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Monday, December 2, 2019

New Government Employer Requirements

It's December, which means there's less than a month until the New Year and compliance with any new laws taking effective in 2020. We'll be reporting on a few of these over the next few weeks, starting with changes to employment laws that affect local government employers.

P.A. 101-0221 was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2019. The Act made numerous changes to various employment laws. We have summarized two of these changes that affect local governments below, both of which require affirmative action by July 1, 2020. 

Elected Official Allegations of Sexual Harassment Against Another Elected Official

The Act amended the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to require local governments to adopt an ordinance or resolution to amend their sexual harassment policies to provide a mechanism for reporting and independent review of allegations of sexual harassment made by an elected official against another elected official. Local governments have six months from the effective date of the Act to amend their sexual harassment policies (so, the amendment should be adopted by July 1, 2020). 

Employer Disclosure of Adverse Harassment or Discrimination Judgments or Rulings

The Act establishes new reporting disclosure requirements for employers. Government employers are expressly included in this statute. Beginning July 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, an employer that has had an adverse judgment or administrative ruling in the previous calendar year must disclose the following to the Department of Human Rights:
  1. the total number of adverse judgments or administrative rulings during the previous year;
  2. whether any equitable relief was ordered against the employer in that judgment or ruling;
  3. how many judgments or rulings fall into the following categories: (a) sexual harassment; (b) discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex; (c) discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin; (d) discrimination or harassment on the basis of religion; (e) discrimination or harassment on the basis of age; (f) discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability; (g) discrimination or harassment on the basis of military status or unfavorable discharge;  (h) discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender identity; (i) discrimination or harassment on the basis of any other characteristic protected under the Act.
If DHS is investigating a charge, it can also request information about settlements that relate to any category listed above. 

The disclosures should not include the victim's name, and any annual reporting by DHS based on the information provided by employers will not disclose individual employers' reports.


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