Delaware has recently passed several new laws that impact employers and provide employees with additional protection from discrimination. These new laws may require revisions to existing employment policies and additional training for management. Two additional bills are currently awaiting signature; we will send out information on those bills as soon as they are signed into law.
Employers May Not Prohibit Employees from Disclosing or Discussing Their Wages
House Bill No. 314 makes it unlawful for an employer to prevent an employee from discussing his or her wages or the wages of another employee. Under this new law, employers cannot require that an employee refrain from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing his or her wages or the wages of another employee. In addition, the new law makes it clear that it is unlawful to require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that would deny the employee the right to disclose his or her wages. The law also prohibits an employer from discharging, formally disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against an employee for discussing his or her wages or the wages of another employee. This new law takes effect immediately.
New Law Prohibits Discrimination Against Employees Because of Their Reproductive Health Decisions
House Bill No. 316 prohibits employment discrimination based upon an employee’s reproductive health decisions. Under this new law, employers cannot refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against an employee because of a reproductive health decision the employee has made. A “reproductive health decision” is any decision related to the use or intended use of a particular drug, device, or medical service related to fertility control or the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy. This law, which does not create any new obligations or change any existing obligations related to insurance coverage of reproductive health care, will take effect on December 30, 2016.
Employers May Not Discriminate Against Employees Because of Their Caregiving Responsibilities
House Bill No. 317 prohibits employment discrimination based upon an individual’s caregiving responsibilities. An employer cannot refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s family responsibilities. In addition, an employer cannot deprive anyone of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect an individual’s status as an employee because of the person’s family responsibilities. Under the new law, “family responsibilities” means the obligation of an employee to care for any family member who would qualify as covered under the Family Medical Leave Act. This new law will take effect on December 30, 2016. Five states and over ninety localities prohibit discrimination based on family responsibilities to some degree.
The Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance Can Collect Unpaid Claimant Overpayments and Employer Unemployment Tax Assessments by Intercepting Tax Refunds
House Bill No. 160 clarifies that the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance is authorized to collect unpaid claimant overpayments of unemployment benefits and unpaid employer unemployment tax assessments by intercepting state and federal tax refunds due to the claimant or employer. This is already authorized by the Delaware Code for state tax refunds, and is both authorized and required as a condition of receiving federal unemployment compensation funds. This new law takes effect immediately.
Employers should ensure that they are in compliance with these new laws and also make sure to educate and train management on these new laws. If you have any questions, please contact us.