Employment Law

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed two pieces of legislation into law recently, regulating where and how Texans may carry firearms. As of Jan. 1, licensed gun owners may carry holstered handguns anywhere that concealed handguns are per­mitted—with some exceptions.
Many employers now track attendance using biometric scanners that require an employee to clock in and out by scanning a fingerprint or a palmprint. New York employers should note a statute that limits the collection of biometric data.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has clarified rules for noncompete agreements entered into after an employee has been hired. It has concluded for the first time that the employer must offer the employee (and the employee must accept) something of value beyond just a mutual promise to make the agreement binding. This has practical consequences for employers adopting or modifying employment agreements.

Watch out for a growing litigation danger known as association discrimination. More courts are allowing ADA lawsuits to move forward based on suspicion that an employee who has a disabled family member was punished because he might miss work in the future.
Texas government employees who blow the whistle on their employers are protected from retaliation. But it takes more than just voicing an internal complaint or even cooperating in an audit to make a claim of whistle-blower retaliation stick.
Employer-sponsored wellness programs often collect medical data about employees and their families to identify risk factors and customize health and exercise programs. The Affordable Care Act health care reform law favors wellness programs as a way to manage chronic diseases and educate employees about their health.
If your organization hasn’t yet been hit with a pay-related lawsuit, consider yourself lucky. A new report shows the onslaught of wage-and-hour lawsuits continues to rise at a record pace.

It’s management’s prerogative to change workplace policies and rules. Courts don’t like to second-guess employers for managing their businesses as best they see fit. But how (and how consistently) you change those rules can make a big difference in your exposure to legal liability.

The end of the year saw a flurry of activity from workplace reg­­ulators in New York. Employers should note several recent legal developments.
Large employers operating in Sacramento can expect to pay their workers at least $10.50 per hour in 2017 after the city council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage from the current $9 per hour.