HR In Aggregate: Top HR News

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Texas Adopts Expanded Protections for Employees Asserting Sexual Harassment Claims

In a surprising move for what has historically been an extremely employer-friendly state, Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed two new bills (Senate Bill 45 and House Bill 21) that significantly expand the protections for employees who assert claims of sexual harassment under the Texas Labor Code. Both laws will become effective on September 1, 2021. These new laws include a number of significant changes for employers in Texas (related to sexual harassment claims), including a longer statute of limitations, a broader definition of who qualifies as an “employer,” the potential for individual liability of supervisors, owners, human resources professionals, and other employees, and a heightened standard for employers to respond to internal sexual harassment complaints. Learn More

The Puerto Rico Department of Health Implements Compulsory Vaccination for In-Person Educational Institutions

On July 22, 2021 the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDOH) issued Administrative Order No. 2021-509 providing that, in order to physically attend school, post-school educational institutions, or universities, personnel and students age 12 and older must be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the PRDOH, the vaccination requirement for in-person school attendance will play an essential role in controlling the pandemic and providing a safer educational environment for students. The vaccine mandate will also assist in Puerto Rico’s reaching herd immunity to help protect all sectors of the population. Learn More

Connecticut Limits Inquiries into Prospective Employees’ Ages

On June 24, 2021, Governor Lamont signed into law Public Act 21-69, which adds to Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act an explicit ban on Connecticut employers inquiring into the ages of prospective employees “on an initial employment application.” The new law, An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment Applications, goes into effect on October 1, 2021. Learn More

You Put Your Mask Order On, You Take Your Mask Order Off: What the St. Louis Face Covering Orders Are All About

On Monday, July 26, 2021, the St. Louis County Department of Health issued a Face Covering Order (the “County Order”). In an effort of regional coordination, the St. Louis City Health Commissioner also issued a Face Covering Order (the “City Order”), which similarly took effect on July 26.Learn More

Rollback: California Follows CDC Guidelines and Recommends Masking in Public Indoor Settings

On July 28, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new guidance calling for masking measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The guidance provides information about higher-risk settings where masks may prevent transmission to people with higher risk of infection (those who are unvaccinated or immunosuppressed), to persons with prolonged or cumulative exposure (e.g., employees), or to persons with unknown vaccination status. Based on this guidance, the CDPH is now recommending universal mask use for indoor public settings statewide, regardless of vaccination status, which follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance issued on July 27, 2021. Learn More

Oregon Issues Temporary Rule Expanding the Scope of its Paid Sick Leave Law During a Public Health Emergency

On July 22, 2021, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued a temporary rule that expands the reasons employees can use leave under Oregon’s paid sick and safe leave law during a public health emergency. Under the rule, effective immediately and through January 17, 2022, eligible employees may take covered leave for absences connected to: 1) an emergency evacuation order of level 2 (SET) or level 3 (GO) issued by a public official with the authority to do so, if the affected area subject to the order includes either the location of the employer’s place of business or the employee’s home address; and 2) a determination by a public official with the authority to do so that the air quality index or heat index is at a level where continued exposure to such levels would jeopardize the employee’s health. Learn More

Department of Labor Withdraws Joint Employer Regulations

On July 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it was formally rescinding regulations issued by the prior administration defining “joint employer” status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department’s decision is not surprising, as it issued its proposal to roll back the regulations in March. Learn More

Last Part of the Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD) – Administrative Sanctions – Takes Effect August 1, 2021

Starting August 1, 2021, the Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD) will have some teeth. The LGPD was enacted in August 2018, but its provisions were scheduled to take effect in three separate phases. The provisions relating to the creation of the Brazilian National Data Protection Agency (ANPD) and its role in enforcing the new law became effective in December 2018, although the ANPD did not become operational until November 2020. The general provisions relating to the rights of data subjects and obligations of data controllers, processors, and privacy officers took effect in September 2020. Finally, the provisions authorizing the administrative sanctions the ANPD can impose are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2021.Learn More

DOL Releases Proposed Rule on Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

On July 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule to implement and enforce Executive Order 14026, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors,” was published in the Federal Register. Executive Order 14026, which President Biden signed on April 27, 2021, generally requires federal contractors to pay their workers at least $15 per hour and increases the minimum wage for tipped federal contractors to $10.50 per hour, starting January 30, 2022. The DOL’s proposed rule will have no direct impact on minimum wage requirements for non-federal contractors. Learn More

Rhode Island Enacts Comprehensive Pay Equity Law

Rhode Island has joined the growing ranks of states that have enacted a sweeping pay equity statute. The Rhode Island law, which takes effect on January 1, 2023, amends the Rhode Island Equal Pay Law and places significant new burdens on both large and small businesses. The law seeks to “combat wage discrimination” by “strengthening and closing gaps in existing wage discrimination laws,” and does so by imposing new requirements on employers and essentially deems employers “guilty until proven innocent” when it comes to wage disparities. Learn More

Refresh! The CDC Revisits COVID-19 Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its COVID-19 guidance, recommending that even individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should resume wearing masks in public indoor settings in those areas of the U.S. that have substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates. This announcement revises the CDC’s May 2021 guidance that fully vaccinated individuals could stop wearing masks and discontinue physical distancing in most settings. Learn More

Internal Disclosures from Compliance Audits – What Could Go Wrong?

Compliance or internal audit departments frequently carry out audits intended to assure that business partners in an organization, such as human resources or legal departments, have in place policies and procedures that are effective for maintaining corporate compliance and consistent with the myriad laws with which the organization must comply, including employment, whistleblower, and anti-bribery and corruption. These reviews are often not confined to policies but may also seek review of actual compliance events and sensitive contemporaneous records. Learn More



Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM – SCP

Certified EEO Investigator (EEOC)

Lead Support and Content Chief – HelpDeskforHR.com

“You cannot be audit-proof, but you can Be Audit-Secure.”

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