Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

On January 7, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor published three new opinion letters that every employer should review. The first involves an employer’s nondiscretionary bonus payment of $3,000 given to employees who completed ten weeks of training with a promise to complete eight more weeks. In the second letter, the DOL determined that a per-project payment method satisfies the salary basis regulations for exemption under the FLSA. The third letter addressed compliance under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

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Beginning on March 15, 2020, employers will have to begin providing their Pittsburgh employees with paid sick leave pursuant to a Pittsburgh ordinance passed in 2015. Now that it has cleared judicial hurdles, the new law will require employers to provide their Pittsburgh employees one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked within the geographical limits of the City of Pittsburgh. Employers with fewer than 15 employees are not required to pay for the leave for one year after implementation of the law, but beginning on March 15, 2021, even small employers will be required to provide paid leave. The Guidelines for Administering Pittsburgh City Code Chapter 626 describe how to count employees for purposes of determining size of employer.

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Typically used in offices, hotels, hospitals, etc., to provide multiple phones lines within one building, multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”) are the subject of two new federal laws: (1) Kari’s Law and (2) the Ray Baum Act.

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AB 51, the law that would prohibit California employers from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, remains on pause indefinitely. On January 31, 2020, after receiving supplemental briefing from both sides, the Eastern District of California issued an order granting preliminary injunction and indefinitely extending the injunction that prevents AB 51 from taking effect. This means that the State of California may not enforce AB 51 until the legal challenges to AB 51 are heard on the merits.

Employers should stay tuned for more updates as the Court will eventually determine whether the State of California should be permanently enjoined from enforcing AB 51. For now, the status quo remains and employers need not make any changes to arbitration agreements that are covered by the Federal Arbitration Act.

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On January 14, 2020, the House Committee on Education and Labor voted to advance the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694). The act aims to eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and security by allowing pregnant women to continue working without jeopardizing their pregnancy. Although the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disability Act provide some federal protections for pregnant workers, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will be the first federal law that explicitly guarantees all pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodation.

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In September 2019, Seattle City Council voted to adopt a series of ordinances aimed at protecting hotel employees. These ordinances go into effect on July 1, 2020. The four separate ordinances include a range of rules that limit the square footage a housekeeping attendant can clean, mandate additional wages to cover health insurance costs, provide panic buttons for certain workers, and provide new regulations for retaining workers after a change in ownership.

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The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) grants new rights to California consumers, took effect on January 1, 2020. In response, businesses must take on new obligations.

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The temporary restraining order (“TRO”) which prevents the enforcement of AB 51 remains in effect until January 31, 2020. As a reminder, California’s AB 51 bars mandatory arbitration agreements in employment agreements. Click here for background on AB 51 and the challenges it faces.

On January 10, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California heard oral argument from both sides as to whether the Court should enjoin the enforcement of AB 51 until the Court decides the challenge on the merits.

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John Hunt’s latest article for HotelExecutive.com covers the history of the Equal Pay Act, the latest updates nationwide, and how this legislation affects hotels and restaurants across the county. Head over to the link to get all the details, or keep reading for the full text! For further questions, clarifications, and conversation no matter your state, please reach out to Stokes Wagner.

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We are proud to announce the release of our latest Quarterly Newsletter, which may be found here.

Our newsletter summarizes key developments in the employment law arena on a quarterly basis, with a focus on how these developments may impact the hospitality industry and your operations. As you may have noticed, the legal landscape changes on a far more frequent basis than four times a year. So, when a particularly significant development occurs, we immediately publish a “Legal Alert” and make it available to each of our clients and subscribers. If you would like to stay abreast of legal developments in real-time, and receive our legal updates in a more timely fashion, we invite you to follow us on Instagram @stokeswagner.

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