Employees are probably your company’s greatest asset. However, new employment laws impact how you hire, train, and supervise these employees. Staying abreast of these legal changes is a full-time job—one that few entrepreneurs have the time for. With states adopting new laws each year, smart businesses should reach out to Hone Law to review compliance and litigation risk. Below, we highlight how some of the most recent employment law changes can impact your business.
Employee Fringe Benefits & Business Deductions
The latest overhaul to federal tax law was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017. This law drew a lot of attention—and controversy—over whether it lowered taxes for most Americans. But the law notably impacted the taxability of certain perks, such as retirement plans, paid leave credits, onsite gyms, moving expenses, and more.
In fact, employers can no longer deduct as much as they used to—and, in some cases, can no longer deduct for certain fringe benefits at all. The law sunsets in 2025, so businesses should certainly scrutinize their fringe benefits to determine the best cost savings in the meantime.
Although Nevada has decriminalized marijuana, employers can still perform pre-employment drug screens to “weed out” undesirable applicants. Nevertheless, the state recently restricted what employers can do with a marijuana test.
For example, an employer can no longer use a positive marijuana test as a reason not to hire someone. The law also gives employees the right to pay for alternate tests if they fail one after being hired.
Opioid Drug Testing
Adding to the confusion, recent federal regulations require that many employers in the transportation industry test for opioid use along with other drugs. A Medical Review Officer will need to review any positive tests, since use according to a prescription is legal. If you work in the transportation industry, you must comply with these regulations. Any violation could result in federal sanctions.
States have responded to the COVID pandemic by reining in employer vaccine mandates. In 2021, Utah passed a law requiring that employers provide exemptions for sincerely held religious or personal beliefs or for health reasons. The law also prohibited adverse actions against the unvaccinated. Employers who violate these laws could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
Laws governing sexual harassment are in flux, thanks to the strength of the #MeToo movement. Risk-averse employers must continue to provide the best sexual harassment training and promptly investigate and respond to any harassment allegations. New laws coming from the states also are impacting how a company settles complaints and lawsuits.
For example, Nevada recently prohibited including a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in a settlement agreement for most sexual misconduct cases. Including an NDA would be ineffective, but it might also damage a company’s reputation. No business wants to be seen as “strong-arming” employees to keep silent about harassment.
Keep Up with Changes—Contact Hone Law
The above sample only hints at the many changes in employment laws. As the legal landscape continues to shift, businesses can stay on their feet by hiring a skilled business attorney to serve as their guide. It is possible to reduce risk and bolster your company’s reputation at the same time. Contact Hone Law to learn how.