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State Employment Law Update, July 2012

By Catherine Gordon, JD | July 06, 2012

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: Employers of 50 or more must provide certain service employees with paid sick leave which accrues at one hour of leave per 40 hours worked.

Indiana: Effective July 1, 2012, smoking is prohibited in public places and places of employment. Certain limited exceptions apply.

Employers in Indiana are prohibited from asking whether an employee or applicant's criminal records have been sealed or restricted. This criminal record inquiry prohibition is effective July 1, 2012.

Maine: The director of the Bureau of Labor Standards may issue special wage certificates to employers with employees who have a disability allowing employers to pay a subminimum wage based on the employee's ability to perform required job duties in comparison with that of an employee who does not have a disability.

Maryland: The Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012, legalizes civil same-sex marriage in Maryland. Allowing same-sex couples to marry may impact discrimination in employment laws.

Effective October 1, 2012, it is a prohibited employment practice for employers in Maryland to require applicants or employees to disclose social media access information.

The time-off for jury duty rules are revised in Maryland effective October 1, 2012.

Nebraska: Employers who in good faith disclose specified employment history information about a current or former employee are immune from legal liability under certain conditions.

Under the terms of the Volunteer Emergency Responders Job Protection Act, Nebraska employers are prohibited from terminating or taking disciplinary action against an employee who is a member of a state emergency response team, a volunteer firefighter or a Civil Air Patrol volunteer for absences or tardiness.

Nevada: The minimum wage and overtime pay rates in Nevada remain unchanged through June 30, 2013.

New Jersey: Beginning on June 1, 2012, restaurants and other businesses that employ workers who depend primarily on tips are required to pay these workers at least 40 percent of the regular minimum wage. Therefore, effective June 1, 2012, tipped employees must be paid a minimum wage of $2.90 per hour.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma citizens licensed to carry firearms may openly carry a firearm. However, businesses may prohibit firearms from being carried on their premises.

Oregon: It is a prohibited employment practice to advertise for job vacancies where the qualifications for the job include current employment.

Tennessee: Tipped employees may waive meal periods and breaks under certain conditions.

Washington: As of June 7, 2012, the Director of the State of Washington Department of Licensing may enter into a contractual agreement with an employer for the purpose of reviewing the driving records of existing employees.

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