Throughout 2009, U.S. Senators and Representatives have introduced employment-related bills in Congress at an alarming rate. State Senators and Representatives in Ohio have done the same. We have been tracking this legislation and you can too by visiting our Employment Legislation Resource Center (http://www.bricker.com/legalservices/practice/employ/legislation/). You will find summaries and status updates for pending federal and Ohio employment legislation at the Resource Center.

Below is just a small sampling of the federal and Ohio legislation that we are tracking in our Employment Legislation Resource Center.

Proposed Federal Legislation

Family Medical Leave Act Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R. 824)

  • Expands the FMLA to include employers with 25 or more employees (a reduction of the current minimum of 50 employees)
  • Expands reasons for taking leave to participating in a child’s or grandchild’s educational or extra curricular activities or to take a child or elderly relative to a medical appointment

Domestic Violence Leave Act (H.R. 2515)

  • Amends the FMLA to permit leave for victims addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and their effects and to care for a family member that is addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and their effects
  • Amends the FMLA to include coverage for same-sex spouses and domestic partners

Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12, S. 182)

  • Amends the Equal Pay Act by adding compensatory and punitive damages, permitting class actions, and narrows employers’ defenses

The Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2151, S. 904)

  • Amends the FLSA to require equal wages in equivalent jobs and provides that pay decisions must be based on a bona fide factor other than sex, race, or national origin, and this bona fide factor defense will be narrowly construed

Common Sense English Act (H.R. 1588)

  • Amends Title VII to state that it is not an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require employees to speak English while engaged in work

Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2460, S. 1152)

  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees and to employees who work at least 20 hours per week
  • Employees would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked (max. 56 hours) and leave would carry over from year to year, but employers could cap at 56 hours
  • Uses include: employee’s illness, injury, medical condition or related treatment/care, including preventative care, care for a child, a parent, or a spouse who has one of the above conditions, care for any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is equivalent of a family relationship (undefined), who has one of the above conditions, and certain absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking

Paid Vacation Act (H.R. 2564)

  • Amends the FLSA to require paid vacation for eligible employees (employees that have worked for the employer for 12 months and at least 1,250 hours)
  • Employers with 100 employees must immediately provide one week paid vacation per each 12 month period for eligible employees
  • Three years after effective date of law, employers with 100 employees must provide two weeks paid vacation per each 12 month period, and employers with 50 employees must provide one week paid vacation per each 12 month period
  • Vacation must be taken in a seven day block

Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1274)

  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees and employees that work at least 20 hours per week or at least 1,000 hours per year
  • Requires an interactive process between employer and employee with respect to employee requests for flexible scheduling related to the hours of work, the times when the employee is required to work, and the location of work

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1584, H.R. 3017, H.R. 2981)

  • Prohibits employment discrimination based on perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Does not require employers to provide benefits to domestic partners of their employees
  • Does not apply to employers that are exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of Title VII

Forewarn Act (H.R. 3042, S. 1374)

  • Amends the WARN Act (plant closing/mass layoff) to reduce the size of covered employers from 100 to 75 employees, to reduce mass layoff figure from 50 to 25 employees, to reduce plant closing figure from 50 to 25 employees, to increase notice time from 60 days to 90 days, and to increase damages for a violation to double back-pay damages

Proposed Ohio Legislation

HB 176

  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

HB 170

  • Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for testifying or otherwise participating in an unemployment compensation proceeding or hearing

HB 224

  • Authorizes a nonrefundable tax credit for hiring and employing previously unemployed individuals

HB 46

  • Allows an individual that quits work to accompany a spouse that is subjected to a military transfer as a member of the armed services to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits

HB 40

  • Requires certain employers to allow a parent to exercise court-ordered parenting time without terminating employment, reducing pay, or taking other similar action against the parent