Employment Law Update
A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah women are paid significantly lower amounts than Utah men. You can read that article here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/53924753-79/women-paid-gap-cents.html.csp. Such statistics can only bring the attention of regulators to Utah and that attention will pose risks to Utah employers with wage gaps in their own payrolls. Numerous federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination based on gender. The federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) also prohibits gender discrimination in wages paid for equal work. You can read a summary of the Equal Pay Act here: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/index.cfm.
Prudent employers will audit their pay practices from time to time to ensure that there are legitimate business reasons for such wage differences and that they can be justified under the criteria outlined under the applicable laws. A recent court ruling on the EPA reminds us that the employer has the burden of proving that the factors identified actually account for the wage differences at issue in a case.
California Court Issues Major Meal and Rest Ruling
The California Supreme Court has issued a major ruling interpreting that state’s complex laws on when meals and breaks must be provided to employees. You can read a very helpful article about the ruling here: http://www.seyfarth.com/publications/ma041212a.
Computer Statute Limited to Hackers, not Employees
A federal appeals court has taken away from employers a tool that some companies have been using against employees who misuse computer information- the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The court recently ruled that the CFAA applies only to hackers, not to employees who violate a company’s computer use policies. The case involved claims against a former employee who allegedly conspired with other employees to use their pass codes to obtain information from the company’s confidential database and to use it in a competing business.
GINA and Employer Records
The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) prohibits employers from discriminating based on genetic information and from gathering such information about an employee and/or his/her family member. The agency that enforces GINA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently determined that the recordkeeping requirements under GINA will be the same as under comparable federal laws prohibiting discrimination. You can find an article discussing the specifics of these requirements here: http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/ginarecordkeeping.aspx.
Quick Employment Law Updates
Michael Patrick O'Brien is an employment attorney with Utah law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough (www.joneswaldo.com). He also serves as the Legal and Legislative Director for Utah’s Society for Human Resource Management chapter. Contact him at 801-534-7315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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