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With passions running strong on both sides, last month’s midterm election marked the highest voter turnout for a midterm since 1966. But with much attention focused on the House and Senate results, as well as—yet again–voting machine issues in Florida, several notable state ballot initiatives may have flown under your radar.

On a recent podcast, my XpertHR colleague Beth Zoller and I explore the election’s aftermath as we focus on several measures that voters approved involving transgender rights, minimum wage hikes and marijuana legalization laws. These initiatives did not all attract nationwide headlines, but they are part of broader trends that may well appear elsewhere on a 2020 ballot near you.

Key topics of discussion include:

  • Expanded transgender rights in Massachusetts;
  • Minimum wage increases in Arkansas and Missouri;
  • Recreational marijuana legalization in Michigan; and
  • Medical marijuana legalization in Missouri and Utah.

Massachusetts Leads the Way

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage and is one of 20 states with laws or court rulings protecting transgender rights. But its November vote was the first statewide referendum in the nation to uphold a state law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations, and voters soundly rejected efforts to repeal the measure.

The restroom use issue has become a vexing one for employers as a few states have gone the other way and sought to protect the sincerely-held religious beliefs of employees, including the belief that an individual’s sex is determined at birth. But it still remains critical for employers to provide a safe workplace for transgender employees.

Minimum Wage Again on the Rise

OK, it’s not exactly on the rise at the federal level where the minimum wage has remained frozen at $7.25 since July 2009, and seems destined to have a “10th Anniversary” at that level. But numerous states continue to take matters into their own hands. And it’s not just the blue states either.

This year, voters in Arkansas and Missouri voted convincingly in favor of increases in those states. Arkansas voters approved a ballot initiative that will gradually increase its minimum wage from its current $8.50 to:

  • $9.25 on January 1, 2019;
  • $10.00 on January 1, 2020; and
  • $11.00 on January 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, voters in the Show Me State approved steady increases, which eventually will go even higher and will represent a jump from its current floor of $7.85 to:

  • $8.60 on January 1, 2019;
  • $9.45 on January 1, 2020;
  • $10.30 on January 1, 2021;
  • $11.00 on January 1, 2022; and
  • $12.00 on January 1, 2023, with annual inflation adjustments thereafter.

The Missouri ballot measure also increased the penalty for failing to pay employees the minimum wage. During the past 20 years, every statewide initiative to raise the minimum wage has been approved. And XpertHR’s Michael Cardman notes that preparations are well underway in Florida, Nevada and North Dakota to place ballot initiatives before the voters in those states in 2020.

Legalizing Medical and Recreational Marijuana

Also in November, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana and the 10th overall. North Dakota voters rejected a similar measure. A pending bill in Michigan would require judges to expunge the records of individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.

But as is the case in other states to have legalized the drug, Michigan employers remain free to maintain zero-tolerance drug policies for their employees.

As for medical marijuana, the list of states that have legalized its use either through legislative or ballot initiatives has now grown to 33 after voters approved measures in Missouri and Utah.

Notable Firsts

Finally, there were several notable firsts in the recent election that represented landmark developments, including the:

  • First openly bisexual US senator (Kyrsten Sinema, AZ);
  • First openly gay US governor to be elected (Jared Polis);
  • First Native American women elected to Congress (KS and NM); and the
  • Reelection of the nation’s first bisexual governor (Kate Brown, OR).

For more details about what the 2018 ballot initiatives mean for employers, listen in to our XpertHR podcast.

The post Host of 2018 Midterm Ballot Initiatives Will Impact the Workplace appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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While a workplace holiday get together may be a good idea to thank employees for a job well done and encourage camaraderie and good cheer, a festive celebration may carry a number of risks from employers. From potential harassment claims to religious discrimination to the increased risk of drinking and driving, an employer must be careful and take specific precautions in order to protect itself. When planning a workplace holiday celebration keep these tips in mind.

Notify Employees that All Workplace Polices Are in Place

It is important for employers and supervisors to recognize that even though the holiday celebration may be outside of working hours or off the employer’s premises, all of the employer’s policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation as well as those regarding employee dating and relationships, employee conduct and dress codes remain in effect.

Given the #MeToo era and the increasing number of harassment lawsuits, employers must be especially cautious about employee behavior and warn everyone about inappropriate conduct. What seems perfectly acceptable to one individual may be misinterpreted by another and very quickly escalate into a harassment claim. Everyone should be on their best behavior and engage in conduct that is proper and professional.

Make Sure Supervisors Set a Good Example

Supervisors should set a good example for the rest of the workforce by making sure to enforce the employer’s policies. Special attention should be paid to sexual harassment which may be more prevalent in a relaxed social atmosphere. Train management and supervisors to identify instances of inappropriate conduct and report this misconduct to HR, or the employer, so that violations may be addressed.

Supervisors also should stress to their team at all times that this is a work event, and employees should behave accordingly.

Be Careful with Alcohol and Substance Abuse

If an employer decides to serve or permit alcohol it is critical to take the appropriate precautions and monitor intake so employees do not become too intoxicated. It is best practice to designate a management employee to carefully watch employees and make sure they act appropriately.

Providing drink tickets and limiting the number of drinks is another option. Additionally, any employee who attempts to drive must be completely sober. If an intoxicated employees leave the party and has an accident, injuring themselves or a third party or property, the employer may be on the hook for negligence. To minimize risk, it may be a good idea to host an afternoon affair, a party not on a Friday night or host the event at an alternative venue, such as an ice skating rink, where employees are less likely to drink heavily.

Additionally, as more and more states legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, an employer should clearly communicate that use of marijuana or any other controlled substance while at a work-related holiday celebration is strictly prohibited as it may endanger employee safety and impair judgment.

Do Not Focus on Religion

When planning any holiday celebration, keep the tone light and festive and avoid overly religious symbols such as Christmas trees, nativity scenes and mistletoe when it comes to party decorations as well as overly religious music as this may lead to a religious discrimination or harassment claim. It is best to use non-religious winter symbols such as snowflakes, snowmen and sleds to ensure that all employees feel comfortable. It may also be a good idea to engage in team building activities that can mix it up and build camaraderie among different individuals who may not normally socialize.

Make Sure Attendance Is Not Required

For wage and hour purposes, employees should not be required to attend a company’s holiday party. Some employees may not want to attend for religious reasons or family reasons and the employer must accept this. Others may not be interested in socializing with co-workers, and this should not be held against them.

Mandatory attendance may also be risky and lead to wage and hour claims from employees who are non-exempt and may claim they are entitled to overtime. It is therefore a good idea to hold the party outside of working hours so it does not impact workplace obligations and overtime issues are avoided.

Be Inclusive of All Employees

When celebrating the holidays, an employer should take the individual needs and concerns of all employees into account. This includes the dietary and allergy needs of employees who may need to be provided with vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free foods.

Activities, entertainment and music should be appropriate and festive and not offensive. If an employer invites spouses or significant others, understand that some employees may have a same-sex spouse or significant other. An employer should also consider including everyone in the celebration including gig workers, independent contractors and remote employees. Make sure to thank everyone for a job well done and express gratitude for their contributions.

Handle Complaints in a Timely manner

Finally, if the employer knows or should know of any complaints that arise at a holiday party, it should address them in a timely manner. Once on notice, the employer has a legal duty to follow up on any inappropriate conduct and document the complaint. The employer may also want to consider initiating an investigation and imposing interim or disciplinary measures if warranted.

The post Holiday Party Hazards for Employers to Avoid appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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While a physical wellness program is not a new concept to most employers, a growing number are taking wellness a step further and offering financial wellness benefits, such as providing access to retirement planning advice.

According to a Prudential survey on employee benefits, many employers are embracing the financial wellness benefits trend with 83% of those surveyed currently offering financial wellness programs, and 14% planning to offer them in the next year or two. The surveyed employers did vary on the types of workers they offer such programs, with 26% only offering them to full-time employees, 27% also including part-time employees and 30% including contractors.

So why are financial wellness benefits important? Financial stress can have a huge impact on an employee’s emotional, physical and mental well-being, and offering programs designed to help employees with their finances can have a significant effect on their lives.

Many employees worry about their finances and consider financial issues to be a big source of stress. Such stress can lead to increased absenteeism, lower productivity, being distracted at work, and even negative effects on employee health. In fact, more than half of the participants in an Earnin survey said they had delayed health care treatment in the prior 12 months because they couldn’t afford it.

Financial Benefits Offerings

Addressing employees’ financial issues could greatly enhance employee well-being. Financial wellness benefits can aid employees in a variety of different ways, including helping them:

  • Manage their money;
  • Reduce financial stress;
  • Understand financial investing;
  • Make sure they are on track for retirement;
  • Deal with financial troubles;
  • Work toward meeting life financial goals; and
  • Be financially healthier overall.

Benefits that promote such employee financial wellness may include:

  • Financial education, counseling and/or training;
  • Retirement planning;
  • Debt counseling;
  • Student loan assistance;
  • Identity theft benefits; or
  • College savings programs.

The Multigenerational Workforce

One key to designing a successful financial wellness program in your workplace is addressing workplace diversity. Generational diversity in the workplace is at its highest level ever: five generations work alongside each other at organizations across the country. This means an organization’s workforce may have a very broad range of financial wellness needs.

Since what one employee would value in a financial wellness program may be completely different from the employee working in the next office, employers should try to provide an array of financial wellness benefits that are appreciated by members of various generations. Younger employees, for example, may want student loan forgiveness plans, while older employees may be looking for investment opportunities and help with retirement planning.

Student Loan Assistance

While financial wellness benefits as a whole have been a recent trend in the employee benefits arena, student loan assistance benefits have received even more media attention lately. Many surveys and studies have revealed that millennials and Generation Z are worried about student debt. This is undoubtedly because these generations are graduating with more debt than any other generation, and they are worried about their future financial well-being.

As a result, more employers are trying to ease this financial burden by offering student loan assistance as an employee benefit. There are a variety of different ways to structure such a program. For example, an employer may offer a certain dollar amount a year toward paying off student loans, along with a lifetime maximum amount. Others may offer a set monthly matching amount for payments employees make to their student loans.

Employer interest in student loan assistance will probably only continue to increase, especially after the IRS approved an employer’s proposed program to add a student loan benefit to its 401(k) plan earlier this year.

Employer Strategies

With the current jobseeker-friendly market, employers are facing many challenges when tasked with recruiting, hiring and retaining the best and the brightest employees. Due to the rise in interest in financial wellness benefits, an employer may want to review its organization’s current benefit offerings to determine how its employee benefits program aligns with this latest benefits trend.

An employer can then determine what, if any, financial wellness benefits it already offers and if there is anything it might want to consider adding in the future. When doing so, employers should consider the following:

  • Finding out what financial benefits their workforce values;
  • Ways to increase participation in financial wellness programs;
  • Incentivizing financial wellness programs;
  • Revolving financial benefits and learning around life events;
  • Including employee family members in financial benefits;
  • Considering different ways to educate various generations;
  • Personalizing financial wellness benefits; and
  • Engaging employees all year long.

Does your organization offer any financial wellness benefits? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

The post Financial Wellness Benefits: What Employers Need to Know appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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The 2018 midterm election was historic for individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). With significant victories on the state and local level, LGBT individuals are making inroads as shown by Colorado electing Jared Polis as the nation’s first openly gay governor and Kyrsten Sinema making history not only as Arizona’s first female senator, but the first-ever bisexual member of the US Senate.

Additionally, Massachusetts voters upheld a state law prohibiting discrimination based on transgender status in places of public accommodation via the first statewide referendum of its kind.

However, against this backdrop, the Trump administration has rolled back LGBT protections by arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect sexual orientation or gender identity, rescinding bias protections and aiming to protect religious liberty at the expense of LGBT rights.

This has been met with stern opposition by the business community. In fact, 56 major corporations have banded together in a Business Statement for Transgender Equality, opposing any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through the reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.

In doing so, business leaders noted that diversity and inclusion positively impacts an employer’s bottom line and increases productivity. Many have put those words into practice as more than 80% of Fortune 500 corporations have clear gender identity protections, two-thirds have transgender healthcare coverage and hundreds more have LGBT employee resource groups and diversity training programs.

What this boils down to is that having workplace policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on gender identity and sexual orientation is not only best practice, but it is good business sense. Here are eight measures an employer can take to ensure a workplace that is diverse, tolerant and respectful of all individuals including those who identify as LGBT.

1. Avoid Discrimination in Hiring

An employer must avoid discrimination during the recruiting and hiring process and make clear from the outset that it supports equality. Mixed messages may affect the employer’s bottom line and make it more difficult to attract the best talent.

Job titles, job descriptions and advertisements should be neutral and free of bias. Also, discriminatory questions on job applications and interviews should be avoided, and you should steer clear of questions which may lead to the disclosure of private information, such as asking about marital status or a spouse’s name. If an employer discovers that a candidate identifies as LGBT, it should keep these personal details private and confidential.

2. Provide Training

In order to achieve and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace, it is essential to provide training to all employees and supervisors. The training should focus on not only the employer’s antidiscrimination, harassment and retaliation policies with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity, but also on diversity and sensitivity training.

Employees and supervisors should be trained to avoid the use of stereotypes and slurs as well as refrain from using offensive language and jokes. It should be understood that the employer takes discrimination, harassment, retaliation and bullying of any kind against LGBT individuals seriously and the employer will not hesitate to investigate complaints and impose discipline if warranted.

3. Handle Restroom Issues with Care

An employer must be particularly careful when it comes to restrooms, locker rooms and other public facilities. All employees and third parties should be allowed to use the facility corresponding with their current gender identity regardless of the individual’s sex at birth.

Organizations may want to consider single-occupant gender neutral restrooms to provide increased privacy and comfort. Otherwise, an employer should consider installing additional privacy measure such as dividers and stall doors. If another employee is uncomfortable with an LGBT individual using a specific restroom, that employee should be allowed to use another facility.

4. Support Individuals Who Are Transitioning

It is critical to provide support and assistance to transgender individuals who are transitioning, and it is important that all issues are handled with the utmost privacy and sensitivity. The employer or HR should work closely with the individual to discuss how the following will be handled, including:

• The employee’s name change and the proper pronouns to use;
• Changing the employee’s records;
• The use of restrooms and locker rooms;
• Dress code compliance;
• Time off for surgery/treatment and doctor and therapist appointments; and
• Confidentiality and privacy issues.

HR and any supervisors with knowledge of the transition should work to keep the lines of communication open and display patience, respect and compassion while an individual deals with this personal, confidential and sensitive matter.

5. Engage in the Interactive Process Regarding Accommodations

Your organization should make clear that it will be receptive to providing workplace accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity if doing so would not create an undue hardship. Accommodations may include changes to dress or grooming codes, policies regarding hairstyles and makeup, employee name changes, and the use of restrooms and locker rooms.

It is essential to train supervisors to properly address such accommodation requests and engage in the interactive process with employees who request such accommodations.

6. Consider LGBT Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups or affinity groups geared toward LGBT individuals can help by providing an arena to share experiences and workplace challenges. Such measures can play a substantial role in increasing employee engagement, morale and retention and also creating a sense of community.

7. Review Benefits Packages

When providing benefits, it is important to make sure there are no gender-based exclusions and that the benefits package does not discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Same sex spouses or partners should be provided with equal benefits when it comes to health benefits, sick time, bereavement leave, FMLA and other leaves of absence. Family and medical leave policies should therefore include same-sex partners, adopted children and foster children when defining “family members.” Additionally, an employer may want to consider coverage for trans-medical care including surgeries, health care and supportive therapy.

8. Address Uncomfortable Co-Workers

An employer must be forthright and directly address any voiced concerns or complaints of uncomfortable co-workers with regard to LGBT individuals. Otherwise, such issues may escalate and increase the rise of harassment or hostile work environment claims.

While an employer may have a duty to accommodate religious beliefs and practices, it must never do so at the expense of another employee or in a way that results in discrimination. EEOC guidance provides that “supervisory or co-worker confusion or anxiety cannot justify discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.”

Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex whether motivated by hostility, by a desire to protect people of a certain gender, by gender stereotypes, or by the desire to accommodate other people’s prejudices or discomfort.” While an employer should be extremely sensitive to co-worker concerns, it should not favor the uncomfortable co-worker at the expense of an LGBT employee.

The post Making Workplaces More Colorful: 8 Ways to Support LGBT Workers appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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Veterans Day is a great reminder of the positive qualities and attributes veterans can bring to an organization as valuable employees. Beyond their experience, expertise, leadership and strong work ethic, veterans also bring creativity, dedication and resilience.

However, so many veterans still face challenging issues in the workplace, including discrimination and harassment based on disabilities and the denial of leave requests. So how can an employer continue to do right by veterans who have given so much of themselves to their country? Here are some helpful tips:

Develop and Enforce Strong EEO Policies

In order to protect veterans, it is essential for an employer to develop, implement and enforce strong Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies. These policies should protect those individuals currently serving in the military, as well as those who have previously served, from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), an employer is prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their military obligations. The law also requires employers to provide job protection and reinstatement rights to employees if they leave civilian jobs, voluntarily or involuntarily, to serve in the uniformed services, the reserve forces or a state National Guard. Similarly, various state and local laws also make veteran and military status a protected class and mirror USERRA’s requirements that an employer must make reasonable efforts to assist veterans in returning to employment.

An employer should maintain strong policies prohibiting disability discrimination as many veterans suffer from not only physical injuries and medical conditions including burns and loss of limbs, but also mental health conditions such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries and depression. If an employer must take adverse action against a veteran, it should have a legitimate business reason for doing so and make sure to maintain a contemporaneous record.

An employer should also take affirmative steps to minimize acts of hostility and harassment against veterans by curtailing heated workplace discussions regarding politics and the military that may escalate into a hostile work environment situation.

Maintain Leave Policies Protecting Veterans

It is important for an employer to provide veterans and those in the military with leave rights granted under USERRA and similar state and local laws requiring employers to provide leave and time off to veterans and potentially their family members. An employer should also recognize that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act contains family military leave provisions. Additionally, certain state laws provide veterans with time off for Veterans Day. In fact, recent changes have been made to leave laws affecting veterans in states such as Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Supervisors should know how to handle any and all leave requests and engage in meaningful conversations regarding the time off a veteran or his or her spouse may need for military service, to address medical issues or seek treatment.

Further, an employer should make sure to track requests for leave and time off and maintain comprehensive records. If for any reason, a leave request is denied, the employer should be sure to keep a record of this.

Provide Accommodations

Veterans who suffer from disabilities may be protected by federal, state and local laws. An employer should make sure that veterans who suffer from disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations if the individual is able to perform the essential function of the job and it would not create an undue hardship for the employer.
Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

• Physical changes to the workplace to accommodate a wheelchair;
• Modified equipment and devices to accommodate employees who are blind or deaf;
• Telecommuting;
• Modified or part-time work schedules; and
• Leave for medical treatment or recuperation.

An employer should make sure to train supervisors on how to handle a request for accommodations and to engage in the interactive process and a good faith discussion with an employee regarding the requested accommodation.

When considering whether a requested accommodation may result in an undue hardship, an employer may consider:

• The nature and cost of the accommodation;
• The overall financial resources of the employer;
• The overall size of the employer;
• The impact the requested accommodation may have on other employees; and
• The composition and structure of the employer’s workforce.

Any determination regarding a requested accommodation and whether it creates an undue hardship should be made on a case-by-case basis considering all facts and circumstances. An employer may request medical records documenting the need for an accommodation.

Further, be mindful that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) warns against maintaining policies that an employee must be at 100% capability to return to work because this may fail to consider an employee’s ability to perform the essential function of the job with a reasonable accommodation.

Hire More Veterans

An employer should be proactive when it comes  to hiring veterans as veterans can bring unique skills and experience into the workplace. An employer should consider targeted hiring and outreach to veterans’ organizations.

Moreover, an employer should be aware of the veterans preference laws that allow an employer to provide otherwise qualified veterans, and at times their spouses, with preferential hiring and sometimes preferences with regard to promotions and reductions in force. Such laws specifically state that implementing a policy preferring veterans does not violate state or local equal employment opportunity laws. An employer should be sure to consult state law when it comes to veteran’s preference policies.

An employer should also be aware that the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires certain federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative actions to hire and promote veterans. An employer subject to this law must report hiring efforts and establish affirmative action plans addressing veteran employment and providing priority to covered and eligible veterans.

Create Onboarding Programs Geared Toward Veterans

An employer may want to consider creating an onboarding program specifically geared toward veterans and helping them navigate a civilian organization. The structure of a corporation is often very different from the structure of the military, and veterans may need additional support.

Veterans should be introduced to an organization’s policies and procedures as well as cultural norms, values, communication styles and work expectations. Additionally, an employer should make sure to educate managers and supervisors on military culture and how to interact with, communicate with and manage veterans and members of the military.

Initiate Employee Resource Groups for Veterans

In order to make sure that all veteran and military employees feel part of the organization and to further diversity and inclusion efforts, an employer should consider initiating employee resource groups for veterans. This will show that the employer actively supports veterans and wants to provide them with mentoring and networking opportunities. It will also provide veterans with a shared community in which they can share stories and increase camaraderie and share any issues that they experience. Employee resources groups can help veterans connect, form meaningful relationships and may ultimately increase retention.

How does your organization provide support for veterans or military service members? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

The post Veterans Day 2018 Provides Reminder for Employers appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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Election Day is two weeks away, and the one certainty is that interest in the outcome is at an all-time high.

An NPR story predicts that voter turnout could hit a 50-year record for a midterm election with few people, regardless of their political persuasion, neutral about President Trump.

The recent US Supreme Court confirmation vividly illustrated how strong passions are running on both sides. And with control of both the House and Senate at stake, things are sure to be at a fever pitch come November 6.

So employers scheduling meetings and business trips can ill afford to be tone deaf when it comes to the election, especially since at least 60 percent of states have some form of voting leave law. Here are some key requirements your organization should take into account:

Leave, Notice and Other Requirements

While no federal law mandates voting leave, many states have taken matters into their own hands. These laws generally provide leave ranging from one to four hours, with Kentucky on the high end of the spectrum.

Meanwhile, other states like Ohio—which says merely that “an eligible employee must be given a reasonable amount of time” to vote on an election day—are a bit vague. That’s because reasonable is in the eyes of the beholder since the term is not defined under the law.

In addition to mandating voting leave, at least two other big states require an employer to post a notice of employees’ voting leave rights prior to Election Day:

  • California (at least 10 days before a statewide election); and
  • New York (at least 10 working days before).

But notice requirements can cut both ways. For instance, several states, including California and New York, require employees to request leave prior to Election Day. These measures avoid the scenario of an employee showing up several hours late for a shift and saying afterwards that they were late because they had to vote.

Notice requirements can range anywhere from “reasonable notice” or “before the election” to much more specific stipulations. Among the lengthier employee to employer notice requirements include:

  • New York (at least two days and no more than 10 days);
  • Vermont (at least seven days);
  • West Virginia (at least three days); and
  • Wisconsin (at least seven days if serving as election official).

In addition to Wisconsin, several other states provide leave for employees who wish to serve as election officials. For instance, an employee in Kentucky must be allowed to take one full day to attend training or serve as an election officer.

It’s important to note that even employers in states that do not have laws requiring leave to vote are not immune from the election leave trend. For instance, many of those states prohibit employers from using threats, intimidation or employment termination to induce an employee either to vote or not vote. Such states include:

Employers that take adverse action against a leave-taking employee in these states, and potentially in others as well, may run the risk of facing a wrongful discharge claim.

Get Ready for Election Day

While Election Day is coming soon, it’s not too late to communicate with your employees to ensure they understand their rights as well as your organization’s policy. In fact, with all of the political commercials flooding the airwaves in many states, there may be no better time than right now.

So here are five easy steps an employer can put in place to ensure all goes smoothly:

  1. Have a clear voting leave policy and apply it equally across the board.
  2. Know how much leave is required in your state and how much notice an employee is supposed to give.
  3. Train managers and supervisors on policies and procedures to follow when an employee requests leave.
  4. Refrain from sending emails endorsing candidates, requiring attendance at a politician’s campaign stop or asking employees to forego a day’s pay in order to attend a political event.
  5. Accommodate time off requests under your voting leave policy so your employees can get to the polls without fear of reprisal.

Many states will impose a criminal penalty on an employer that fires or takes any other adverse employment action in response to an employee requesting time off to vote. Employers that ignore these laws do so at their peril.

The post As 2018 Election Approaches, Employee Voting Leave Gains Importance appeared first on XpertHR US Blog.

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