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State Employment

Laws 2020

Below you will find a compilation of employment

laws every HR professional should know.

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State Employment Laws

Accommodation   Passed — April 8, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020

Expanded lactation accommodation requirements [AB 1976]

Arbitration   Passed — March 14, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020

If an employer fails to pay the required fees and costs associated with arbitration, the employer is in material breach of the arbitration agreement and waives their right to arbitrate. [SB 707]

Criminal History   Passed — March 14, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020

Restricts employers on inquiring about an applicant’s prior arrest and detention records and are limited to asking only about a relevant “particular conviction” for “conviction for specific criminal conduct or a category of criminal offenses prescribed by any federal law.” [SB 1412]

Discrimination Claims   Passed — January 1, 2019  Effective — March 28, 2020

Settlement agreements cannot prevent disclosure of factual information related to sexual harassment or discrimination claims [SB 820]; expanded the scope of “privileged communications” to protect employees making sexual harassment allegations and to protect former employees when raising credible allegations. [AB 2770]

Discrimination Claim Filing   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020

Gives employees a two-year extension (up to three years) to file Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims. Employees will continue to have one year to file a lawsuit once receiving the notice of right-to-sue. [AB 9]

Discrimination Against Service Members January 1, 2019

Prohibits employers from discharging or stopping benefits of an employee for being a member of the military reserve or because of an ordered military duty or training. [SB 1500]

Lactation Accommodation January 1, 2019

Requires employers to provide a location other than a bathroom to express milk. [AB 1976][AB 142]

Family Leave   Passed — June 27, 2019  Effective — January 1, 2019

Increases the length of paid family leave to eight weeks. [SB 83]

Hair Styles July 3, 2019

Expands the FEHA definition of “race” to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and hairstyles. Employers are prohibited from instituting workplace dress codes and/or grooming policies that prevent employees from wearing their hair in a natural manner. [SB 188]

Harassment January 1, 2019

Expands liability to cover all forms of harassment, rather than only sexual harassment. Prohibits, as a condition of employment, the employee to sign a nondisparagement agreement that purports to deny the employee’s right to disclose information about unlawful acts in the workplace. [SB 1300]

Harassment Training January 1, 2019

Extends harassment training requirements to smaller employers and nonsupervisory employees. Requires training by 1/1/20. [SB 1343] Blog

Human Trafficking January 1, 2019

Requires hotels and motels to provide at least 20 minutes of human trafficking awareness training. Training must be conducted by 1/1/20 for certain employees and every two years thereafter. [SB 970] Certain businesses must post a compliant notice regarding human trafficking. [AB 2034]

Independent Contractor Status   Passed — September 11, 2019  Effective — July 1, 2020

Codifies the “ABC” test for determining contractor status. The conditions have been identified to determine if a worker meets the independent contractor status. [AB 5]

Mandatory Arbitration January 1, 2020

Employers can no longer require, as a condition of employment or continued employment, that an applicant or employee, waive any right, forum or procedure for alleged violation of the CA FEHA. Employees can voluntarily choose to enter into an arbitration agreement. [AB 51] Federal judge temporarily blocked implementation of AB 51 on 1/2/2020.

Military Leave January 1, 2019

Amends the Family Temporary Disability Insurance Program to include time off for a servicemember to participate in a qualifying exigency related to a covered active duty. [SB 1123]

Non-Disclosure Agreements January 1, 2019

Prohibits confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that would prevent disclosure of information related to claims of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination. [SB 820]

Red Flag Law   Passed — October 19, 2019  Effective — September 1, 2020

Broadens the classes of individuals who may apply for a gun violence restraining order (GVRO) to include employers, and (under certain circumstances) coworkers and teachers. Coworkers must have had regular interactions with the person for at least one year and obtained approval from their employer. [AB 61]

Salary History January 1, 2020

Clarifies employers’ use and consideration of salary history [AB 2282]

Settlement Agreements   Passed — September 5, 2020  Effective — January 1, 2020

Prohibits and invalidates provisions within settlement agreement which prohibit, prevent, or otherwise restrict a settling employee from working for the employer or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. [AB 749]

Criminal History September 1, 2021

Affects all private employers with 11 or more employees. No criminal history questions on initial job applications [HB 1025]

Salary History   Passed — May 22, 2019  Effective — January 1, 2021

Applies to all employers who must disclose in each posting for each job opening the hourly or salary compensation, or a range of the hourly pay or salary. Must also include a general description of all the benefits and other compensation to be offered. [Equal Pay for Equal Work Act]

Wage   Passed — January 22, 2020  Effective — March 16, 2020

Expands coverage to all private employers, unless exempt per rules 2.2-2.4. Increases protections for hourly employees, including rest period requirements and expansion of “time worked” criteria. Imposes a salary basis requirement for salaried workers to qualify as exempt. New posting, acknowledgement and translation requirements. [Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order 36]

Updates to Anti-discrimination January 1, 2019
Colorado - Denver

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, citizenship, and immigration status; requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an existing or prospective employee for pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.  [Anti-Discrimination Ordinance]

Wage or Salary Histories January 1, 2019

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about prospective employees’ wage or salary histories, unless the applicant voluntarily discloses the information [HB 5386]

Sexual Harassment January 1, 2019

Requires employers with 50+ employees to provide sexual harassment training to new employees within one year of hire, to existing employees within one years of the effective date of the act, and thereafter every two years. [HB 360]

WARN January 1, 2019

Requires employers with 50+ employees to provide 60 days’ notice to employees impacted by mass layoffs, plant closings, or relocations causing employment loss. [HB 409]

Domestic & Sexual Violence February 18, 2019
District of Columbia

Prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis that they or their family members are victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, or stalking. Employers must make reasonable accommodations to ensure the employee’s (or family member’s) security and safety. [District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act]

Benefits April 27, 2020
District of Columbia

Requires certain employers to reduce the number of employees who commute into the city by private vehicle through the following measures: (1) providing mass transportation for employees directly, (2) giving employees a transit pass, (3) reimbursing employees for the purchase, maintenance and storage of a bicycle, or (4) employers can pay a $100 fee per employee per month or develop a transportation demand management plan. Covered employers include those who offer a “parking benefit” in D.C. to an employee.   [D.C. Act 23-305 - Transportation Benefits  Equity Amendment Act of 2020]

Salary History January 1, 2019

Prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history or relying on that information when determining starting compensation. [SB 2351]

Medical Testing January 1, 2020

Employers can enforce “reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner [Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act]

Pre-Employment Testing December 4, 2019

Clarifies the employer’s ability to conduct pre-employment and random drug tests and take action due to a failure of a drug test. Employers may also conduct reasonable-suspicion and post-accident tests. (SB 1557)

Service Member Reemployment June 1, 2019

Prohibits employers from imposing conditions for military leave. Requires service members to give notice of pending service to employers. [SB 3547]

Harassment   Passed — August 9, 2019  Effective — January 1, 2020

Requires employers who had an adverse judgment or administrative ruling concerning harassment or sexual harassment in the previous year to annually report data to the IDHR, including the number of adverse decisions [effective 7/1/2020]. Employers must conduct annual sexual harassment training.

Prohibits employers from contractually restricting a prospective, current or former employee’s ability to report allegations of unlawful conduct, including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, for investigation by authorities. Bars unilaterally requiring that a current or prospective employee waive, arbitrate, “or otherwise diminish” existing or future claims, rights, or benefits related to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. [Workplace Transparency Act [Workplace Transparency Act – Public Act 101-0221]

Video Interviewing January 1, 2020

Regulates the use of artificial intelligence to analyze and evaluate job applicants’ video interviews. Imposes duties of transparency, consent and data destruction [Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act]

Pay Stubs and Scheduling   Passed — May 12, 2020  Effective — July 1, 2020
Illinois - Chicago

Requires employers: (1) to provide the locations where new employees will work and the estimated work schedule, (2) to maintain the confidentiality of employees who have identified themselves as victims of domestic violence or sexual violence and have requested to have their work schedules not to be shared with other employees, (3) to provide notice of an employee’s rights under the Ordinance, (4) to obtain the employee’s written consent during each work schedule change, and (5) to maintain electronic records demonstrating compliance.    [Fair Workweek Ordinance]

Non-Competes   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — July 1, 2020

Requires enforceable physician non-compete agreements to contain five provisions that the employer is required to provide the physician at the termination of their employment or at the end of the contract. [To be codified in part as Ind. Code § 25-22.5-5.5]

Family Medical Leave January 1, 2021

Employers with 10 or more employees must provide an hour of sick leave for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of time off a year. Paid time could be used for illness or a family emergency. Employers with 5 or fewer employers must allow an employee to accrue and use at least 40 hours of unpaid earned sick leave per year. [Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave]

Ban the Box Criminal Histories   Passed — January 30, 2020  Effective — February 29, 2020

Employers with 10 or more employees must provide an hour of sick leave for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of time off a year. Paid time could be used for illness or a family emergency. Employers with 5 or fewer employers must allow an employee to accrue and use at least 40 hours of unpaid earned sick leave per year. [Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave]

Case Processing January 24, 2020

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued revisions to its procedural regulations.  Allow employers to move for reconsideration of the Commission’s probably cause determination at any time prior to the certification conference.   Grants the Commission the authority to conduct Commission-sponsored mediation overseen by the Investigating Commissioner.   Expands the discovery mechanisms available to employees at the administrative level. 

Paid Family and Medical Leave   Passed — July 1, 2020  Effective — January 21, 2021

All private employers must provide covered individuals with paid family and medical leave.  Proposed amendments provide new definitions of key terms, guidance on the requirements for private plan exemptions, and information relating to the application of benefits.  [Draft revised Paid Family and Medical Leave regulations]

Civil Actions   Passed — May 12, 2020  Effective — August 28, 2020

Raises the standards for punitive damages in civil actions. Provides that punitive damages may be awarded only if the plaintiff proves by “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just causes or acted with deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.”  [S.B. 591]

Ban the Box Criminal Histories January 1, 2021
Missouri (St.Louis)

Restricts private employers with 10 or more employees to base hiring or promotion decisions on an applicant’s criminal history. Violators can lose their business license. [Ban the Box Ordinance]

Employee Protections May 8, 2020

Employee will be required to implement certain measure to protect their employees from “heat-related illness” caused by heat stress.  Regulations to be develop by 10/1/2022.  [HB 722]

Equal Pay   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — October 1, 2020

Restricts how much an employer (or prospective employer) can inquire about an employee’s or applicant’s wage history. Also, provides protections to employees who wish not to voluntarily reveal wage history.  During the hiring process, if requested by an applicant, the employer must provide the wage range for the position. [HB123/SB217]

Facial Recognition May 8, 2020

Restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) during the interview process.  Employers are not permitted to use facial recognition technology for the purposes of creating a facial template during the interview process unless the applicant allow for it.   [HB1202]

Hair Styles Associated with Race May 8, 2020

Broadens the scope of the definition of “race” to “include traits associated with race, including hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles” which include braids, twists and locks.  [HB1444]

Mini-WARN   Passed — May 7, 2020  Effective — October 1, 2020

Employers implementing “reduction in operations” must provide 60 days’ advance notice to employees and others, and also provide continuation of health, pension, severance and/or other benefits.  Obligations triggered by the closure of all or a portion of the operations affecting as few as 15 employees, as well as by relocations of operations.   [HB1018/SB780]

Workplace Accidents   Passed — May 8, 2020  Effective — June 3, 2020

Extends the reporting period from 30 to 45 days to an employee who suffered a hernia due to a workplace accident, or whose existing hernia was exacerbated by a workplace accident.  Creates an exception to the 60-day filing deadline for a compensation claim whereby an employee may still be able to obtain benefits if they file the claim within two years of the date of the injury unless the employer or its insurer has been prejudiced by the employee’s failure to report the injury sooner.  [SB784]

Medical Cannabis June 3, 2020

Prohibits employers from declining to hire a prospective employee based on pre- employment marijuana drug tests. [AB 132]

Salary History January 1, 2020
New Jersey

Cannot screen a job applicant based on their salary history including prior wages or benefits or require the applicant’s salary history to satisfy minimum or maximum criteria. [NJ A1094]

Medical Cannabis July 2, 2019
New Jersey

Provides employment protections for authorized users of medical cannabis [Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act]

Nondisclosure Agreements March 18, 2019
New Jersey

Renders unenforceable nondisclosure provisions in settlement agreements that resolve discrimination-related claims. Bars enforcement of arbitration agreements. [SB 121]

Family Leave July 1, 2020
New Jersey

Expands paid family leave benefits to 12 weeks and intermittent leave to 56 days. Prohibits employers from discharging, harassing, discriminating or retaliation against an employee for requesting or use family leave benefits. [NJ Family Leave Act]

Hair styles associated with race December 19, 2019
New Jersey

Defines discrimination due to race as including discrimination based upon “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles” such as braids, locks and twists. [Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act]

Wages   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — October 1, 2020

Amends the Wage Payment and Collection Law by increasing the maximum amount of unpaid wages – from $3,000 to $5,000 – claimed by an employee for which the MD DOL may issue a complaint to an employer. [Maryland Wage Protection Act]

Independent Contractor Status January 14, 2020
New Jersey

Amends the state’s “ABC test” for independent contractor status; prohibit NJ companies from utilizing independent contractor workforces. [SB S863]

Employee Misclassification   Passed — January 21, 2020  Effective — April 1, 2020
New Jersey

Requires businesses to post notices regarding employee misclassification “in a form issued by the Commissioner.” Prohibits retaliation against any employee for complaining about, filing an action regarding, or testifying in a proceeding about, worker misclassification. [A5843]

Employee Classification   Passed — January 21, 2020  Effective — January 21, 2020
New Jersey

Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development has the authority to issue a stop-work order against an employer where any wage, benefit or employment tax law violation was found. [AB 5838]

State can impose financial penalties for misclassification. [A. 5839]

Joint liability can be imposed on labor contractors that provide misclassified workers to an employer. [A. 5840]

State has the authority to “name and shame” businesses that misclassify workers; employers will be prohibited from contracting with any public agency while their name remains on the list. [S. 4226]

Gives the State Treasure permission to share tax data with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for a more efficient system of enforcing misclassification laws. [S. 42329]

Wages January 21, 2020
New Jersey

Expands the Wage Theft Act and imposes liability on owners, directors, officers, and managers who violate NJ wage or tax laws, on behalf of an employer or a staff agency. (AB 5840]

WARN   Passed — January 21, 2020  Effective — July 19, 2020
New Jersey

Expands employers’ advance notice and severance pay obligation. Triggered by a termination of 50 employees, regardless of tenure or hours of work, aggregating all terminations across NJ. Notice period increases to 90 days and mandates severance pay of one week for each year of employment. If full notice is not given, severance increases by four weeks of pay. [SB 3170]

Arrest and Conviction History (Ban the Box)   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020
New Mexico

Prohibits private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s arrest or conviction history on an initial employment application. Employers may inquire and consider an applicant’s criminal history after reviewing the application and discussing employment with the applicant. [Criminal Offender Employment Act]

Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation   Passed — March 4, 2020  Effective — May 20, 2020
New Mexico

Limits the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual misconduct cases.  Restricts the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements involving harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims.  [H.B. 21]

Gender Identity November 1, 2019
New York

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing, employment and public accommodations. Model Sexual Harassment Policy for NY employers issued in October 2018 includes harassment on the basis of gender expression, gender identity and the status of being transgender. [Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act]

Harassment April 1, 2019
New York

Requires all private New York City employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training. [NYC Int. 0632-2018]

Salary History   Passed — July 10, 2019  Effective — July 10, 2020
New York

Prohibits all public and private employers from asking prospective or current employees about their salary history or compensation. Prohibits businesses from seeking similar information from other sources. [SB S6549]

Reproductive Health November 1, 2019
New York

Forbids discrimination based on an employee’s “reproductive health decision making.” Employers must update their employee handbooks to ban discrimination and retaliation based on an employee’s or dependent’s reproductive health decision making. [NY Labor Law Section 203-e]

Lactation March 18, 2019
New York City

Employers with four or more employees must provide a lactation room accommodations for breastfeeding individuals [No. 879-A] Requires covered employers to implement written lactation room accommodation policies to be distributed to all employees [No. 905-A]

Drug Testing May 10, 2020
New York City

Prohibits employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from pre-employment drug testing for marijuana and THC as a condition of employment.  Provisions of the law do not apply to people applying to work in the following positions: (1) law enforcement, (2) certain construction jobs, (3) jobs requiring a commercial driver’s license, (4) jobs requiring supervision of care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons, and (5) jobs with the “potential to significantly impact the health and safety of employees or members of the public.” [Int. 1445-A]


Medical Marijuana March 14, 2020

Prohibits employers from engaging in certain employment practices with applicants or employees that hold medical marijuana licenses [AB2612 - OK Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act]

Equal Pay January 1, 2019

Prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of protected class, as well as screening job applicants based on current or past compensation. New posting requirements. [Equal Pay Act]

Pregnancy & Lactation Accommodation January 1, 2020

Applies to employers with six or more employees and outlines specific accommodations employers must provide and actions that may not take. Also, requires new notice requirements. [HB 2341]

Lactation Accommodation September 29, 2019

Applies to employers with 25 or more employees and provides an undue hardship exemption from lactation break requirements. Also provides flexibility as to frequency and length of breaks. [HB 2593]

Discrimination and Harassment   Passed — June 11, 2019  Effective — October 1, 2020

For discrimination and harassment settlements, employees may not be required to disclose alleged conduct or disparage employers or alleged perpetrators. Employees cannot force no-rehire provisions as a term of settlement. Increases statute of limitations for lawsuits involving workplace misconduct from one year to five years. [SB 729 Workplace Fairness Act]

Salary History   Passed — January 23, 2017  Effective — January 29, 2020
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Prohibits employers that employ individuals in the City from asking applicants about their salary history or to rely on an applicants’ wage history to determine wages for the job for which the applicant applied. Shortly after passing, the Chamber of Commerce sued alleging that it violated the employer’s First Amendment rights. The District Court agreed with the Chamber; however, on appear the Third Circuit unanimously held for the City. [Wage Equity Ordinance]

Equal Pay March 14, 2020
Puerto Rico

Regulations are to establish the organization and functioning of the Equal Pay Program to encourage gender pay equity.  Program is voluntary for employers the legislature is considering amendments to require all employers to conduct a self-assessment of their business for compliance. [Act No. 16 - Puerto Rico’s Equal Pay Act]

Criminal and Salary History August 6, 2019
South Carolina – Columbia

Private employers with contracts or vending relationships with the City are limited from the use of criminal background checks and are banned from inquiring about salary history on job applications. [Conviction and Wage History Prohibition in City Employment and by City Contractors and City Vendors]

Medical Cannabis   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — March 28, 2020

Amends and clarifies provisions of the medical cannabis laws; private employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical cannabis and have policies restricting the use of medical cannabis by applicants and employees.  [SB 121]

Nondisclosure February 22, 2019

May not require job applicants or current employees to execute nondisclosure agreements that would conceal the details of any “sexual assault” claim an employee may have against the employer. [VA Coe §40.1-28.01]

Hairstyles March 3, 2020

Amends the VA HRA to prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyles or “because of or on the basis of traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists.” (HB 1514)

Wage Paystub   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — January 1, 2020

Requires employers to provide detailed paystubs, either in electronic format or hard copy, to all of their employees on each regular pay date.  It must show: (1) employee’s name and address, (2) hours they worked during the pay period, (3) rate of pay, (4) gross wages that they earned during the pay period, and (5) the amount and purpose of any deductions taken from the employee’s wages during the pay period.  Not being enforced until 7/1/2020. [Wage Payment Act]

Marijuana Decriminalization   Passed — May 21, 2020  Effective — July 1, 2020

Decriminalizes simple marijuana possession and prohibits employers, including state agencies and state and local governments) from requiring applicants to disclose information related to past criminal charges for such possession.  [HB 972/SB 2]

Work Sharing   Passed — April 22, 2020  Effective — January 1, 2021

Allows employers that are experiencing a slowdown in business to save jobs by reducing the number of hours their employees work instead of laying off a portion of those employees. In exchange, employees whose hours have been reduced can recover prorated unemployment benefits tied to the amount of their reduced hours.  [Work share program]

Non-Compete Agreements   Passed — June 3, 2020  Effective — July 1, 2020

Employers may not enter into, enforce, or threaten to enforce a covenant not to compete against a low-wage employee. A low-wage worker is an individual whose average weekly earnings for the 52 weeks prior to termination are less than the average weekly wage in the state.  On 7/1/2020, the threshold will be $1,137 per week.  [SB 480]

Employment Contracts   Passed — March 19, 2020  Effective — June 11, 2020

Amends the Washington Sales Representative Act and requires employers of wholesale sales representatives (reps) to enter employment contracts with those sales reps who earn commissions for soliciting orders for wholesale purchases.  Issued to address instances in which wholesale sales reps were not paid commissions for sales they had made before separation from employment.  [HB2474]

Service Animal January 1, 2019

Amends discrimination law to define “service animal” and create a maximum penalty of $500 for misrepresenting an animal as a service animal. [HB 2822]

Workplace Violence January 1, 2020

Medical facilities must prevent and track workplace violence, covering any physical assault or verbal threat of physical assault against an employee. Hospitals must have a committee to address violence, develop and implement a plan and provide violence prevention training. New law implementation guide. [HB 1931]


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