Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related judicial, legislative developments

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Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related judicial, legislative developments

By CSA Staff - 10/22/2018
Wages

Federal - The labor department again delayed the timeline for the new overtime threshold regulations. The department is now planning to propose the new rule and open it for public comment in March 2019.

Arkansas - The state supreme court ruled that the proposed minimum wage increase will remain on the Nov. ballot. The minimum wage initiative, if passed, would gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $11/hr by 2021.

Washington - The state labor department released a draft overtime rule last week. If finalized, it would amend the rules relating to overtime pay for workers in the state and increase the salary threshold to as much as $75,000/yr. The rule is open for public comment until Oct. 26.

St Paul, MN - Legislation to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15/hr phased-in over several years was formally introduced in the city council. The proposal mandates increases to $15/hr over different time periods dependent on the size of the business and does not allow an exemption for tipped workers. The council is expected to consider several amendments but five of seven members already co-sponsor the existing proposal so it is likely to move forward in the next four to six weeks. The next council meeting on this issue will occur on Nov. 7.

Washington D.C. - As expected, the council took its second and final vote to repeal the initiative that would have raised the city’s tipped wage to $15/hr over a period of time. The mayor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Paid Leave

New Jersey - Ahead of the statewide paid sick leave law’s Oct. 29 implementation date, the state labor department released final regulations as well as the official notice poster that employers are required to display.

New Jersey - A senate committee did not vote on an expansion to the state’s paid family leave law, as was expected. The bill was held in committee but could still be acted upon at any time.

Cisco Systems - The technology conglomerate announced a new and innovative family-friendly benefit package for employees. The company will reimburse employees up to $20,000 for a group of family-oriented benefits such as embryonic storage, adoption, surrogacy and genetic testing.

Scheduling

Washington - A house committee heard testimony regarding a potential statewide restrictive scheduling mandate that may be considered during the next legislative session. Seattle is one of a few localities across the country with a scheduling mandate already in place.

Labor Policy

Labor Department - A proposed department rule that would expand access to association retirement plans has cleared the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review process, the last stage before proposed rules are published and opened for public comment. The rule would allow small businesses to pool resources to offer retirement plans for employees.

NLRB - A recent NLRB judgment against In-N-Out Burger declared the company’s policy against employees wearing political buttons to be an unfair labor practice. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed that decision. This week, a conservative legal advocacy group, the Washington Legal Foundation, requested the Supreme Court take up the case on appeal.

EEOC - A case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Costco on behalf of an employee could extend workplace harassment liability to third parties. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently found in favor of the employee who was subject to unwanted advances and persistent harassment from a customer at a Costco store in Illinois. The store’s management as well as local law enforcement both intervened but the harassment continued to the point that the employee took a year of unpaid leave. A jury awarded the employee $250,000 in damages.

No-Poaching Agreements - Washington State Attorney General Ferguson announced a potential expansion of his office’s investigation into the use of no-poaching agreements in franchise contracts. To date, the AG has reached agreements with dozens of national restaurant chains to remove no-poach clauses from their standard U.S. franchise contracts. The recent announcement highlights expanded investigations into hotels, convenience stores, cleaning services and several other businesses.

Joint Employer

Labor Department - The Trump Administration's semiannual Unified Agenda outlines the Labor Department’s intent to propose a new rule regarding joint employer liability as soon as December. The long-awaited rule has the potential to provide the business community much-needed clarity on the issue.

McDonald’s - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that McDonald's USA is not a joint employer of a California franchisee's workers in the appeal of a 2017 lower court judgment on the matter. The case centered on whether or not a joint employer relationship existed under California's wage and hour laws

Health Care

Seattle, WA - The business-backed ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) brought a suit against the city over the health care benefit mandate included in the voter-approved Initiative 124. The measure passed in 2016 and went into effect July 1, 2018. The lawsuit focuses on Section 3 of the initiative which mandates that hotels with more than 60 employees offer gold standard health care benefits or the cash equivalent to all employees. ERIC argues that this specific provision precludes uniform plan administration as required under federal ERISA preemption law.

Taxes

California - An initiative to tax commercial prope

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