Quick Hits - August 4, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - August 4, 2021

Noncompetes may become a thing of the past:  On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued his Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Earlier in the day, the White House issued a press release announcing that the anticipated order would, “[m]ake it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements and unnecessary, cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.” Now that the executive order has been issued, employers are wondering: are noncompete agreements with employees now illegal as a result of President Biden’s order?  Short answer – No – but employers should be on alert.  President Biden’s executive order directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pursue a rulemaking process that would ban or limit the use of noncompete agreements as a matter of federal law.  What the FTC proposes is unknown now, but employers need to be aware of the changing landscape.  Source:  Littler 7/9/21

First telemedicine, now pet telemedicine: Through MetLife’s new pet insurance benefit, employers will be able to provide employee pet parents with access to veterinary telehealth services, roll over benefits, family plans for coverage of more than one pet, and grief counseling. Additionally, employees switching from one insurance provider to MetLife will not be denied if their dog or cat has a preexisting condition, an exclusive perk of the employee benefit. MetLife works with over 500 employers to provide pet insurance benefits to more than six million employees across the U.S, but pet insurance benefits are offered by just 15% of employers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Millennials and Gen Z are making up the bulk of today’s workforce, and the trending priorities of these generations have shifted from family planning and buying homes to pet adoption and paying off student loans.  Approximately 1.6 million pets were adopted during the pandemic in 2020, according to data from Shelter Animals Count, a nonprofit organization that tracks data relating to animals in shelters. These pets have helped employees combat loneliness, depression, and anxiety during COVID-19.  Telemedicine for pets may also make it easier to keep the adopted ones once the pandemic eases.  Source: EBN 7/13/21

Amazon will no longer test for marijuana for non-DOT jobs: In a June blog post, Amazon said it "will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program" for jobs that are not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Instead, the company said it would treat marijuana use the same as alcohol use. The announcement was surprising despite Amazon's status as a trend-setter from a business operations perspective, Michael Freimann, partner at Greenspoon Marder, told HR Dive. But the news could have a "ripple effect" on how other employers approach marijuana testing moving forward, he added, due to the fact that more and more jurisdictions have implemented marijuana use legislation. Amazon is not alone in adopting policies that take new laws into account. Following passage of Virginia's recreational use legislation this year, the city government of Norfolk, Virginia, dropped drug testing requirements for many job categories, save for certain "safety sensitive" positions, local news outlet WAVY-TV reported.  And just like alcohol abuse, employers need to ensure that the definition of "reasonable suspicion" within their policies "is well-defined and understood" within the organization, including during training, Freimann noted. If a manager determines an employee is impaired by marijuana use, "they have to articulate why they have reasonable suspicion to do that," he explained.  Source:  HR Dive 7/19/21

AI eliminating entry-level paid banking jobs often held my women:  Women hold 51% of entry-level positions and 38% of senior-management jobs in the banking and consumer-finance industry in the U.S., according to a report last year from McKinsey & Co. Both figures are higher than the average across industries, according to the study. The picture is similar in Canada, with women constituting about 57% of the workforce at the country’s six largest banks and holding 38% of senior-management positions, according to 2019 data from the Canadian Bankers Association.  But technological advances are eliminating the need for bank tellers, threatening an entry point for women into the male-dominated industry which has sought to promote more females to leadership roles. While the climb remains steep, some financial companies have managed to improve the gender balance in their executive ranks.  “I wouldn’t have been a banker without it,” former Wells Fargo & Co. Chair Betsy Duke, who started as a teller, said in an interview. “I wouldn’t have had the career that I had.” With about 80% of tellers lacking a bachelor’s degree, that threatens a pathway into the corporate world for women from less-privileged backgrounds. Teller jobs are relatively high-paying and have regular hours that allow workers to attend classes on the side.  Source:  Bloomberg 6/28/21

New Colorado law on equal pay job posting requirement is clarified:   The new Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act and Equal Pay Transparency rules have been garnering a lot of attention in recent weeks. First, the litigation challenging the law has been dismissed following denial of Plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction. More recently, the law has been in the news in connection with reports that job postings for various employers contained language “excepting” Colorado from their remote openings. According to recent training by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on July 2, the state confirmed that employers are not required to post jobs externally. However, if they do, and the job can be performed in Colorado, pay and benefits must be included on (or linked) on the posting.  One of the biggest take-aways from the program is the state specifically reported that “[o]mitting compensation by posting that a remote job is for anyone, anywhere ‘except Coloradans’” is not compliant with the act. Similarly, the training stated that employers posting a job as remote “can’t mis-label job (as not performable in CO) to opt out of law.”  The training went on to reiterate that there are “no exceptions;” the “rules can’t & don’t add exceptions absent from the statute.”  Source: Jackson Lewis 7/19/21

NDEAM diversity poster is available:  This week, ODEP unveiled the official poster for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2021. Available for download in English and Spanish, the poster illustrates this year’s NDEAM theme, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” The poster conveys the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through bold text and imagery. NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Download the 2021 NDEAM poster. Discover ideas for celebrating NDEAM. 

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