This latest installment of The Restricting Covenant series highlights the significant changes coming to Washington State regarding non-compete agreements (it’s a game changer), as well as similar legislation (passed and proposed) in other states including Massachusetts and New Jersey. Employers surely will feel the ripple effect of Washington’s new sweeping law on non-competes. Is this a sign of things to come for significant non-compete reform in other states coast to coast (“Winter is Coming,” anyone?).
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.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an arbitration agreement cannot be read as permitting class arbitration unless the agreement clearly and explicitly so provides; it is not enough that the agreement is susceptible to the interpretation that it permits class arbitration. This holding gives employers another tool to fend off class actions and compel alleged class claims to individual arbitration.
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.