New Massachusetts Law Limits Certain Criminal History Inquiries

Massachusetts has limited certain inquiries into criminal history.

Restricted Information
Among other things, employers with 6 or more employees are generally prohibited from requesting any information or using any job application to request a person’s:

  • Sealed or expunged criminal record; or
  • Misdemeanor conviction where the date of the conviction or completion of any period of resulting incarceration, whichever date is later, occurred 3 or more years (a change from 5 or more years) before the date of the job application or request.

These provisions are effective October 13, 2018Click here to read the law.

Posted by HR360

An updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) will go into effect on July 1, 2018

In 1945, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass an equal pay law. But the gender pay gap persists in Massachusetts and across the country.  In Massachusetts, on average, women working full time earn only 84.3% of what men earn. The gap is even larger for some women of color.

On July 1, 2018, an updated equal pay law will go into effect in Massachusetts, providing more clarity as to what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination and adding protections to ensure greater fairness and equity in the workplace. The statute, Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2016An Act to Establish Pay Equity, amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 105A (“MEPA”).

MEPA generally provides that “No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, or pay any person in its employ a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work.” The law defines “comparable work” as work that requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.

MEPA permits differences in pay for comparable work only when based upon:

  1. a system that rewards seniority with the employer (provided, however, that time spent on leave due to a pregnancy-related condition and protected parental, family and medical leave, shall not reduce seniority);
  2. a merit system;
  3. a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales, or revenue;
  4. the geographic location in which a job is performed;
  5. education, training or experience to the extent such factors are reasonably related to the particular job in question; or
  6. travel, if the travel is a regular and necessary condition of the particular job.

Importantly, MEPA makes clear that employees’ salary histories are not a defense to liability. Moreover, an intent to discriminate based on gender is not required to establish liability under the law.

Massachusetts has issued new guidance regarding its amended equal pay law. An outline of the guidance is presented below.

New Guidance 
The new guidance contains information on the following topics:

  • Covered employers and employees
  • Definitions of key terms (e.g., “comparable work” and “wages”)
  • Permissible variations in pay
  • The prohibition against restricting employees’ wage discussions
  • The prohibition against seeking salary history information
  • A checklist and guide for employers to assess compliance with the law

Click here to read the guidance. Additional resources, including a fact sheet and pay calculation tool, are also available.

NOTE ON POSTING REQUIREMENT: At this moment, the state has not required or published a poster or posting requirement.

Background 
Employers are generally prohibited from discriminating in any way based on gender in the payment of wages, or from paying a person a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work. However, variations in wages are generally not prohibited if based upon certain factors.

The law also generally prohibits employers from requiring that an employee refrain from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing his or her own wages or another employee’s wages, and from seeking the wage or salary history from a prospective employee or a current or former employer.

The amended law, which takes effect July 1, 2018, contains additional details and prohibitions. Employers may also wish to view the state’s equal pay provisions that are in effect prior to July 1, 2018.

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect April 1, 2018

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act amends the current statute prohibiting discrimination in employment, G.L. c. 151B, §4, enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

The Act, effective on April 1, 2018, expressly prohibits employment discrimination on the
basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child. It also describes employers’ obligations to employees that are pregnant or lactating and the protections these employees are entitled to receive. Generally, employers may not treat employees or job applicants less favorably than other employees based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions and have an obligation to accommodate pregnant workers.

Under the Act:

  • Upon request for an accommodation, the employer has an obligation to communicate with the employee in order to determine a reasonable accommodation for the pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. This is called an “interactive process,” and it must be done in good faith. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment that allows the employee or job applicant to perform the essential functions of the job while pregnant or experiencing a pregnancy-related condition, without undue hardship to the employer.
  • An employer must accommodate conditions related to pregnancy, including post-pregnancy conditions such as the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the employer. “Undue hardship” means that providing the accommodation would cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.
  • An employer cannot require a pregnant employee to accept a particular accommodation, or to begin disability or parental leave if another reasonable accommodation would enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job without undue hardship to the employer.
  • An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant job applicant or applicant with a pregnancy-related condition, because of the pregnancy or the pregnancy-related condition, if an applicant is capable of performing the essential functions of the position with a reasonable accommodation.
  • An employer cannot deny an employment opportunity or take adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s request for or use of a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition.
  • An employer cannot require medical documentation about the need for an accommodation if the accommodation requested is for: (i) more frequent restroom, food or water breaks; (ii) seating; (iii) limits on lifting no more than 20 pounds; and (iv) private, non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk. An employer, may, owever, request medical documentation for other accommodations.
  • Employers must provide written notice to employees of the right to be free from discrimination due to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy, including the right to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy, in a handbook, pamphlet, or other means of notice no later than April 1, 2018.
  • Employers must also provide written notice of employees’ rights under the Act: (1) to new employees at or prior to the start of employment; and (2) to an employee who notifies the employer of a pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, no more than 10 days after such notification.

As of today, there has not been any mandatory posters associated with this update that will be included in our posters. All in One Poster Company will continued to monitor this labor law update.

The foregoing is a synopsis of the requirements under the Act, and both employees and employers are encouraged to read the full text of the law available on the General Court’s website here:
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2017/Chapter54.

If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, you may file a formal complaint with the MCAD. You may also have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if the conduct violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both agencies require the formal complaint to be filed within 300 days of the discriminatory act.

Originally published by MCAD

Massachusetts: Large Employers Must Provide Paid Leave for Veterans on Veterans Day

Employees Must Give Reasonable Notice for Paid Leave

Effective as of July 14, 2016, a new law in Massachusetts requires private employers with 50 or more employees to provide paid leave to any veteran desiring to participate in a Veterans Day exercise, parade, or service in his or her community of residence.

Eligibility and Pay Requirements
Under existing law, Massachusetts employers must grant a leave of absence of sufficient time to allow an employee to participate in such services in his or her community of residence on Veterans Day or Memorial Day to an employee who is:

  • A veteran (as that term is defined under Massachusetts law) or a member of a department of war veteran (as listed in Massachusetts law); and
  • Participates in a Veterans Day or Memorial Day exercise, parade, or service.

Such leave may be with or without pay at the discretion of the employer.However, under the new law, employers with 50 or more employees must grant the leave of absence on Veterans Day with pay if the employee provides reasonable notice for such leave.

Exception
Under the law, an employer is not required to grant a leave of absence to an employee to participate in such services, on either a paid or unpaid basis, if the services of the employee are essential and critical to the public health or safety and determined to be essential to the safety and security of each such employer or its property.

Click here to read the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Massachusetts Prohibits Gender Identity Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation

Law Effective October 1, 2016

A new law in Massachusetts, effective October 1, 2016, extendsprotections against gender identity discrimination to any place of public accommodation.

The new law provides that an owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement that lawfully segregates or separates access to such place of public accommodation (or a portion of such place) based on a person’s sex, must grant all persons admission to—and the full enjoyment of—such place of public accommodation (or portion of such place) consistent with the person’s gender identity.

Note: The new law specifically gives transgender people the right to userestrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identities.

Click here to read the text of the law. For more information on Massachusetts Law about gender identity or expression, please click here.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Updated 2016 Massachusetts Labor Law Poster

STAY IN COMPLIANCE!

The state of Massachusetts just updated their a wage and hour postMassachusetts-Federal-Combo-Labor-Law-Poster-Englisher which reflects thew rate of $10 an hour taking effect January 1, 2016. New information regarding for Earned Income Credit, Non-Discrimination and Equal Pay was also added to the revised poster. In addition, there have been a few other changes to the poster this year such as the Unemployment Insurance Coverage, Fair Employment and new Parental leave have been updated. All of this updates is included in our 2016 poster!

You may place your order directly online, or click to download the 2016 Order Form which you may return to us via email, postal mail, or fax at (714) 521-7728. For more information, you may contact us at (800) 273-0307 or send us an email at sales@allinoneposters.com, our knowledgeable Customer Service Team will readily assist you.