Winter 2010: Topics of Interest for 2010 (Part 1 – Legislative Changes)

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Federal law:
GINA (Employers with 15 or more employees)
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 became effective November 21, 2009. Under Title II of GINA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their genetic information. Genetic information includes the results of genetic tests as well as an individual’s family history. EEOC enforces Title II of GINA and published new EEOC regulations which: 1) make it illegal to use genetic information in making employment decisions (hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, benefits, etc.); 2) restrict an employer’s acquisition of genetic information; and 3) impose strict limitations on disclosure of genetic information. The “EEO Is The Law” poster has been revised to reflect the new law.

Federal law:
FMLA Amendments (Employers with 50 or more employees)
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has expanded the coverage of military exigency leave and military caregiver leave under the FMLA: 1.) Qualifying Exigency leave provides up to 12 weeks of leave to an employee due to the active duty or call to active duty of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent “in support of a contingency operation.” The amendment expands the benefits to now include family members of active duty service members on duty in a foreign country in addition to National Guard and Reservists. 2.) Servicemember Leave provides 26 weeks of leave to care for an active military servicemember with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty. The amendment now extends to veterans who need medical treatment for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty within the last 5 years.

California law:
Civil Air Patrol Employment Protection Act (Employers with more than 15 employees)
Effective January 1, 2010, employers in California are required to provide up to 10 days of leave a year for members of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol when volunteers are called up for an emergency mission by the US Air Force.

Federal law:
Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (Employers with 15 or more employees)
The bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck.

Federal law:
COBRA subsidy extension (Employers with 20 or more employees)
The COBRA health insurance subsidy provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been extended another 6 months. Employees who were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2010, will be eligible to receive a subsidy of 65% of COBRA premiums for 15 months.

For assistance in meeting your legal obligations with regard to these legislative changes, contact Jeanne Flaherty or Lynn Ryder at Employer’s Legal Advisor, Inc.

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