EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Quick Hits - January 16, 2019

Author: ASE Staff

Governor Whitmer signs executive directive expanding equal opportunity with the state: On January 7, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2019-9 focused on assuring equal opportunity in state employment, contracting, grant and loan programs, and the provision of state services.   Executive Directive 2019-9 strengthens existing nondiscrimination protections by:  1. Clarifying that employment protections cover all state employees, including classified and unclassified employees; 2. Requiring all recipients of state contracts, grants, and loans to extend protections to their employees; 3.  Prohibiting discrimination in state services; and 4. Extending prohibitions on discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression—which will now be consistent with the action taken by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in May of 2018. Source: Interpretive Statement 2018-1, May 21, 2018

Governor Whitmer signs executive directive on equal pay:  Governor Whitmer on January 8 signed Executive Directive 2019-10 aimed at securing equal pay for equal work for State of Michigan Employees.  This executive directive prohibits state agencies and departments from inquiring about a job applicant’s current or previous salaries until a conditional offer of employment, including proposed compensation, is made. Further, it prohibits retrieval of the same information by searching public records or databases.

DOL Wage and Hour submitted new OT rules to OMB: The U.S. Department of Labor sent its draft of the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the “white collar” overtime exemptions to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. OMB review is the final step before publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.  If adopted as drafted, the proposed rule would replace the final rule issued in 2016. The 2016 final rule would have increased the minimum salary level for exemption as an executive, administrative, or professional employee from $455 per week ($23,660 annualized) to $913 per week ($47,476 annualized), except that suit against the DOL brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade associations succeeded in obtaining a permanent injunction blocking the rule.  The Trump administration, however, appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then obtained a stay of the appeal pending further regulatory action. The DOL originally scheduled publication of an NPRM for October 2018, but that date was first delayed until January 2019 and then until March 2019. It is unknown what this proposed rule includes, but earlier reports had Department of Labor Secretary Acosta thinking in the low $30,000s as the new base salary. Source: Littler Mendelson PC 1/10/19

California employers with five employees or more have new harassment training requirements: Companies with more than five employees have less than a year to provide interactive sexual harassment training to all California-based workers, according to the state’s newly implemented requirements. A series of new sexual harassment-related laws went into effect in California for 2019. Lawyers told Corporate Counsel that the most time-intensive change for in-house counsel will likely be the implementation of broader, more in-depth harassment training. By the end of 2019, SB 1343 requires employers in California to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour of training to non-supervisor employees. The training must be provided within six months of hiring and repeated every two years. The new law doesn’t just increase the employee groups trained. It also expands the number of companies required to train. Previously, only companies with 50 or more employees were required to conduct harassment training. Now, that number’s been lowered to five employees.  Source: law.com 1/7/18

Indeed now charging employers for listings:  Indeed will now require all recruitment-based companies and accounts in the U.S. and Canada to sponsor their job listings, the site explains in a post on the policy, which took effect January 7, 2019.  Indeed listed recruiting firms, placement firms, headhunters, and staffing agencies as groups to be affected by the rule. Such companies will no longer be able to post free job listings that would then appear organically in Indeed's search results.  "Indeed gives preference to content posted directly by employers and works to provide unique, good quality job advertisements that connects [sic] job seekers directly to employers," Indeed wrote. Indeed's analysis found that job listings to be affected by the new rule "represent approximately 5% of applies but just 2% of hires on Indeed." Recruiters who pay up will still get above-the-fold visibility under a "sponsored" banner at the top of Indeed's search results. Recruiters can spend as much or as little as they want, but the cost of running an ad with the greatest reach could drive recruiters toward free online job boards like Google Jobs.  Source:  HR Dive 1/8/19

ADA does not protect employee for being rude, inconsiderate, and not liking women:  Federal law did not require an employer to excuse an employee's assertion that he hated working with women, even if the outburst was caused by a disability, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia Columbus Division held, granting summary judgment to the employer in Kassa v. Synovus Bank, No. 18-cv-2 (M.D. Ga. Jan. 3, 2018). Prior to his employment as a technician for Synovus Bank, Tony Kassa served in the U.S. Army for more than a decade and had received treatment for depression, anxiety, intermittent explosive disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol addiction, paranoid personality disorder, and impulse control disorder. Kassa told his supervisors throughout his time that he had these disabilities and would need to take short breaks and work in positions that didn't require him to work with customers or speak on the phone, the court said. While Synovus initially complied with his request, a new supervisor eventually required that he perform all required job functions, including taking phone calls. After interacting with a female colleague one day, Kassa allegedly told a second woman on the phone, "nothing personal, I hate working with women." Assuming that Kassa was covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and that his misconduct stemmed from a disability, the court said it was "not convinced that the ADA requires an employer to maintain indefinitely an employee who is rude and unprofessional to his coworkers and who tells a female coworker that he hates working with women."  Source:  HR Dive 1/10/19

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