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HR Law Updates

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HR Law Updates

HR law is changing every day. In order to ensure compliance with all these laws, employers should be conducting frequent audits of their policies and the changes in the laws to make sure that they are in compliance with all of the recent changes.

Employers need to be concerned with both the federal employment discrimination laws as well as the state and local employment discrimination laws. The federal employment discrimination laws apply to employers in all states such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

However, you should be aware that there are also state employment discrimination laws often called fair employment laws. These laws also prohibit discrimination and harassment in employment based upon the same factors as Title VII including sex, race, color, religion and national origin and based upon the same factors as the other federal laws such as age, disability and military status. However, state fair employment laws are often broader and include additional protected classes that are not protected from employment discrimination under federal law such as sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and citizenship.

Many jurisdictions such as New York City for instance also have local fair employment laws that also prohibit discrimination in employment and harassment.

Employers need to review the laws of all the locations in which they operate including the laws of the states in which some of their employees work remotely. Since all these laws are constantly changing, it is important for employers to stay up to date with all recent changes and to revise their policies accordingly.

For instance, recently Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Health Care Reform Act that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act. This amendment requires employers to provide breastfeeding moms with reasonable break time to express breast milk at work for up to a year after a childs birth. The law applies to all employers but provides an exception for employers with less than 50 employees if they can prove that compliance with the new law would be an unreasonable burden on them. Employers should amend their policies to include this reasonable break time for breastfeeding moms. In addition, many state laws also require reasonable break time for expressing milk at work and many can apply for longer periods of time. For instance, New Yorks break time for expressing milk at work law applies for up to three years from the birth of the child.

Please check back frequently at this page of our website to see the most recent changes to both federal laws and state laws and ensure that your organization is in compliance.