers from asking job applicants about their prior salary history.2 These laws are intended to narrow the gender wage gap by preventing employers from setting pay based in whole or in part on an applicant's wages and benefits at a prior job. These bans encourage employers to set compensation based on job responsibilities, rather than prior wage history. Similar laws are pending in other jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Nebraska, New York, and Washington.

Right to Work

Several state legislatures are considering right-to-work measures, which make it unlawful to require employees to join a union or to pay union dues as a condition of their employment. Kentucky enacted a right-to-work law just a few weeks ago.3 Bills are advancing in New Hampshire and Missouri, both of which are expected to follow suit this term. As of now, right-to-work bills are also being floated in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, South Carolina, and Washington. A federal right-to-work proposal, moreover, was just introduced. On the other hand, Arizona is contemplating repealing its right-to-work laws, by submitting a proposed constitutional amendment to voters at the next general election.

Scheduling

In recent years, a couple of cities have passed "secure scheduling" or "fair scheduling" ordinances.4 These laws require employers to provide their employees with advance notice of their schedules and, in some instances, to compensate employees for last-minute changes to those schedules. Some states, such as Minnesota, New York, and Oregon, are mulling similar legislation.

Preemption and Anti-Preemption

As many employers are painfully aware, local laws governing employment matters have been cropping up in states and cities across the country. In the absence of federal action, states and municipalities have passed laws on a variety of topics, such as paid sick leave, secure scheduling, protections for LGBTQ workers, and the minimum wage.

In response to this development, and to alleviate the headaches it can bring to the employer community, some states are attempting to enact "preemption" laws. These preemption laws would prohibit cities from imposing requirements on employers that are stricter than existing federal and state law mandates. For example, a new Ohio law stripped Cleveland of the authority to raise its minimum wage, which had been set for a vote this year. Various types of preemption bills are pending in Illinois, South Carolina, Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The Minnesota proposal, by way of example, precludes localities from setting a higher minimum wage, while the Pennsylvania proposal focuses on leave benefits.

On the flip side, a couple of states—Texas and Hawaii—are considering "anti-preemption" bills that would specifically authorize localities to address such issues. These proposals thus would allow municipalities to raise the minimum wage applicable to operations within their borders.

Paid Leave

Several types of paid leave bills are also percolating through the state legislatures, with some states considering more than one approach. At least eight states (including Alaska, New York, Maryland, and South Dakota) are contemplating measures that would entitle employees to accrue paid sick leave. A handful of states (including Georgia, New Hampshire, and Minnesota) have proposed a leave insurance-type of program or wage replacement system to cover family and/or sick leave. Paid family leave bills are also pending in at least five jurisdictions (including Connecticut and Mississippi).

Ban-the-Box

The popularity of so-called "ban-the-box" bills continues to spread nationwide. These laws limit an employer's ability to inquire into a job applicant's criminal history at different stages in the hiring process. Some versions prevent an employer from asking about criminal history until after an interview, while others require the employer to wait until after a conditional offer of employment. Ban-the box legislation has been introduced in at least 13 states thus far this year, from Florida to Washington. Similarly, six states are weighing bills that would restrict an employer's ability to run credit checks for job applicants.

Weapons in the Workplace

Another area of potential interest to employers is the spate of bills concerning possession of weapons in the private workplace. Some bills under consideration would allow employers to prohibit firearms on their premises, while other bills would deprive them of that option. In three states, proposed laws would make an employer responsible for the safety and defense of individuals on its property if it forbids the lawful carrying of weapons there and someone is harmed. In a twist on that theme, a pending bill in Oklahoma would immunize employers from liability if they permit weapons on their property or in employer-owned vehicles.

Next Steps

Employers should remain cognizant of these ongoing developments, particularly those with operations in multiple jurisdictions. We will continue to follow the progress of all significant labor and employment bills and will continue to report on state-level developments as the year unfolds.

Footnotes

1 Libby Henninger et al., WPI Wage Watch: Minimum Wage & Overtime Updates (January Edition), Litter Insight (Jan. 31, 2017), https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/wpi-wage-watch-minimum-wage-overtime-updates-january-edition.

2 See Martha J. Keon & Denise M. Maher, Philadelphia's Wage Equity Bill Set to Go into Effect on May 23, 2017, Littler ASAP (Jan. 25, 2017), https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/philadelphia%E2%80%99s-wage-equity-bill-set-go-effect-may-23-2017; Denise M. Maher & Martha J. Keon, The Philadelphia Wage Equity Bill Will Ban Employers From Asking Prospective Employees About Their Past Wages and Fringe Benefits, Littler Insight (Dec. 14, 2016), https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/kentucky-enacts-right-work-law.

4 See, e.g., Doug Smith, Seattle City Council Approves Secure Scheduling Ordinance, Littler Insight (Sept. 20, 2016), https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/seattle-city-council-approves-secure-scheduling-ordinance; Michael Brewer, et al., San Francisco Ordinance Imposes New Burdens on 'Formula' Retail Employers, Littler Insight (Dec. 9, 2014), https://www.littler.com/san-francisco-ordinance-imposes-new-burdens-formula-retail-employers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Michael J. Lotito
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions