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What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?
There is no Louisiana law regarding advertising open positions.
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?
(a) Criminal records and arrests
Louisiana law does not prohibit an employer from seeking access to information concerning an applicant’s or employee’s criminal conviction or arrest records. However, Louisiana law prohibits employers from disqualifying an applicant from engaging in any trade, occupation, or profession for which a license, permit, or certification must be issued by the state or its agencies solely because of a prior criminal record, except where he or she has been convicted of a felony and the conviction directly relates to the position of employment sought.
(b) Medical history
Louisiana law forbids discrimination in hiring based on protected genetic information. An employer may request protected genetic information with an offer of employment (La. R.S. 23:368).
(c) Drug screening
Louisiana employers may require employees and applicants to take drug tests as a condition of employment. Employers must use certified laboratories and specified procedures for testing if they intend to base hiring decisions on test results. While employers can perform onsite screenings for employees or applicants, no negative consequences (e.g., termination or refusal to hire) can arise solely as a result of the screenings (see La. R.S. 49:1001 et seq.). Employees with confirmed positive drug tests may request all records relating to the test within seven working days. Employers may (but are not required to) allow employees who test positive to undergo rehabilitation rather than terminating employment.
(d) Credit checks
(e) Immigration status
Louisiana Revised Statute 23:995 penalizes employers that employ, hire, recruit, or refer for employment an alien without legal authorization to work in the United States. To avoid this penalty, employers in Louisiana (regardless of size) must verify employees’ citizenship or work authorization status either by:
- using the federal E-Verify system for all employees; or
- retaining a picture ID and a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization card, or other certificate of U.S. citizenship, or an I-94 Form with an employment authorized stamp.
The law incentivizes employers that use E-Verify by providing that employers using E-Verify—rather than the written documentation method—are presumed to be in good faith if they are later found to have employed an unauthorized worker. Any company doing business with the state or local government must use E-Verify and continue to use the system throughout the term of the contract. Further, state contractors are responsible for subcontractors hired as a result of a state or local contract (La. R.S. 38:2212.10).
(f) Social media
Louisiana’s Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act precludes employers from requesting or requiring employees and job applicants to disclose any username or password that allows access to their personal online accounts. The law also prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining employees or refusing to hire applicants who do not divulge personal information. The act allows employers:
- to request or require employees to disclose usernames or passwords in order to gain access to, or operate electronic communication devices paid for or supplied in part or in whole by, the company; or
- to gain access to or operate any account or service provided by the employer or used for its business purposes.
The act does not prohibit employers from conducting investigations or requiring employees to cooperate in an investigation regarding online, work-related employee misconduct.
Louisiana law protects employers that provide job references in good faith. Employers that provide accurate information regarding a current or former employee on request from a prospective employer are immune from liability for a defamation or similar tort claim arising out of supplying the job reference if such information is provided in good faith (Revised Statute 23:291).
Wage and hour
What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?
The main wage and hour laws are found in La. R.S. 23:631, et seq. Louisiana has no state version of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
What is the minimum hourly wage?
Louisiana state law does not prescribe a minimum hourly wage.
What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?
Any employee who is terminated or laid off must be paid his or her final wages in full no later than the next regularly scheduled payday or 15 days from the date of separation—whichever is sooner. If the employee resigns, final wages must be paid in full by the next regularly scheduled payday from the pay cycle during which the employee was working at the time of separation or 15 days from the date of resignation—whichever is sooner (La. R.S. 23:631).
If final wages are not paid in a timely manner on termination (pursuant to La. R.S. 23:631) then, in addition to final wages, the employer may be liable to pay a penalty of either 90 days’ wages at the employee’s daily rate of pay or the employee’s full wages from when the employee made his or her demand for payment until the employer tenders the amount of unpaid wages—whichever is the lesser amount. If the employer’s failure to pay is determined to be in good faith, the employer will be liable only for the wages that were originally due, plus judicial interest from the date on which the suit was filed. If the employer’s failure to pay is determined not to be in good faith, the employer will be subject to the aforementioned penalty. Furthermore, the employer may be held liable for the employee’s attorney’s fees in the event of a well-founded suit for unpaid wages (La. R.S. 23:632).
An employer cannot require employees to sign contracts under which the employees forfeit their wages if they are discharged or resign before the employment contract is completed. An employer may require an applicant who accepts full-time employment to sign a contract that withholds the costs of such person’s pre-employment medical examination or drug test from his or her wages if he or she resigns within 90 days of starting work, unless:
- the resignation is attributed to a substantial change in employment made by the employer; or
- withholding the costs would result in the employee being compensated below the federal minimum wage (La. R.S. 23:634).
Employers are prohibited from fining an employee or deducting sums from an employee’s wages as a fine, except where:
- the employee willfully or negligently damaged goods, works, or property owned by the employer; or
- the employee has been convicted or has pled guilty to stealing employer funds (La. R.S. 23:635).
In the event of such an exception, fines may not exceed the actual damage.
Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?
Louisiana law requires that employees under 18 years of age who are scheduled to work five consecutive hours be given at least a 30-minute meal break. The meal break need not be compensated. Otherwise, Louisiana has no state law governing meal and rest breaks.
What are the maximum hour rules?
Louisiana has no state version of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
How should overtime be calculated?
Overtime should be calculated in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
What exemptions are there from overtime?
The Fair Labor Standards Act governs exemptions from overtime.
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?
Covered employers must create and preserve records reflecting the name, address, pay, and position of each employee for a period of no less than three years from the respective employee’s last date of employment (La. R.S. 23:668).
Further, employers must post a notice provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission that states as follows:
"Your employer has a duty to inform you at the time of your hire what your wage rate will be, how often you will be paid and how you will be paid, and of any subsequent changes thereto. If your employer should, for reasons within his control, fail to pay you according to that agreement, you must first lodge a complaint with him. If no action is taken to resolve your complaint, you may report the violation to the office of workforce development within the Louisiana Workforce Commission." (La. R.S. 23:633)
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