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Workplace Compliance News & Resources
in the Midwest

Below is a round-up of workplace safety news for states in the Midwest that employers need to know to keep their business compliant.

Stay on top of safety and compliance the right way with this information but be sure to seek legal counsel when you’re looking for how these changes will directly impact your business. Wherever available, KPA products are updated with the latest government notices and posters for employers.

Indiana

Effective Immediately: Vaccine Mandates in Indiana Restricted for Employers

Who: Indiana employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On March 3, 2022, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1001, which restricts employers from mandating vaccination against COVID-19 for their employees. Under the bill, Indiana employers are required to allow for employee vaccination refusal on the following grounds:

  • Religious beliefs. To qualify for this exemption, employees must provide a statement in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Medical accommodations. To qualify for this exemption, employees must provide a note from their healthcare provider
  • Natural immunity. To qualify for this exemption, employees must provide an antibody test or a positive COVID-19 PCR test result and the results of an antigen test from within the last three months.

Employers must grant employee exemption requests “without further inquiry.” Employees who are granted exemptions may be required to submit COVID-19 test results at least twice a week. Employers are not required to pay for employee testing.

Under the new law, “employee” is defined to include full-time and part-time workers, as well as independent contractors, subcontractors, and interns.

The law is not applicable to employees working in another state, healthcare workers, federal employees, and contractors, nor entertainment venues affiliated with sports organizations.

How:

  • Review your current vaccine policies and procedures and update them to comply with the new bill.
  • Train HR personnel on the vaccine policies and how to properly administer to employees.
  • Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

HB 1001

Indiana COVID-19 Resources

Indiana Department of Health

Indiana Executive Orders

Effective July 1: Indiana Amends Definition of “Timely Notice” of Data Breaches

Who: Indiana employers

When: Effective July 1, 2022

What: On March 18, 2022, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed HB 1351 into law, effective July 1, 2022. It requires employers to provide notifications of database breach to their employees. Originally the law read, “A person required to make a disclosure or notification under this chapter shall make the disclosure or notification without unreasonable delay.” The amendment adds, “but not more than forty-five (45) days after the discovery of the breach.”

How:

  • Update your data breach notification policy (and any other related policy) to comply with the law.

Additional Resources:

HB 1351

Iowa

Iowa Adopts Federal OSHA Beryllium Requirements

Who: Employers in general industry, construction, and other industries that work with beryllium

When: Effective immediately

What: On January 26, 2022, the Iowa Labor Services Division adopted changes that were made by the U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to general industry beryllium requirements. The changes made to OSHA’s beryllium rule, and adopted by Iowa, include:

  • Setting an exposure limit (PEL) to 0.2 µg/m3, averaged over 8-hours.
  • Setting a short-term exposure limit to 2.0 µg/m3, over a 15-minute sampling period.
  • Requiring employers to use engineering and work practice controls (like ventilation or enclosure) to limit worker exposure to beryllium; provide respirators when controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high-exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan; and train workers on beryllium hazards.
  • Requiring employers to provide medical exams to monitor exposed workers and provide medical removal protection to workers identified with a beryllium-related disease.

Next Steps:

  • Employers should review their current beryllium-related policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant, within the defined exposure limits, enforcing safe work practices and controls that will limit exposure.

Additional Resources

Iowa Administrative Code (page 68)

Effective Immediately: Iowa Will Not Adopt the OSHA Vaccination or Testing Standards

Who: Iowa employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On January 7, 2022, Iowa’s labor commissioner announced that the state will neither be adopting nor enforcing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees. The Iowa Division of Labor has claimed to have concluded that the state’s already existing COVID-19 testing and vaccination standards are at least as effective as the federal standards.

Iowa is one of 22 states in the nation with a state plan that covers workers in both the private sector and within local government and is responsible for protecting the health and safety of employees in the workplace.

The federal government retains the right to oversee workplace safety in Iowa in the future if it is determined that the state has failed to implement effective standards of safety.

How:

  • Review your current policies and procedures and update them to comply with the state’s decision.
  • Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

Iowa Department of Public Health COVID-19 Resources

Iowa Department of Public Health Homepage

Kansas

Effective Immediately: Kansas Workplace Vaccine Mandates Limited

Who: Kansas employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On November 23rd, 2021, HB 2001 went into law, expanding the possible exemptions for employees who refuse to receive vaccination against COVID-19. HB 2001 also outlines the penalties for employers who refuse to comply with employee vaccine exemptions.

For businesses that implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, HB 2001 provides employees the ability to submit a written waiver to their employer stating that the vaccine mandate would “endanger the life or health of the employee or an individual residing with the employee.” The waiver must be signed by a licensed physician. Employees can also submit an exemption in the form of a waiver citing sincerely held religious beliefs without employers inquiring as to the sincerity of the request.

The bill allows employees aggrieved by a violation of the bill’s provisions to file a formal complaint against their employee with the Secretary of Labor. The bill requires the Secretary to commence an investigation within 60 days of the complaint to determine whether:

  • The employer imposed a vaccine requirement.
  • The employee submitted an appropriate exemption.
  • The employer violated the provisions of HB 2001.

Employers found in violation of HB 2001 may be subject to fines up to $10,000 per violation for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and $50,000 per violation for businesses with more than 100 employees.

HB 2001 also outlines employee qualifications for unemployment benefits following termination on the grounds of vaccination refusal after providing an exemption. 

How:

  • Review your current policies and procedures and update them to comply with the new bill.
  • Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.
  • Familiarize yourself with federal vaccine mandates and OSHA standards for potential conflicts with this new law.

Additional Resources:

HB 2001

Kansas Department of Health and Environment COVID-19 Resources

Michigan

Effective June 14, 2023: Michigan Expands Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Who: Michigan employers

When: Effective June 14, 2023

In 1977, Michigan passed the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, public services, and access to educational facilities based on “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.” The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act also provides protections for “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

Effective June 14, 2023, amendments to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act will include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Governor Gretchen Witmer signed the amendments into law on March 16, 2023.

Employers may not take adverse employment action against or harass a worker based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Sexual orientation is defined as “having an orientation for heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality or having a history of such an orientation or being identified with such an orientation.” Gender identity or expression is defined as “having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression whether or not associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Under the amended law, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission has the power to investigate claims of discrimination based on gender identity or expression and bring administrative claims.

How:

  • Update your antidiscrimination policies and practices to comply with the law.
  • Review and update all of your anti-harassment training materials as needed.
  • Train HR personnel and managers on the new law.

Additional Resources:

Senate Bill 4

Effective Immediately: Michigan Court Ruling Puts Paid Sick Time and Minimum Wage Increase on Hold

Who: Michigan employers

When: Effective immediately

On January 26, 2023, in the case of Mother Justice v. Nessel, the Michigan Court of Appeals stated that the “adopt-and-amend” strategy that changes ballot proposals is unconstitutional. That means Michigan’s minimum hourly wage rate and the Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) are on hold.

The minimum wage will remain at $10.10 per hour and the tipped minimum wage will remain at $3.84 per hour. The Paid Medical Leave Act will not be replaced by the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA). The Paid Medical Leave Act requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time to eligible employees.

How:

  • Monitor for possible appeals.
  • Post the required Michigan minimum wage poster.

 

Additional Resources:

State of Michigan Court of Appeals

Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act Poster

Michigan Minimum Wage Poster

Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity Wage and Hour Posting Requirements For Employers

Michigan Court Ruling Invalidates Paid Medical Leave Act

Who: All employers

When: Effective immediately

What: On July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled unconstitutional the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act and reinstituted the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and the Earned Sick Time Act. The 2018 laws had reduced the minimum wage from $12.00 per hour to $10.10 per hour and decreased earned sick leave from 72 to 40 hours. The amendments exempted employers with less than 50 employees, along with other changes.

The court ruled that the 2018 amendments to the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and the Paid Medical Leave Act were enacted improperly. The voter-initiated laws were adopted without change or amendment. But then, the legislature amended them and cut them back by simple majority, without taking them back to the voters on the general election ballot that year.

In light of the ruling, effective immediately, employers with one or more employees must revert to the original minimum wage and earned sick leave laws. The minimum wage of $12.00 per hour and provide earned sick leave of 72 hours annually.

Employers need to post updated notices of employee rights under the law. The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity has not yet updated its required notices in response to the decision.

How:

  • Monitor news for a stay on the court’s decision by a Michigan appeals court or the state supreme court.
  • Monitor the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity site for updated employee notices.

Additional Resources:

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity Wage and Hour

Minnesota

Effective January 1, 2024: Minnesota Bans Pay History Inquiries

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective January 1, 2024

Beginning January 1, 2024, Minnesota employers are prohibited from asking applicants for their salary history during the hiring process. The purpose of the law is to help remedy pay inequity by forcing employers to make offers based on the current job market and the applicant’s qualifications, not their salary history.

There are exceptions to the law. Employers can access the applicant’s salary history if it is public record under federal or state law, but only if employers do not access it with the intention of using it to determine any aspect of the applicant’s compensation. If an applicant shares their salary history voluntarily, employers may use that information to potentially make an offer higher than the original offer. During salary negotiations, employers may provide salary and benefit information and ask an applicant about their expectations or requests concerning salary and benefits.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is implementing, overseeing, and enforcing the law.

How:

  • Review and update your job application and interview practices to ensure compliance with the law.
  • Train personnel who are part of the hiring process on the provisions of the law.

Additional Resources:

SF 2909

Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap

Effective January 1, 2024: Minnesota Passes Earned Sick and Safe Time Law

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective January 1, 2024

On May 24, 2023, Governor Tim Walz signed the Omnibus Jobs Bill SB3035 into law, which entitles covered employees to earn up to 48 hours of paid leave that they can use for various purposes. The law applies to all Minnesota employees, including temporary and seasonal employees, who work at least 80 hours in a year for that employer. It applies to all public and private employers.

Employees accrue one hour of earned sick and safe time (ESST) for every 30 hours of work, up to a cap of 80 hours, with unused time rolling over to next year. A “year” is any regular, consecutive 12-month period that the employer determines. Pay is the regular hourly rate of pay, but no less than minimum wage.

The law allows employers to frontload 48 hours, pay out the cash value of unused hours at the end of the year, and not roll over any unused leave to the next year. They may also frontload the entire 80 hours and pay for no unused leave at the end of the year.

Employees can take the leave in the smallest increment of time the employer’s payroll system tracks, or four hours, whichever is smaller. Employees can use the ESST for a variety of reasons, including:

  • An employee’s or a family member’s illness, injury, health condition, or need for medical or preventive medical care;
  • Issues arising from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking (pertaining to the employee or a family member);
  • Closure of a workplace or a family member’s school or place of care due to weather or another public emergency;
  • Inability to work due to potential transmission of communicable illness related to a public emergency or the need to seek or await results of a test/diagnosis for a communicable disease related to a public emergency; or
  • A health authority’s or health professional’s order for the employee or a family member to quarantine or isolate for reasons related to a communicable disease.

The law defines family member as an employee’s:

  • Spouse or registered domestic partner;
  • Child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or grandparent;
  • Niece, nephew, aunt, or uncle;
  • Child- or sibling-in-law;
  • Relation by blood or a relationship that is equivalent to family relationship; and
  • Designated person (designated once each year).

Adult children are included, as are biological and foster children, legal guardianships, and in loco parentis. Parents include biological, step-, adoptive, and foster, and those who stood in loco parentis. Grandchildren include foster and step-grandchildren, and grandparents include step-grandparents.

Employers may require reasonable notice of the need for leave when foreseeable, or as soon as practicable. Employers must provide a written policy that explains notice procedures.

After an employee has used three days of ESST, the employer can request reasonable documentation of the reason for the leave. The employee may submit a written statement if they are unable to secure the requested documentation. Employers cannot request details about the reason for use, inlcluding details about a medical condition or certain crimes committed against the employee or their family member.

Employers must adhere to local ordinances when they provide greater protections or benefits to employees. As long as their own PTO/ESST plans provide equal or greater protections, employers can use them to meet the requirements of the law. They must still meet the notice requirements of the law.

Employers must notify all current employees of the ESST by January 1, 2024, and all new hires upon hire. They must post the notice at each location and provide a paper or electronic copy to each employee or conspicuously post it in a web-based or app-based platform through which the employee performs work. They must also add the notice to the employee handbook. Earnings statements must include ESST hours accrued and available and ESST hours used during the pay period.

Rehiring an employee within 180 days triggers reinstatement of all unused ESST.

The law contains an anti-retaliation provision and prohibits requiring an employee to find coverage for their work while on leave. The leave is job-protected and the employee is entitled to the former position at the same level of pay and benefits.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry released a sample Earned Sick and Safe Time Notice that informs employees of their rights and remedies under the law. Employers may use the sample notice or their own notice as long as it contains all of the required information. The sample notice requires the employer to proactively fill in certain information. The notice must be in the primary language of the employee. Employers should refer to the FAQs: Earned Sick and Safe Time for more details.

The Department of Labor and Industry may issue a cease-and-desist order in response to violations, require back pay and gratuities and assign compensatory damages, an equal amount as liquidated damages, and litigation and hearing costs. Repeated and willful violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. Recordkeeping violations are subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 per failure. Aggrieved employees have three years to bring a civil lawsuit, seek injunctive or other equitable relief, and may recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

How:

  • Post the Earned Sick and Safe Time Poster and provide the Earned Sick and Safe Time Employee Notice to all employees by January 1, 2024, and to new employees upon hire.
  • Review and update your paid leave policies and procedures to comply with the law.
  • Train HR personnel, managers, and supervisors on the new requirements.
  • Monitor the Department of Labor and Industry site for the release of additional guidance.

Additional Resources:

Omnibus Jobs Bill SB 3035

Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Poster

Earned Sick and Safe Time Employee Notice

Earned Sick and Safe Time

FAQs: Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)

Earned sick and safe time as of Jan. 1, 2024, Fact Sheet

Effective August 1, 2023: Minnesota Bans “Captive Audience” Meetings

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective August 1, 2023

On May 24, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Omnibus Jobs Bill SB3035, which bans “captive audience” meetings. Employers may not force employees to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or receive employer-sponsored communications in which the employer discusses religious or political matters, which includes labor unions.

Employers may not take or threaten to take adverse employment action against employees who do not attend such meetings, do not agree to receive or listen to such communications or report a suspected or actual violation. Employers must post a notice of employee rights in the workplace by August 1, 2023.

An employee has the right to file a civil action against an employer within 90 days of an alleged violation. Employers are subject to payment of attorney fees and back pay, and may be ordered to reinstate an employee.

How:

  • Monitor for the release of the employee rights notice. Post the notice of employee rights in the workplace by August 1, 2023.

Additional Resources:

Omnibus Jobs Bill SB 3035

Minn. Stat. § 181.531

Effective Immediately: Minnesota Bans Most Noncompete Agreements

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective immediately

On May 24, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Omnibus Jobs Bill SB3035, which went into effect July 1, 2023. The law bans most employer post-termination noncompete agreements with employees and independent contractors. Employers cannot restrict any employee or independent contractor from working for another employer for a specific period of time, working in a specific geographical area, or working for another employer in a capacity that is similar to the employee’s work for the current employer. Such covenants not to compete are void and unenforceable.

The law impacts agreements entered into on July 1, 2023, or later; it is not retroactive. It does not impact non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements or nondisclosure agreements, which continue to be enforceable.

There are two limited exceptions: 1) agreements entered into during the sale of a business that prohibit the seller from operating a similar business in a reasonable geographic area for a reasonable time period and 2) agreements entered into preceding the dissolution of a business that prevent partners, members, or shareholders from operating a similar business in a reasonable geographic area for a reasonable time period.

Employers may not require employees or independent contractors who primarily work and reside in Minnesota to agree to adjudicate noncompete claims in another state or to apply any other state’s laws to a noncompete agreement, as a condition of employment.

Individuals may be able to collect reasonable attorneys’ fees when enforcing their rights under the law.

How:

  • Review your noncompete agreements and clauses and consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the law.

Additional Resources:

Omnibus Jobs Bill SB 3035

Effective July 1, 2023: Minnesota Expands Nursing Mother’s Law

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective July 1, 2023

On May 24, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Omnibus Jobs Bill SF 3035, which provides additional protections for pregnant and lactating employees. The requirement to provide breaks for lactating employees is no longer limited to the 12-month period after the birth of a child. Lactation rooms must be clean, private, and secure. Employers may no longer deny employees paid lactation breaks by using the “unduly disrupts business operations” reason. Lactation breaks may run concurrently with existing break times, though it is no longer required that they do so.

The law adds pregnancy accommodation provisions, and the pregnancy accommodation rules now apply to employers with one or more employees. The provisions include temporary leaves of absence, a temporary transfer to a job that is less hazardous or strenuous, work schedule modifications, and longer or more frequent breaks.

Employers must inform an employee of their rights upon hire and at the time an employee requests a parental leave. The notice must be in the employee’s primary language.

How:

  • Post the Minnesota Nursing Mothers, Lactating Employees, and Pregnancy Accommodations Employee Notice. (Monitor for release of the poster in languages other than English.)
  • Review your accommodation policies and practices for pregnant and lactating employees and nursing mothers and update them as needed to comply with the law.

Additional Resources:

Omnibus Jobs Bill SB 3035

Minn. Stat. § 181.939

Minnesota Nursing Mothers, Lactating Employees, and Pregnancy Accommodations Employee Notice

Pregnant Workers and New Parents

Effective August 1, 2023: Minnesota Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective August 1, 2023

On May 30, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, set to go into effect August 1, 2023. Minnesota residents 21 years of age and older may possess up to two ounces of cannabis and transport it in public. At home, they may legally possess up to two pounds of cannabis.

The amended Minnesota Consumable Products Act (CPA) protects all employees’ off-duty use of cannabis. Employers may prohibit the use of cannabis at work and can take adverse employment action against employees or applicants who use, possess, sell, or transfer cannabis while at work, are impaired at work, or test positive for cannabis.

In terms of employer testing for cannabis use, there are two classes of employees. The first class is exempted from the CPA testing rules and remains subject to the same rules as before, under Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA). This group includes:

  • Safety-sensitive positions;
  • Peace officers and firefighters;
  • Positions requiring face-to-face care, training, education, supervision, counseling, consultation, or medical assistance to children, vulnerable adults, or healthcare patients;
  • Positions requiring a commercial driver’s license or subject to federal or state motor vehicle regulations requiring testing;
  • Positions funded by a federal grant; and
  • Positions for which state or federal law requires cannabis testing.

The second class consists of all positions that are not in the first group. Employers are prohibited from testing any employee in this class for the sole purpose of determining the presence or absence of cannabis. They may conduct reasonable suspicion cannabis testing as defined in the statute. The change applies to cannabis testing only; testing for other substances remains subject to DATWA.

DATWA requires employers to offer rehabilitation the first time an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol.

How:

  • Consult with legal counsel to update your cannabis use and drug-testing policies.
  • Share your updated policies with your employees.

Additional Resources:

HF 100

Effective July 1, 2023: Bloomington, Minnesota Adopts Sick Leave Law

Who: Employers with workers in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota

When: Effective July 1, 2023

The city of Bloomington, Minnesota passed the Earned Sick and Safe Leave (ESSL) Ordinance on March 31, 2023, effective July 1, 2023, and posted initial rules that provide additional guidance to employers. Employers must provide up to 48 hours of sick and safe leave for all covered employees that work in Bloomington (no matter where the company headquarters is). Covered employees are those that have worked at least 80 hours in a calendar year for an employer, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

Employers with five or more employees must provide paid ESSL. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide ESSL, though it can be unpaid.

Reasons an employee can take ESSL include:

  • Mental or physical health needs;
  • Closure of the employee’s business by order of a public official;
  • Care for a family member with mental or health needs;
  • Death of a family member;
  • School and daycare closure (e.g., snow day);
  • Reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or the employee’s family member; and
  • All tangentially related issues.

Employees accrue one hour of ESSL for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. The rules specify that an employee can accrue time in fractions of an hour and can carry over leave to the following year, up to 80 hours. The employee can use ESSL on the 91st day following the start of their employment, but an employer may opt to let them use it sooner.

Employers that have an existing PTO plan can use those hours to fulfill the requirements of this law, as long as it is equivalent to or better than the ordinance. Employees retain their right to ESSL for 120 days after termination and get their time back if rehired within 120 days.

Employers must give employees a statement at the end of each pay period that shows the number of ESSL hours the employee has earned and how many ESSL hours are unused.

The rules also clarify how employers must track employees’ work time. Employers may reasonably estimate the amount of time the employee spends working in the city by using employee logs, dispatch logs, estimated travel time, or delivery addresses as supporting documentation.

The Bloomington City Attorney’s Office will enforce the law. Fines for violations include but are not limited to reinstatement and back pay; double damages or $250 (whichever is greater); an administrative fine of up to $1,000, and a civil fine of $250 to $1,000 for a first offense.

How:

  • Post the Bloomington Minnesota Notice of Employee Rights in English and any language spoken by 5% or more of your employees.
  • Review and update your employee handbook, orientation materials, and sick leave policies to comply with the law.
  • Retain records for at least three years.
  • Train HR personnel and supervisory and managerial employees on the law.

Additional Resources:

ORDINANCE NO. 2022-31

Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Initial Rules

Bloomington Minnesota Earned Safe and Sick Leave FAQs

Earned Sick and Safe Leave Notice of Employee Rights

Bloomington Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Leave (ESSL)

Effective Immediately: Minnesota Passes CROWN Act

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective immediately

On January 31, 2023, Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz signed the CROWN Act into law. CROWN stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” The law prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hair styles.

The Act amends the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) to define “race” as including “traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.” See the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Preventing Hair Discrimination Fact Sheet for more information.

How:

  • Update your employee handbooks, dress code policies, and anti-discrimination policies to comply with the law.
  • Train HR personnel and managers on the law.

Additional Resources:

House File (HF) 37

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Preventing Hair Discrimination Fact Sheet

Minnesota Legalizes THC Consumption

Who: Minnesota employers

When: Effective immediately

What: HF4065 was signed by the Governor Tim Walz signed HF 4065 into law on June 2, 2022, which legalizes consumption of “edible cannabinoid,” or edible tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The amount of THC is limited to five milligrams in one serving and no more than 50 milligrams in a package. Packages must be childproof and are limited to food and beverages. Consumption of marijuana remains illegal. As before, employers may not discriminate against those enrolled in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Registry.

In light of the new law, employers may have to reconsider their testing protocols for pre-employment testing. For random drug testing, the employee is allowed to provide a written explanation of a positive result, and the employer must consider the response on a case-by-case basis. The rules for reasonable-suspicion testing remain intact.

Employers may want to consider implementing a written reasonable-suspicion protocol for testing for marijuana, which could include checklists, interviews, and other documentation to ensure proper documentation of the reasons for the test.

How:

  • Update your drug-use and drug-testing policies and procedures to comply with the law.

Additional Resources:

HF 4065

Minnesota Expands Protections for Pregnant and Lactating Employees

Who:

  • Minnesota employers with 15 or more employees (pregnancy accommodations)
  • Minnesota employers (nursing mothers)

When: Effective January 1, 2022

What: Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz signed into law amendments that expand the provisions of the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), effective January 1, 2022. All employers must provide paid break time for nursing and lactating employees to express milk during the work day. The child must be less than 12 months old for the Act to apply. The amended law removes the requirement for the employee to work a certain average number of hours per week in order to qualify for protection under the statute.

Employers can ask employees to express milk during their regularly scheduled breaks. Employers may not reduce compensation for time used to express milk, even in cases when the employee takes more breaks than scheduled.

In addition, employers with 15 or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for health conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth if an employee requests it (unless it results in undue hardship for the employer). A doctor’s note is not required for certain requests, including the request not to lift more than 20 pounds and requests for more frequent breaks for water, food, and restroom visits.

If an employee makes a request for accommodation and an employer suggests a different accommodation, the employer may not force the employee to take the alternate accommodation. Discrimination based on pregnancy is prohibited regardless of the size of employer.

How:

  • Update your policies and employee handbook to ensure compliance with the amended law.
  • Train HR personnel and managers on the provisions of the law.

Additional Resources:

SB 9

Women’s Economic Security Act FAQs

Pregnant Workers and New Parents

Effective Immediately: Minnesota OSHA Suspends the Federal OSHA ETS

Who: Minnesota employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: Following the January 13 United States Supreme Court decision to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, the Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) has suspended its enforcement of the ETS. MNOSHA continues to encourage employers to implement the ETS to ensure employee safety at the workplace.

Previously, the ETS required employees of large employers (100 or more employees) to administer a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy among employees, with an exception for those employees who chose to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.

The emergency temporary standard expired in Minnesota on Jan. 19, 2022.

How:

Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

Minnesota State Register

Minnesota Safety and Health at Work

Missouri

Effective Immediately: Missouri Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Who: Missouri employers

When: Effective immediately

Missouri voters legalized recreational marijuana when they passed Amendment 3, effective December 8, 2022. Persons 21 years of age or older may now legally possess and purchase up to three ounces of marijuana. Under certain circumstances, persons who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses will have the opportunity to have their records expunged.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating with regard to hiring, firing, or any term or condition of employment against an employee solely on the basis of possession of a medical marijuana card. Discrimination is also prohibited on the basis of legal use of marijuana off-premises or testing positive for marijuana (unless the employee violated the employer’s drug-free policies while at work). There are exceptions to the discrimination policy when it would result in the employer’s loss of a monetary or license-related benefit under federal law.

Employers may implement or continue to enforce a drug-free workplace policy and may drug test for marijuana impairment. If the employer prohibits the possession or use of marijuana on the job, or being under the influence while on the job, the employer may take adverse employment action for such infractions. Further, the employer may take adverse employment action if marijuana use affects the employee’s ability to perform their job responsibilities safely, if such use affects the safety of others, or such use conflicts with a bona fide occupational qualification.

How:

  • Review and update workplace drug-use policies to comply with the law.
  • Train HR personnel, managers, and supervisors on how to recognize symptoms of impairment, how to document their observations, and how to handle employees who are working under the influence of marijuana.

Additional Resources:

Amendment 3

Missouri Amendment 3, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2022)

Ohio

Effective July 6, 2022: Ohio Amends Collective Action and Overtime Exemptions

Who: Ohio employers

When: Effective July 6, 2022

What: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 47 on April 6, 2022, which updates the Ohio Revised Code Section 4111.031 and aligns the state’s overtime law with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The law becomes effective July 6, 2022. Employers are limited in providing overtime pay for certain work-related tasks completed outside of work hours. The new law adopts Sections 2 and 4 of the Portal to Portal Act of 1947, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Employers are not required to pay overtime for:

  • Commuting to and from the place where the employee performs the principal activity or activities they were hired to do;
  • Performing activities for insignificant (i.e., de minimis) amounts of time past scheduled working hours; or
  • Performing activities that are preliminary to or postliminary to the principal activity or activities.

These exclusions do not apply if the employee performs the activity:

  • During the employee’s regular workday or during prescribed hours;
  • At the specific direction of the employer;
  • Pursuant to an express provision of a contract in effect at the time the employee performed the activity; or
  • Pursuant to a custom or practice, not inconsistent with a contract, in effect at the time the employee performed the activity.

O.R.C. § 4111.10(C) also requires employees to “opt in” to join class and collective actions for overtime wages. The employee must provide written consent to become a party to the action and file it in the court where the suit is being tried.

How:

  • Review your wage and hour policies and practices and revise as needed to comply with the law.

Additional Resources:

SB 47

Effective June 13, 2022: Ohio Allows Concealed Carry without Permit

Who: Ohio employers

When: Effective June 13, 2022

What: On March 2, 2022, Ohio passed SB 215—a law that permits all qualified resident adults aged 21 years or older to carry concealed, nonrestricted firearms without a license. The law is effective on June 13, 2022. It also specifies that a qualified person who is stopped for a law enforcement purpose does not need to notify the officer about the firearm, though they must disclose the fact if asked.

The law allows employers to have or put in place policies prohibiting guns in employer-owned buildings and vehicles. Employers can’t prevent an employee from carrying a gun in their own personal vehicle, as long as they are doing so in accordance with Ohio’s “parking lot law.” Since concealed carry permits are no longer required for qualified individuals, employers may need to update the language in their existing policies.

How:

  • Create or update your firearms policies to comply with the new law.

Additional Resources:

SB 215

Due by June 30, 2022: Ohio Manager Training Requirements Due

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation requires employers that have an employee claim within the “green year period” to have managers take 2 hours of safety training.

What is the “green year period?”

This term is used for the time period when an employer has experienced a workers’ compensation claim. This month’s training deadline is specifically for any workers’ compensation claims that occurred during the time between July 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020.

What’s the deadline?

The deadline for private employers is fast approaching.

  • Managers for private employers must complete the training from July 1-June 30.
  • Managers for public employers must complete the training from January 1-December 31.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has approved 6 KPA courses as meeting the above requirements. Those include:

  • Eye and Face Protection for Management, 30 minutes
  • Fire Prevention, 15-20 minutes
  • Hazard Communication for Managers, 10-15 minutes
  • Planning for Workplace Emergencies, 15-20 minutes
  • Personal Protective Equipment for Management, 45 minutes
  • Supervisor and Manager Safety: Incident Investigations, 15 minutes

These courses must be taken consecutively, on the same day. If you’ve already taken one of these compliance trainings, you will need to retake it.

Effective Immediately: Ohio Updates Regulations for Workshops and Factories

Who: Businesses subject to Administrative Code 4123:1 for Workshops and Factories 

When: Effective Immediately 

What: The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation updated several provisions that took effect February 1, 2022, within the code for factories and workshops. Among those changes: 

Revised Definitions for the following words and phrases: approved; blasting agent; floor hole; floor; opening; ladder; side-rolling ladder; pinch, nip, or shear point; presence sensing device; sweep device. 

Guarding Floor, Wall Openings, and Holes  

  • Floor opening 4 feet or more above a lower level must be guarded by covers, guardrail systems, travel restraint systems, or personal fall arrest systems.  
  • Floor holes, where an employee could accidentally walk into, must be guarded by a standard guardrail system; fixed, hinged floor hole cover; travel restraint systems; or personal fall arrest systems.  
  • Wall openings must be guarded by standard railings and toeboards, doors or gates or substantial screens that extend to a minimum height of 42 inches (plus or minus 3 inches) measured from the floor or platform. If the wall opening prevents the installation of a guard railing, the top rail must not be more than 10 inches below the top of the wall opening 
  • Standard guard railings must have a top rail no less than 42 inches, plus or minus 3 inches above the working level. The top rail must be at least 1½ inches normal diameter pipe or 2 by 2 by ⅜ inches, plus or minus 3 inches above the working level 
  • The handrail height must be measured to no more than 38 inches in height and measured from the leading edge of the stair tread to the top surface of the handrail.  

Ladders and Scaffolds 

Sizing changes to rungs, steps, and treads: 

  • Ladders must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load, except for extra-heavy-duty type one “A” metal or plastic ladders that must hold 3.3 times the maximum intended load. 
  • Manhole steps and ladders mortared or cast into walls or conical top sections: The live load should be a single concentrated load of 200 lbs. Rungs must be a uniform distance apart and the distance between rungs, cleats, and steps can’t exceed 12 inches. Individual rung ladders must be a design that doesn’t allow the foot to slide off the end. The minimum clear length of rungs or cleats is 16 inches 
  • Rungs and cleats: The distance between rungs, cleats, and steps must not exceed 12 inches and the minimum clear length of rungs or cleats is 16 inches. 
  • Swinging scaffolds must be no more than 36 inches wide overall. Three employees or less are allowed on a two-point suspension scaffold designed for a working load of 750 lbs. When 2 or more scaffolds are used, they can’t be bridged together unless they are designed for that purpose, the bridge connections are articulated, and the hoists are properly sized. If bridges aren’t used, platforms may be used only when they are the same height and are abutting. Standard guardrails and toeboards must be on all unprotected sides of swinging scaffolds when they are more than 10 feet off the ground. 

Hand Tools, Hand-Held Portable Powered Tools, Other Hand-Held Equipment and Portable Safety Containers 

  • A new subsection for vertical portable grinders was added, to include that “the maximum angular exposure of the grinding wheel periphery and sides for safety guards used on other portable grinders shall not exceed one hundred eighty degrees and the top half of the wheel shall be enclosed at all times.” 
  • Woodworking tools must be “equipped with a constant pressure switch or control that will shut off the power when the pressure is released.” 
  • Regulations now state that compressed air systems must have regulators that prevent them from exceeding the maximum design capacity. 

Mechanical Power Presses 

A new table was added to outline the distance of the opening from the point of operation hazard and maximum width opening in inches. 

Distance of opening from point of operation hazard (inches)  Maximum width of opening (inches) 
½ to 1½  ¼  
1½ to 3½    
2½ to 3½  ½ 
3½ to 5½   
5½ to 6½  ¾ 
6½ to 7½   
7½ to 12½  1¼  
12½ to 1½   
15½ to 17½  1  
17½ to 31½  2 

 

Forging Machines, Other Power Machines, Machine Tools, Hydraulic and Pneumatic Presses, and Power Press Brakes 

A new table was added to the code that shows the strength and dimensions for wood ram props: 

Size of timber inches (1)  Square inches in cross section  Min. allowable crushing strength parallel to grain p.s.i. (2)  Max. static load within short column range (3)  Safety factor  Max. recommended weight of forging hammer for timber used  Max. allowable length of timber, inches 
4×4  16  5,000  80,000  10  8,000  44 
6×6  36  5,000  180,000  10  18,000  66 
8×8  64  5,000  320,000  10  32,000  88 
10×10  100  5,000  500,000  10  50,000  100 
12×12  144  5,000  720,000  10  72,000  132 

 

Abrasive Grinding and Cutting, Polishing, and Wire Buffing Equipment 

New language was added about the angular exposure of the grinding wheel periphery and sides for safety guards used on bench and floor stands. The angle must not exceed 90 degrees or ¼ of the periphery. This exposure shall begin at a point not more than 65 degrees above the horizontal plane of the wheel spindle. 

Personal Protective Equipment 

Face shields are now considered secondary protection that should only be used alongside primary protection like safety goggles or spectacles. Some language was changed like swapping “headgear” for “head protection” and “ear protection” for “hearing protection.” 

Confined Spaces 

Air sampling in confined spaces now states that “Air sampling shall be performed by qualified, trained personnel prior to and periodically during occupancy to determine that the atmosphere within the confined space contains an adequate concentration of oxygen (minimum of 19.5% to a maximum of 23.5%), and any known or expected harmful atmospheric contaminants have been reduced to safe concentrations.” 

Next Steps 

  • Review what equipment you’re currently using on worksites as described above.  
  • Conduct equipment inspections based on the changes. 

 Additional Resources  

Ohio Administrative Code 

Wisconsin

Effective Immediately: Wisconsin Says Employers May Determine if Domestic Violence Crimes Relate to Job

Who: Wisconsin employers

When: Effective immediately

What: Under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees based on their arrest and conviction records unless the crime is “substantially related” to the circumstances of a particular job. In the past, the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) had specifically prevented employers from considering domestic violence crimes in their assessment of an applicant’s or employee’s crimes as related to the circumstances of the job. The agency said that domestic violence occurred in the home, was based on the existence of a close personal relationship with the victim, and did not apply to a job setting.

On March 10, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court published their opinion in a case where they ruled against LIRC. As a result, employers may now include domestic violence crimes in determining said crimes being “substantially related” to the job when taking adverse employment action against the offender.

  • The Court’s majority decision was based on several factors, including:
  • Opportunities available for the abuser to isolate a victim in the workplace setting;
  • Propensity of the offender to use violence against others;
  • Relationship between the offenses committed and their relationship to the job in question;
  • Absence of regular supervision on the job;
  • Seriousness of the crimes committed;
  • Recency of the convictions; and
  • Likelihood of recidivism based on a pattern of violence over several convictions.

How:

  • Update your policies, HR manual, and employee handbook if needed to allow for the consideration of domestic violence crimes in the process you use to determine if an employee’s or applicant’s crimes are substantially related to their job.

Additional Resources:

Cree Inc. versus the Labor and Industry Review Commission (Ruling)

Effective Immediately: Wisconsin COVID Testing is Not Paid by Employers

Who: Wisconsin employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On November 9th, 2021, a clarification regarding Wisconsin State Legislature Stat. section 103.37 was announced, confirming that Wisconsin employers are not required to pay for testing for employees if the testing is done in lieu of receiving the vaccination against COVID-19.

Wisconsin statute 103.37 states, “No employer may require any employee or applicant for employment to pay the cost of a medical examination required by the employer as a condition of employment.”

Neither OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard nor the Interim Final Rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services require employers to pay for COVID-19 testing for their employees.

How:

  • Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.
  • Consult with legal professionals as to how this statute interpretation could affect your COVID-19 safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

Wis. Stat. section 103.37

Wisconsin Department of Health

Wisconsin COVID-19 Coronavirus Information

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