Are You Prepared To Comply With New Employment Laws And Requirements In 2014?


The New Year brings new employment laws and requirements for businesses. For example, as reported in the most recent edition of The Fast Laner, Illinois became the last state to allow people to carry concealed firearms. Illinois will begin receiving applications for conceal/carry licenses in January 2014. For most employers who own the the property or space in which they operate, the only way to lawfully prohibit conceal/carry license holders from bringing concealed firearms to work is to post a sign issued by the Illinois State Police. However, if you lease your facility, then you should talk to the property owner or manager to discuss whether the owner will exclude concealed firearms and post a sign. You should review existing firearms and weapons policies to ensure compliance with the new law. In addition, the Illinois “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program” Act became effective January 1. While the law does not prohibit employers from firing individuals who use marijuana at work or who test positive for the drug while at work, it does mean that employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their status as a medical marijuana registrant. Therefore, employers should carefully review their drug testing policies and procedures to ensure they are implemented in a non-discriminatory way that does not fall short of the requirements of the new law. Finally, for employers in the hospitality industry, a new rule by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) became effective on January 1, 2014 requiring that mandatory service charges on a customer’s bill be treated as wages for tax purposes and not as gratuities or tips. Even though the IRS rule is new, the U.S. Department of Labor has long considered mandatory service charges not to be tips, which means that servers whose only tips come from mandatory service charges should not be paid a tip credit minimum wage. Finally, a number of states increased the minimum wage as of January 1.  

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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