Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana – Cutting Through The Haze To Understand The Workplace Implications (US)

On June 25, 2019, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”), which, as of January 1, 2020, legalizes recreational use and possession of marijuana by adults aged 21 or older.  Illinois is now the eleventh US state to adopt a general law authorizing adult recreational use of marijuana (joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia).  And thirty-three states have enacted medical marijuana laws.  (We have posted about these and other marijuana-related developments impacting the workplace, for example, here, here, and here.)  What makes Illinois’ new law unique among these other states’ laws is its breadth.  For example, the CRTA addresses and attempts to create remedies for social inequities created through past enforcement of drug-related laws by authorizing the expungement of criminal convictions based on possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.  It also directs that certain taxes from marijuana sales go to the creation of social programs and business incentives supporting those most adversely affected by drug law enforcement activities.   Continue Reading

Minneapolis Employers — Heads Up! City gives two days’ notice to comply with new sick leave rules (US)

Doctor holding piggy bankFrom July 1, 2017 until last Friday night (June 28, 2019), the city of Minneapolis had a paid sick leave law that, per the city’s own rules and FAQs, only applied to employers with a physical location in the city of Minneapolis. As we previously reported, the city had been taking public comment on whether to revise the interpretive guidance on its paid sick leave law in light of a recent court ruling. The city was considering whether it should change its rules and FAQs to require employers without a physical location in the city to also provide paid sick leave. Thus, it is not particularly surprising that the city has made the decision to change its interpretive guidance and expand the law to cover all employers, regardless of whether they have a location in the city.

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Extension of IR35 to the private sector, Part 13 – your questions answered (UK)

Over 240 people signed up for our IR35 webinar last Thursday.   I would love to see this as a long-overdue recognition of my presentation skills, but fear instead that it just reflects widespread and continuing uncertainty among end-users about how new IR35 will work in practice. Our latest information is that the draft legislation will be published on 11 July, slightly sooner than expected. Unless picking the dry bones out of tax statutes is your thing, we would normally suggest waiting for the clarificatory guidance. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be (a) issued more than a couple of months before D-Day in April next year; and (b) very clarificatory – unfortunately these changes will operate in part by fear, especially if it becomes a strict liability failure, and too much clarity would militate against this. That will have the obviously wholly unintended side-effect of extending IR35’s (and so HMRC’s) effective territorial waters way beyond the point potentially defensible at law.

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Extension of IR35 to the private sector, Part 12 – the benefits of not following your own procedures (UK)

We have cautioned earlier in this series about allowing your PSC contractors to become integrated into your business so far as their outward projection to clients is concerned – describing them as part of “our team”, giving them business cards, company phones or invitations to the client party, and so on. Integration is something you actively aim for in respect of your employees (expect significant morale problems if you do not) and so is absolutely not something you want where you are trying to side-step “new” IR35’s hypothetical employment status from next April.

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Separating doubt from dismissal – Headmaster narrowly escapes caning in disability harassment (UK)

All the best-practice recommendations about accommodating employees with disabilities stress the importance of dialogue with them about the limitations their disability may impose and the adjustments which might be made to help overcome them. Unimpeachable advice in principle, but not without risk in practice, as it turns out.

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National Labor Relations Board Limits Another Union Tactic (US)

On June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued another favorable decision for employers who might find themselves facing union organizing activities or other types of union solicitation.  This latest decision will make it significantly more difficult for unions to solicit employees, strategize with supporters, or engage in similar activities on an employer’s property.

Historically, while federal labor law has recognized employers’ property rights, it has created certain exceptions.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized several decades ago in NLRB v. Babcock & Wilcox Co. that an employer must allow a union to access its property if the union could not otherwise communicate with employees (e.g., if the employees all lived on the property, such as in mining camps or other remote worksites).  As another example, the NLRB historically recognized that, if an employer allowed the general public to access its property, the employer could not bar union organizers, so long as they did not create disruptions and generally used the property for its intended purpose.  This made it significantly easier for unions to organize employees, meet with supporters, and undertake similar activities at locations such as restaurants, cafes, hospitals, hotels, and similar locations with spaces for meetings or conversations.  Continue Reading

Growing Trend Towards Unlimited Paid Time Off: Best Practices (US)

Unlimited paid time off (“PTO”) is one of the new “it” workplace policies.  Adopted as both a means to attract and retain employees as well as to avoid having to coordinating and track specific grants of paid PTO or vacation– a task which can be arduous, particularly for smaller businesses – some employers have done away with traditional accrual-based PTO and vacation policies and instead offer employees the opportunity to take as much PTO as they wish.  Under these policies, employees can technically take as many paid days off as they choose, for any reason, including vacation, sickness, or personal reasons.  Some may think this makes great sense, and others may think it is crazy.  To a certain extent, these policies are a bit of both.  Before deciding to implement an unlimited PTO policy, it is important that employers consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a policy and have a clear plan for implementation. Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Obesity Alone Is Not A Disability Under the ADA (US)

ADA Americans with Disabilities ActAs we previously reported here, the issue of whether obesity is a legally-protected impairment is complex, and jurisdictions differ on the extent to which they consider obesity to be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  On June 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit joined the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits in holding that without evidence that an underlying physiological disorder caused the individual’s extreme obesity, a plaintiff’s weight does not qualify as an impairment under the ADA or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) interpretive guidance. Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Paid Leave Proliferation (CT, ME, MA, NV, DC) and Minimum Wage Update! (US)

July 1 Minimum Wage Increases

A number of jurisdictions will see a minimum wage increase effective July 1, 2019; please find our updated minimum wage chart here.  In addition to those listed, Nevada just (on June 12, 2019) passed a law to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2024. Continue Reading

England beats Germany on penalties in new holiday pay decision (UK)

Flowers –v- East of England Ambulance Services NHS Trust this month concerned a claim by a number of workers in the Trust ambulance service that their holiday pay should include an allowance in respect of overtime, both non-guaranteed and voluntary. For these purposes, voluntary overtime was work which the employee was under no obligation to do, and non-guaranteed was work which he did have to do but the employer was under no obligation to provide.

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