by Rachel Powitzky Steely - The National Law Review
Did you know that employers can be sued in Michigan for height discrimination? Or that in Maine, starting in 2021, employees can take paid time off for any reason at all? States and cities have followed California’s lead in requiring tighter restrictions on employers and providing more rights to employees. Is your company complying with these swiftly changing state and local restrictions?
Historically, employers viewed California as the only place with significantly more restrictive employment laws outside the federal norms. However, more and more cities and states are setting higher standards for employers and requiring strict compliance. Employers must therefore keep up with the rapidly changing regulation landscape on the state and local level.
For example, many states and cities have passed various versions of “ban the box” laws that prohibit an employer from requesting criminal history on an application. Detroit and New Orleans ban questions at the application stage, not after a conditional offer of employment, but only for contractors doing business with the city. New Mexico allows an employer to consider an applicant’s convictions only after reviewing the application and discussing employment with the applicant (interview). Washington state requires employers to determine that the applicant is otherwise qualified for a position, but does not require that the employer conditionally offer employment to consider arrests, convictions, or background checks. Most states with ban the box regulations do allow inquiries of criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.