Under a new administrative rule adopted by the Texas Workforce Commission (the TWC), effective as of April 29, 2019, many Texans working in the ever-growing “gig economy”—that sector of the labor market in which workers provide on-demand services, typically connecting with customers using digital platforms hosted by companies such as Uber and Lyft—are likely to be treated as independent contractors rather than employees. The new rule insulates companies that provide such digital platforms from paying unemployment taxes, since the individuals comprising their workforces will not be treated as employees under the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act.
Maine and Cincinnati have joined other jurisdictions, such as New York City, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon, that prohibit employers from making salary history inquiries of potential employees in an effort to stop the perpetuation of wage gaps from job to job. The newly enacted legislation for Maine and Cincinnati is discussed in turn below.
As we previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) now requires employers to disclose equal pay data on its Employer Information Report (EEO-1). The equal pay data, otherwise known as “Component 2” of the EEO-1, has been the subject of ongoing litigation. Most recently, the EEOC requested court approval to extend the deadline for employers to report Component 2 data until September 30, 2019—later than the deadline for other EEO-1 data, which is due May 31, 2019. Several organizations supporting equal pay initiatives had argued that the agency should collect the data by May 31, but the agency told the court that the May 31 deadline was not feasible.
New York City is poised to ban employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo a drug test to detect for the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, as a condition of employment.
On April 9, 2019, the New York City Council approved a bill that would make New York City the first municipality to regulate pre-employment drug testing for marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. The bill applies to both public and private employers operating in New York City. Although recreational marijuana is not yet legal in the State of New York (or in New York City), Governor Andrew Cuomo supports statewide legalization and this bill is viewed as an important step to achieve that goal.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) revised Employer Information Report (EEO-1) is now open via the EEOC’s online portal. As we previously reported, the revised EEO-1 now requires employers to aggregate W-2 wages and hours worked by job category, race, sex, and ethnicity. The new requirements were stayed in 2017, but a federal judge lifted that stay on March 4, 2019.
In a new filing on April 3, 2019, the EEOC requested court approval to extend the deadline for reporting pay data until September 30, 2019—later than the current EEO-1 deadline of May 31, 2019. In making its request, the EEOC noted that it needs additional time “in order to accommodate the significant practical challenges” related to collecting the pay information. The agency support the request with an affidavit from its recently appointed Chief Data Officer, Samuel Christopher Haffer.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan is expected to rule on the agency’s request in the coming weeks. Subscribe to LaborSphere for updates.
On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides eligible employees a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and personal medical reasons and up to 26 weeks to care for a covered service member per year. In its opinion letter, the DOL addressed whether an employer may delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave or permit employees to expand their FMLA leave beyond the statutory requirements.