[Written for Replicon blog]
In 2017 we saw a fair amount of fluctuation in labor law on the federal and state level, in part due to the shift in administration from Obama to Trump, and the stalling of the Obama-era overtime update.
2018 will likely be a similar year of change and shifting policy, and businesses need to re-evaluate existing practices and policies accordingly. Below, we list some legal trend predictions for 2018:
Marijuana law & retooling of drug testing policy
Snell & Wilmer attorney John Lomax predicts for SHRM that we’ll see more employers rethinking what are likely decades-old drug-testing policies due to the increasing number of jurisdictions that allow either medical or recreational marijuana use (or both).
With California recently becoming the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana use (joining Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, and likely Maine), in addition to the many other states that allow medical marijuana use, Lomax’s prediction seems more than likely.
Need more compliance detail? Check out our State-By-State Compliance Guide to find specific labor law updates for your state.
Sexual harassment policies
With a spotlight currently shining on sexual harassment in the workplace, in Hollywood, and in politics, employers should consider revisiting their sexual harassment policies, complaint and investigation procedures, and training programs for 2018 and beyond.
As of now, California and Connecticut mandate that businesses with over 50 employees require sexual harassment training for supervisors, and in Maine businesses with over 15 employees must provide training to all workers. In 2018, it’s possible we’ll be seeing new harassment laws and training mandates at the state and local level.
Pay equity law
Iceland has been in the news recently as the first country to make it illegal to pay men more than women. For companies with 25 or more employees in Iceland, equal pay policies are mandatory and those in violation will be subject to fines.
Though similar action is not yet very likely in the US, certain cities and states (California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico) have already adopted laws banning salary history questions during the interview process in an attempt to minimize the wage gap. With Idaho, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia already considering similar legislation, more states can be expected to follow.
Overtime rule changes
Despite indefinitely stalling the Obama-era overtime salary threshold increase, the DOL is still expected to increase the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions.
While the Obama-era increase would have effectively doubled the salary threshold, the Trump-era increase will likely increase the threshold to a lesser extent (with the Society for Human Resource Management recommending a raise from $23,660 to $32,000).