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State Employment Law Update, October 2012

By Catherine Gordon | October 15, 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.

California: Employers are prohibited from requiring that employees and job applicants divulge user names, passwords or any other information related to social media accounts. Employers cannot discipline or discharge employees who refuse to provide social media information.

Effective January 1, 2013, the payment of a fixed salary to nonexempt employees is considered compensation only for regular time, not overtime hours worked, notwithstanding a private agreement to the contrary.

Wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle as a belief of observance is covered by anti-discrimination protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Also covered under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, prohibited discrimination based on sex includes breastfeeding and medical conditions related to breastfeeding.

Montana: Effective January 1, 2013, the minimum wage in Montana will increase from $7.65 per hour to $7.80 per hour.

New Jersey: Employers of 50 or more must provide employees with a gender equality and equal compensation anti-discrimination notice at the end of each year and anytime it is requested by an employee. Proof of delivery to each employee with the employee's signature on the notice is required.

New York: Effective November 6, 2012, permissible payroll deductions authorized in writing by employees are expanded to include, among other items, daycare expenses, gym dues, tuition and related academic expenses, and housing payments.

Ohio: Effective January 1, 2013, the minimum wage rate in Ohio for employees 18 years of age and older will increase from $7.70 per hour to $7.85 per hour. For 2013, the state minimum wage does not apply for employees of employers having gross annual receipts of $288,000 or less (an increase from the minimum $283,000 amount in effect for 2012).

The minimum wage rate per hour for tipped employees in Ohio is 50 percent of the wage rate prescribed by law. Therefore, effective January 1, 2013 the minimum wage for tipped employees in Ohio will increase from $3.85 per hour to $3.93 per hour.

Oregon: Effective January 1, 2013, the minimum wage rate in Oregon will increase from $8.80 per hour to $8.95 per hour.

Washington: The minimum wage rate for employees who are 18 years of age and older will increase from $9.04 per hour to $9.19 per hour effective January 1, 2013.

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