Next month, Connecticut legislators from across the political spectrum are set to formally introduce a bill prohibiting employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s age, birthday, or graduation date, unless necessary for a bona fide employment reason.  At an announcement on Thursday, January 16, 2020, a wide ranging group of elected officials and other stakeholders heralded the measure as a protection for older workers facing age discrimination in the labor market.  Connecticut has the sixth oldest workforce in the country.  A similar bill, H.B. No. 6113, passed the Labor Committee last year, but was never presented for a vote in the House.

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For the first time in sixty years, the U.S Department of Labor is substantively revising the regulation that articulates when two people or businesses are “joint employers” of an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The final version of Joint Employer Status under the FLSA will be published this Thursday, January 16, and is effective on March 16, 2020.  See 29 CFR Part 791.  The unpublished version is available here.  The revisions are meant to “reduce uncertainty over joint employer status, promote greater uniformity among court decisions, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy.”  Franchise chains, temp agencies, and businesses that outsource their workforces are among those that will benefit from the revised rule.

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The holidays arrived early last week for employers and management-side labor attorneys, as the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision approving employer policies that prohibit the discussion of pending workplace investigations. In Apogee Retail LLC d/b/a Unique Thrift Store and Kathy Johnson, Cases 27-CA-191574 and 27-CA-198058, the Board considered two workplace rules: “one requiring employees to ‘maintain confidentiality’ regarding workplace investigations into ‘illegal or unethical behavior’ and the other prohibiting ‘unauthorized discussion’ of investigations or interviews ‘with other team members.’”

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In 2019, the New York State Legislature championed a host of employment laws that strengthen protections for employees.  One of those laws codified new requirements for non-disclosure agreements, which are effective as of October 11, 2019.  To ensure enforceability of non-disclosure provisions, employers must account for the following provisions:
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On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final overtime rule as it relates to the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees. The DOL estimates that 1.3 million workers will be eligible for overtime pay as a result of its final rule.  Here is how the new rule will impact workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
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Effective October 1, 2019, Connecticut increased the minimum wage and implemented extensive revisions to existing sexual harassment laws. Below is a brief summary of the changes. As always, Murtha employment lawyers are available to discuss these new laws and how they may affect your organization.

Changes to Connecticut Sexual Harassment Laws


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Notice to employees due September 30, and required contribution withholding begins October 1.

Massachusetts’ Paid Family and Medical Leave program was signed into law in June 2018, and cannot be utilized by employees until January 2021. But by September 30, 2019, employers must notify all covered individuals of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program, and on October 1, 2019, employers must begin payroll deductions for Q2 2019 unless an exemption has been approved.
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