7 State Laws You Might Not Know…But Should

Aug. 14, 2014

Sometimes it seems as though legislation is at a standstill. Other times, keeping up with local, state and federal legislation is a hassle for some operators. And to make matters worse, many operators have businesses in multiple states with different rules to follow. It’s important to know exactly what’s required of your company because one misstep could lead an operator to have to pay fines…or worse. Here are seven state laws that may have slipped past your radar this year:

California, Washington: Medical marijuana is generally legal in both California and Washington, however, it’s still prohibited according to federal law. Therefore, as employers you still have the option of prohibiting medical marijuana usage, just like alcohol usage- especially for a safety sensitive position such as your route drivers or warehousemen. However, policies need to be put in place.

Illinois: In March, the Supreme Court found Illinois’ eavesdropping law on electronic monitoring (except video) unconstitutional. What does this mean for employers? Originally, all parties had to consent to being recorded – not the case anymore. Although that allows employers to secretly record conversations (which is not advised), it also allows employees to secretly record conversations during performance, discipline or even discharge meetings with management or HR.

MarylandDo you have between 15 – 49 employees? If so, beginning October 1, 2014, you must provide similar Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave of up to 6 unpaid weeks for parental leave for the birth of a child or adoption and foster care situations.

MinnesotaBeginning August 1, 2014, you must add in your Employee Handbooks a notice that employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees for requesting or receiving reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy or child birth (which took effect on May 12, 2014 requiring employers to give such reasonable accommodations). Also effective on this same date, employers cannot prohibit or have a policy or practice prohibiting employees from discussing their wages.

New Jersey:  REMINDER! All employers with 50 or more employees should be posting and distributing (with a signed acknowledgment) the new New Jersey poster re state and federal equal pay laws and discrimination prohibitions.

Got 10 or more employees in Newark, NJ? If so, you may be required to start offering your employees paid sick time under the new Worker Sick Leave Ordinance (WSLO).

New MexicoIn December 2013, this state joined the ranks of same-sex marriages, and, thus, these new marital statuses must be recognized and protected for employment purposes (including applicants).

Wisconsin: Getting on the bandwagon, Wisconsin, employers are now prohibited from requiring applicants or employees to give their personal login information for their personal social media sites or require the company’s monitoring of the sites as a condition of them to remain employed. Moreover, good news for employers is that you no longer need to keep track of a salaried employee’s hours worked for those who are exempt from overtime.