Employment Law Legislative Update Second Quarter 2014

May 19, 2014

Sarah Lamar gives an overview of recent changes in employment law in her second quarterly legislative update for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

Legislation: Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474)
Introduced: 11/13/13
Status: Vote in the Senate Expected Soon
Purpose: The US Senate is backing legislation already passed by the House intended to encourage the hiring of military veterans. The Act would allow employers to hire veterans who already have government-provided health insurance coverage without counting such workers toward the number needed (50 or more full-time employees) to invoke Obamacare’s requirement that the employer provide health insurance to its workforce.
Comment: Tax-related amendments may stall this bill’s progress in the Senate.
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Legislation: Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act (H.B. 60)
Introduced: 1/13/14
Status: Signed into law by Governor Deal 4/23/14
Purpose: To expand locations where licensed gun holders can carry their guns within the State, to include concealed firearms in bars, certain government buildings and unrestricted areas of airports. The law legalizes the use of silencers for hunting. Guns remain banned in houses of worship unless church leaders allow them. Similarly, guns are banned in schools and at school activities unless permitted by certain school officials. The effective date of the law is July 1, 2014.
Comment: The law does not directly address an employer’s right to ban weapons from its premises but it appears that an entity’s private property rights will normally trump the right of a license holder to carry weapons where the property owner clearly disallows it.
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Regulatory Requirements: DOL to Re-Vamp White-Collar Exemptions
Effective Date: 3/13/14 (presidential memorandum announced)
Purpose: The President has tasked the US DOL with re-vamping the “White-Collar” exemptions to the FLSA, claiming that they are outdated and misapplied to low-earning workers, making as little as $23,660/year.
Comment: Although the DOL will likely be able to increase the minimum salary basis ($455/week) necessary to maintain exempt status, significant changes to the “duties” tests will likely be subject to legal challenge.
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Regulatory Requirements: NLRB Re-Issues Quickie Election Rules
Effective Date: 2/6/14 (proposed regulations published)
Purpose: Now that the NLRB has a constitutional quorum, the NLRB has re-issued its “quickie” representation election regulations, which would change the election rules to limit objections and speed up election time frames. The public comment period has closed.
Comment: There is a good chance these proposed regulations will become effective in 2014, although we should expect lawsuits challenging the rules to follow.

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