This Employment Law This Week® Monthly Rundown features a recap of the most important news from March 2019. The episode includes:
1. New Jersey Limits Nondisclosure Agreements in Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Settlements
On March 18, 2019, New Jersey enacted a law that limits the use of nondisclosure provisions to maintain confidentiality regarding workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims. Denise Merna Dadika, from Epstein Becker Green, has more details:
"The new law makes any nondisclosure provision in an employment contract or a settlement agreement that has the purpose or effect of concealing the details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment unenforceable against an employee. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, nondisclosure agreements have been the focus of many legislatures. Most of these laws, however, are narrower in scope than New Jersey, in that they're limited to banning disclosure of sexual harassment claims, whereas New Jersey extends to any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation."
2. DOL Issues Proposed Overtime Rule
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its long-awaited proposed changes to overtime salary thresholds, which would replace an Obama administration rule that was blocked by a federal judge in 2017. Paul DeCamp, from Epstein Becker Green, has more:
"The [DOL] has announced that it wants to update the regulation governing the exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees, and it wants to do that by increasing the minimum salary threshold to $679 per week, which is an increase of about 50 percent over the existing level. The [DOL] contemplates in the rulemaking that the final rule will become effective in January of 2020. That's probably a bit optimistic if we look at the normal timetables for rulemakings of this sort. It would be more likely to see the final rule issued in late 2019 or early 2020, becoming effective in early to mid-2020."
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3. District Court Reinstates Pay Data Collection
Another federal judge has hit the restart button on Obama-era EEO-1 pay data collection requirements. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) stayed the requirements in 2017 before they went into effect. It’s unclear what the impact the judge’s decision to lift the stay will have on the 2018 reports EEO-1 reports, which are due May 31. Ann Knuckles Mahoney has more.
For now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that, for the 2018 report’s pay data collection, it will require Component 1 data detailing the demographics of an employer’s workforce but not the new Component 2 wage and hours data. However, there is legal pushback on this, so those requirements could still change.
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4. State Legislatures Focus on Sexual Harassment Training in Restaurants
A new regulatory trend is beginning to emerge in the hospitality sector. New Jersey and Illinois have both proposed legislation that requires restaurants, specifically, to institute sexual harassment training policies. Unlike in California and New York, there is no legislation in either state requiring this sort of training for all private-sector employers. It’s too soon to tell yet whether sexual harassment regulations are beginning to get more industry specific, or if we’re simply seeing a reaction to recent scandals in high-profile restaurants. We’ll be monitoring developments in this area.
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5. Tip of the Week
Aney Chandy, Executive Director, Senior Counsel for Labor and Employment at Allergan, shares some tips on how employers can address gender identity inclusion in the workplace.
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