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Top 7 Workplace Legal Trends for 2017

— August 30, 2017

Workplaces face new legislation as the Trump presidency gets underway. While changes may take place swiftly, it is up to each business to make sure its workplace is legally compliant.

Workplaces face new legislation as the Trump presidency gets underway. While changes may take place swiftly, it is up to each business to make sure its workplace is legally compliant with the administration. Businesses and business owners must adapt accordingly to changes in the law. As we are already well into 2017, here are the legal trends that are getting the most attention.

Equal Pay. We are continuing to see more legislation to promote equal pay in the workplace. Businesses nationwide have already signed the Equal Pay Pledge promising to pay male and female employees fairly and equally. However, there are still discrepancies with equal pay laws, such as using a job seeker’s previous salary as a tool for basing his/her salary.

Technology in the Workplace. With numerous national hacking events and security breaches in recent years, expect more legislation involving privacy laws and technological devices concerning businesses. Legal concerns regarding employees’ privacy rights when using company cell phones or mobile devices is at an all-time high.

Paid Sick Leave. Different states are drafting new legislation to protect workers by requiring employers to offer paid sick leave as more companies have started moving toward consolidated Paid Time Off (PTO) rather than the traditional sick day policies. For instance, the State of California passed HWHFA in 2014 which requires employers to give one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Social Media in the Workplace. We are continuing to see the results of social media in the workplace as employers are firing employees based on social media postings. Employers have to draft and implement social media policies to protect themselves from potential lawsuits. Employees must be cognizant of what they are posting and who can view it. We expect to see more legislation develop surrounding this legal issue.

Woman working at home; image courtesy of
Woman working at home; image courtesy of

Workforce Changes. As more employers are allowing employees to work from home or hiring temporary employees or freelance workers, employers must identify ways to classify their workforce to make sure it is legally compliant. For example, equal pay and discrimination legislation becomes harder to detect in these types of situations. Clear policies are critical for compliance.

Ban the Box Legislation. We are hearing more about laws to “ban the box,” to prevent hiring committees from learning about a job applicant’s criminal background. For example, Sarasota lawyers are working to ensure the employer’s in the city are in compliance with its “ban the box” law by no longer asking job seekers about criminal history. The National Employment Law Project has successfully implemented this legislation in more than 100 cities.

Overtime Issues. Many employers made moves to implement expected federal overtime rules in December 2016; however, these new overtime rules did not come to pass. Therefore, management must now make sure their current overtime policies are legally compliant. Additionally, companies must ensure that their entire workforce (in and out of the office) is following overtime policies correctly.

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