By Robert G. Chadwick, Jr., Seltzer, Chadwick, Soefje & Ladik, PLLC.
In recent years, the rights of applicants and employees have been expanded significantly through new state and local initiatives. These initiatives have included ban-the-box laws, which protect the rights of applicants with criminal conviction records, paid sick time laws, harassment training laws, and laws which ban inquiries about the salary history of job candidates.
In 2014, San Francisco became the first jurisdiction to adopt another new type of employment law. The Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances addressed predictive scheduling for employees in the retail industry. As with most new initiatives, other jurisdictions, including Seattle and New York City, quickly followed suit. On July 1, 2018, Oregon became the first state with a predictive scheduling law.
So, what are predictive scheduling laws?
Predictive scheduling laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Common components, however, include:
* Advance written notice to an employee before the employee’s work shift.
* Rest periods between work shifts.
* The right of an employee to decline any work shift not included on the employee’s written schedule or which encroaches on a rest period.
San Francisco, Seattle and Oregon allow for variances, but subject to compensation schedules favorable to employees. New York City has completely banned the practice of on-call scheduling.
Which employers are subject to predictive scheduling laws?
For now, predictive scheduling laws apply only to employees of retail, hospitality and food services establishments. Some legal scholars, however, are predicting the laws could expand to other industries.
Where else are predictive scheduling laws under consideration?
In New York, a proposed new State Labor Department predictive scheduling regulation was published for comment on November 22, 2017. A predictive scheduling ordinance is currently under consideration in Chicago. Proposed legislation has also been introduced in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
What should employers take away from these developments?
As noted in a previous article on this blog, states and municipalities are increasingly the new frontier in employment law. For multi-state employers, this reality presents multiple challenges, including (1) understanding new types of laws for which guidance is sparse or nonexistent, (2) keeping up with fast-changing laws in multiple jurisdictions, and (3) compliance with laws which vary from state-to-state and municipality-to-municipality and which frequently have location-specific mandates. Although these challenges are more daunting with the passage of each new law, the price for not facing the challenges can be fines, damages, or worse.