Montgomery County is the latest local jurisdiction to “ban the box.” Montgomery County’s law prohibits private employers from making inquiries about an applicant’s criminal record on an employment application or through another medium (such as a consumer reporting agency) until the conclusion of the applicant’s first interview. Montgomery County’s bill goes into effect on January 1, 2015.
The D.C. Council passed a similar measure in July. According to D.C.’s ban the box legislation, employers cannot ask about a potential employee’s criminal convictions until a conditional offer of employment has been made. D.C.’s bill will become effective following a Congressional review period, as required by the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. The D.C. Council projects that D.C.’s ban the box legislation will go into effect on December 11, 2014.
On April 8, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13665 to encourage greater pay transparency by prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from discharging or otherwise discriminating against their employees and job applicants for discussing, disclosing or inquiring about compensation.
On September 15, 2014, the OFCCP released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, will implement the mandates set forth in Executive Order 13665. According to the proposal, a “pay transparency rule” will cover federal contractors and subcontractors, as well as federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, that hold a contract or contracts exceeding an aggregate value of $10,000 in a 12-month period entered into – or modified on or after – the rule’s effective date.
The proposal offers two defenses to the prohibition against “pay secrecy” rules. The first defense generally permits (with some exceptions) covered entities to discipline an employee who, as part of his or her essential job functions, has access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants, and the employee discloses such compensation information to individuals who do not otherwise have access to it. This defense was provided with human resource (HR) personnel in mind.
The second defense protects employers from liability when the employer takes action against an employee for violating legitimate workplace rules while engaging in otherwise permitted “compensation” discussions.
The public has until December 16, 2014 to submit written comments to the OFCCP regarding the proposal.
Revisions to the District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act adopted last February, referred to as the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2013 (the “Amendment”), are now in force. The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (“DOES”) published a revised “Official Notice” that must be posted in affected workplaces across the District of Columbia. The Sick and Safe Leave Act’s central requirement to provide paid sick and safe leave to eligible employees employed in D.C. has not changed (for a review of the Sick and Safe Leave Act, see our Employment Alert here). However, the Amendment has changed certain aspects of the Sick and Safe Leave Act.
In particular, the Amendment created these six (6) new provisions and/or obligations:
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