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State Employment Law Update, August 2013

By Catherine Gordon, JD | August 14, 2013

While changes in federal law grab most of the headlines and the attention, changes that can affect employers are constantly being made on a state level across a wide variety of topics. For busy small business owners, keeping up with these changes can be particularly challenging. Check the state-by-state list below to find out about recent changes in your state laws that may impact you and your business.

Connecticut: Effective October 1, 2013, employers are required to permit employees to inspect and, if requested, copy their personnel file not more than seven business days (not more than ten business days for former employees) after receipt of a written request from an employee.

In Connecticut, homeless persons have the right to equal opportunities for employment, effective October 1, 2013.

Delaware: Delaware law prohibits employment discrimination against individuals based on gender identity.

Hawaii: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an individual employed as a domestic worker, in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, based on the individual’s race, sex (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, or marital status.

In Hawaii, employers are required to provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for the employee’s nursing child, as needed, for up to one year after the birth of the child. In addition, employers must provide employees with a private location, other than a restroom, to express breast milk. The law does not apply to employers with fewer than 20 employees if the employer can show that the requirements would impose an undue hardship.

Illinois: Effective January 1, 2014, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or employee solely on the basis of the applicant's or employee's status as a medicinal marijuana patient or caregiver, unless failing to do so would put the employer in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law.

Massachusetts: The requirement that employers of more than ten employees make a contribution for full-time employees' health insurance coverage costs or pay a fair share contribution per employee is repealed.

Nevada: Employers are prohibited from conditioning employment on access to an employee’s personal social media account information, effective October 1, 2013.

New Jersey: Effective October 1, 2013, certain employers must provide unpaid leave of up to 20 days for employees or their family members who are victims of a domestic violence incident or a sexually violent offense. Employers must also allow leave for purposes of preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic or sexual violence.

New Jersey law prohibits harassment of and retaliation against employees who have taken or requested leave under the law providing unpaid leave for employees or their family members who are victims of a domestic violence incident or a sexually violent offense.

Oregon: Employment discrimination protections for victims of domestic and sexual are extended to new and part-time employees, and posting requirements are imposed for covered employers.

Effective January 1, 2014, Oregon employers are prohibited from requiring employees and applicants for employment to provide access to personal social media accounts or to add an employer to their social media contact lists.

In Oregon, employment discrimination protections apply to unpaid interns.

Rhode Island: Effective January 1, 2014, Rhode Island’s minimum wage rate is $8.00 per hour.

Employers in Rhode Island may pay employees on a biweekly basis if their average payroll exceeds 200 percent of minimum wage. This law is effective January 1, 2014.

Effective January 1, 2014, Rhode Island employers of four or more are prohibited from inquiring about an individual’s criminal background on a job application.

Effective January 1, 2014, an insurance program for temporary caregivers within Rhode Island’s temporary disability insurance program provides benefits to employees taking time off to care for a seriously ill spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child, or to bond with a new child.

Texas: Texas law limits the liability of employers hiring persons with criminal convictions, however, certain exceptions apply.

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