With the budget issues looming large over this session of the General Assembly, it’s tough to get a handle on what labor & employment law bills are still a possibility for this session. One way to do that is to check to see what bills have been reported out of the Labor & Public Employees committee because if the bill can’t make out of committee, it’s not likely to go anywhere.
So what’s still alive in this session?
- HB 5521 would prohibit the use of credit reports as a basis for making employment decisions absent an exception. Employers may use such reports when required by law, when it is "substantially related to the employee’s current or potential job" or the employer has "reasonable cause to believe that the employee has engaged in a specific activity that constitutes a violation of law. One strange provision? The proposal doesn’t use existing employer/employee definitions, which makes little sense.
- HB 6821 would institute civil penalties of up to $300 for failure to comply with various personnel files laws (such as providing employees with access to the law). While the law presently requires access to personnel files, this bill would give additional power to the Department of Labor to enforce these provisions.
- HB 6187 is this year’s Paid Sick Leave bill that would mandate employers provide their employees with days off for illness. I’ve previously discussed this bill extensively here.
- HB 6188 is an attempt to introduce the concept of "workplace bullying" into the workforce; the present bill would not legislate away such conduct but would instead require a state agency to report on the level of "abusive conduct" in the workplace.
- HB 6189 would require every employer to include in its quarterly wage report the wages, gender, and job classification of each employee during the reporting period. Currently, employers must submit wage reports that include (1) employee names, (2) Social Security numbers, and (3) wages earned in the quarter.
- There are also several bills relating to labor matters, including SB 365 (which would prohibit captive audience meetings), and HB 6534 (which would create a "card check" mechanism under the State Board of Labor Relations, similar to that being proposed at a federal level).
- SB 710 would amend the state’s FMLA laws to bring it more in line with the federal FMLA, regulations as well as add provisions for military servicemember care leave.
There’s still a long way to go in the session, but the next few months promise to be busy with lots of employment law issues likely to be debated and pondered. For a full list of bills reported out of the Labor & Public Employees committee, you can click here.