Week In Review

March 14, 2016

Employer Unlawfully Discharged Employee for Brief Refusal to Work
A federal appeals court has upheld the finding of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that an employer unlawfully fired an employee who briefly refused to work in response to the perceived unfair treatment of a fellow employee. One of the employee’s co-workers was sent home for substandard performance. In response, the employee immediately spoke up in support of her banished colleague and briefly stopped working. A supervisor told the employee that she would be discharged for her support of her colleague and then sent the employee home and also told her not to come back to work the next day. The NLRB, and the federal appeals court reviewing the NLRB’s decision, both held that the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act by interfering with the employee’s rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.

Philadelphia’s “Ban the Box” Ordinance Now Applies to All Private Employers
New amendments to the Philadelphia “Ban the Box” ordinance, will take effect on March 14, 2016. The law now prohibits private employers with at least 1 employee in Philadelphia from asking a Philadelphia applicant about criminal convictions until after the initial employment interview. Other significant new limitations include: (1) employers may only consider the applicant’s criminal history for seven years from the date of the background check; (2) a conditional job offer may only be withdrawn based on a conviction record that reasonably leads the employer to conclude that the applicant either would “pose an unacceptable risk in the position applied for” or that the applicant “fails to meet legal or physical requirements of the job”; and (4) notice must be given to any applicant who has been disqualified based on a conviction and the applicant must have 10 days to offer proof that the background check is inaccurate or to provide an explanation. Philadelphia employers must post a workplace notice summarizing the amended ordinance.

Vermont Governor Signs Paid Sick Days Legislation into Law
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin made Vermont the fifth state in America to guarantee paid sick days to its citizens by signing into law H.187 on March 9. The legislation requires employers to provide a paid time off policy to include a minimum of three days in a 12-month period to full-time employees beginning in 2017 and five days from 2019 going forward. Employees who work 18 or more hours per week are covered.

SESCO recommends that clients review all applicable policy and practices to ensure compliance. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com