Labor Law News and Trends: What We’ve Seen So Far in 2015
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Labor Law News and Trends: What We’ve Seen So Far in 2015

6/24/2012
Labor Law News and Trends: What We've Seen So Far in 2015 

As anticipated, 2015 has ushered in ​a series of employment law rulings, regulations and trends. At the halfway point of the year, here are eight of the biggest changes employers have faced so far this year:

Labor law posting changes:
OSHA released a new, non-mandatory update to its “It’s the Law” Job Safety and Health poster. Additionally, there have been 31 state posting changes since January 1.
Religious freedom scored a huge win
In EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores – which involved a conflict between a hijab-wearing Muslim job applicant and the employer’s “look policy” – the United States Supreme Court ruled that employers may be discriminating against job applicants for requiring a religious accommodation, even if they are unaware that applicants will need such accommodation.
Working from home may be a “reasonable accommodation”
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities if they need it to complete essential job functions. In some cases, this may include working from home. Other cases, however, are not so cut and dried: The Sixth Circuit Court recently ruled that working from home is not a reasonable accommodation if regular attendance and face time are essential job functions.
Guidance on workplace issues facing transgender employees
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a guide to restroom access for transgender workers, which states that all employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identity. While the EEOC’s guide to LGBT employee rights only applies to those in the federal sector, it’s important for all employers to keep a close eye on this and other guidance.
Minimum wage increases
So far, 2015 has seen 21 states raise their minimum wage. Minimum wages are increasing at the city level, too: Both Seattleand Los Angeles now have higher minimum wages than their state minimums.
Background screenings remain a hot topic
Even though the EEOC hasn’t had luck in proving their “disparate impact” claims, Ban the Box laws, which aim to delay criminal history inquiries until later in the hiring process, are rapidly growing throughout the US.
Proposed rules for wellness programs
In an effort to keep healthcare costs down, more employers are creating employee wellness programs to encourage healthier habits with workers. Recently, the EEOC proposed regulations for these program to ensure ADA compliance in regards to employee participation and confidentiality.
Employers struggle to navigate new technology while remaining compliant:
As our use of technology continues to grow, so do the legal issues surrounding these advances in the workplace. The Wage and Hour Division is starting to look into how smartphones impact FLSA “time and pay” regulations, mainly regarding checking work emails while off-duty. Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board continues to investigate workplace social media policies and whether they infringe upon employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
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