What are some recent important employment law changes?

Perspectives | Law

Perspectives Law Moniquedoucette

MONIQUE GOUGISHA DOUCETTE
Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins

Since the pandemic, many employers have more employees working remotely in different states or have hired workers in jurisdictions where they previously had not conducted business. Those companies (and their employees!) should be aware of the rapidly changing laws regarding issues such as pay transparency, employee onboarding, business expense reimbursement, state unemployment/ workers’ compensation benefits, privacy and data security, and employment termination issues. The patchwork of laws can make compliance difficult for employers with workers in multiple states. Although remote work is much more common for employees and an attractive recruiting/ cost-saving tool for some companies, I highly recommend that people pay close attention to the numerous (and often complex) multistate compliance implications.

 


 

Perspectives Law Magdalenbickford

MAGDALEN BLESSEY BICKFORD
Managing Member
McGlinchey Stafford

The expansion of the cannabis industry is having a direct impact on employment laws, which are constantly evolving. This area of law has caused, and continues to cause, confusion for both employers and employees given the conflict between federal law (in which marijuana use is prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act) and state law (many states have legalized marijuana use, either medically and/or for adult use). Last June, Gov. Edwards signed into law a prohibition on state employers from “subject[ing] an employee or prospective employee to negative employment consequences” if the state employee (with certain categorical exceptions) tests positive for THC as long as they are a registered medical cannabis patient who received a marijuana recommendation from a licensed physician.

 


 

Perspectives Law Knight

A new Louisiana act and two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases may significantly affect the employer/ employee relationship. The Louisiana Crown Act, which took effect in August, added discrimination based on “natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle” to the statutory definition of intentional employment discrimination. A U.S. Supreme Court case argued on Nov. 8 would allow employees to sue employers in any state where the employer has registered to do business, even if the employer does not have continuous and systematic contacts there. Another case heard on Oct. 12, if plaintiffs are successful, would entitle highly compensated employees paid on a daily basis to overtime pay.

Kathryn M. Knight, member at Stone Pigman

 


 

Perspectives Law Laurentafaro

LAUREN TAFARO
Partner, Labor and Employment
Adams and Reese

Louisiana employers should be aware that the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Act (the CROWN Act) went into effect on August 1, 2022. The CROWN Act prohibits Louisiana employers from discriminating against employees based on hairstyles or hair textures that are historically associated with race. Additionally, while the use of medical marijuana still violates federal law, many states are passing laws that provide protections for employees who use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Louisiana law now prohibits discrimination against state employees who use medical marijuana. A task force was created to study other states’ laws and draft proposals to expand these protections to more employees, including private sector employees.

 


 

Perspectives Law Fredpreis Perspectives Law Philipgiorlando

E. FREDRICK PREIS, JR. AND PHILIP GIORLANDO
Attorneys in the Labor and Employment Section
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson Law Firm

Three changes more people should know about include the dramatic increase in union organizing, the test for whether a worker is an independent contractor, and changes to the legality of marijuana. Unions are organizing in previously union-free industries and locations. Therefore, all businesses should prepare for possible union organizing. The Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule to make it more difficult to classify a worker as an independent contractor, so employers should review their classifications. Finally, President Biden asked that the classification of marijuana as a controlled substance be reviewed, so marijuana may no longer be federally illegal.