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When thinking about compliance, organizations have to remember that state and local labor laws are just as important. According to Ashley Kaplan, Esquire, senior employment law attorney for ComplyRight, the volume of state and local employment law has been increasing. “There are several new state and local trends prompting more poster changes, such as increasing minimum wage rates, new employee safety and health laws, paid sick leave, and expanded anti-discrimination laws.”
One of the organizational shifts I’m seeing is when businesses make the conscious decision to adopt certain provisions of state and local legislation from other jurisdictions – even when it isn’t required – because they feel it makes good business sense and might eventually become federal law. For example, many employers banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity well before the Supreme Court issued its landmark 2020 decision clarifying these are protected characteristics under federal labor laws.
Kaplan says another reason that organizations might adopt employment trends before they become law is because they may have one location affected and it is easier for consistency to apply it across the board (e.g., allowing paid sick leave to accrue the same way for multi-location organizations based on the most generous version of the law applicable). Here are a couple examples of state and local legal trends that are causing organizations to update their practices:
- Ban the Box: Effective in 36 states and more than 150 cities and counties, the intent of these laws is to eliminate the stigma of a criminal record. They limit pre-employment inquiries about criminal history and require employers to remove the check box on employment applications asking if someone has a criminal record.
- Salary History: This legislation is designed to create equity in compensation. It’s effective in 16 states plus Puerto Rico and some local counties. During the hiring process, including on written job applications, employers may not ask candidates for salary history information. The intent is to break patterns of discrimination and have employers pay based on a candidate’s skills and value, not what they’ve made previously.
Now you might be saying, “Oh sure, we’re on top of those labor laws.” I knew about them too. But in researching this article, I learned about a couple more trends that I didn’t know existed.
- Natural Hair Discrimination: Currently effective in 7 states and at least 5 cities and/or counties. This law prohibits discrimination based on one’s natural hair including afros, braids, twists, and locks to prevent disparate impact discrimination against Black individuals.
- Predictable Scheduling: Currently in Oregon and in Emeryville, CA, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, New York City, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Chicago, IL, and gaining in popularity. This law requires employers to pay employees if their schedules change suddenly.
I could see both of these laws being very similar to Ban the Box and Salary History. They’re laws that not only make good business sense but protect workers and promote fairness, which is why I can see them being enacted in more states and possibly adopted on a federal level. HR pros need to know that it’s a real possibility.
In addition to the speculation about what may or may not become new labor laws, there are employment trends happening right now that will definitely change posting requirements. For example, since the federal minimum wage hasn’t increased in quite some time, many states, counties, and cities are increasing wages. In my home state of Florida, voters just approved a ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hour by 2026. I’m sure there are other states that are in the same situation.
Honestly, keeping track of all these trends is tough. And while it’s important, it’s also a huge drain on our time. Fortunately, HR departments don’t have to do this alone. HR can partner with companies like HRdirect. Their Poster Guard Compliance Protection service monitors legislation at a federal, state, and local level. They will replace labor law posters whenever a mandatory change occurs within 1 full year of purchase.
It’s a great time saver. Especially when we have so many other things that we need to be working on like making sure that onsite and remote employees have all the tools they need to be successful. Oh, and don’t forget annual benefits enrollment! If you want to learn more about Poster Guard Compliance Protection service, check out their website. HR Bartender readers receive a special $30 discount off Poster Guard Compliance Protection including FREE ground delivery right now using the code SC32767. Don’t miss out!
As HR professionals, we need to stay on top of legislation at a federal, state, and local level. In addition to knowing the law, we need to know how organizations can maintain compliance.11