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Utah SHRM Newsletter - Legislative Alert - Part II
Posted on Feb. 13, 2013

This is Utah SHRM Legal-mail no. 2013-4 prepared for Salt Lake SHRM, the Human Resources Association of Central Utah (HRACU), the Northern Utah Human Resources Association (NUHRA), the Color Country Human Resources Association (CCHRA), the Bridgerland Society for Human Resource Management and Utah at-large members of the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). 

CONTENTS:

UTAH LEGISLATIVE ALERT, PART II

- SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND

- SAFETY INSPECTIONS

- BLACKLISTING PROHIBITION REPEAL

- DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS

- EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION AMENDMENTS

- INTERNET ACCOUNTS AND EMPLOYERS

SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND: The Utah Legislature is in its annual lawmaking session, lasting until March 14, 2013. In the last update, we discussed efforts to amend the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Legislature is currently considering a number of other bills that could impact employers (see list and summary below). Employers should understand and consider these matters and determine if and how they wish to participate in the discussion. You can find a list of state legislators (Senators) here: http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/roster.aspx and (Representatives) here: http://le.utah.gov/house2/representatives.jsp. Stay tuned for further developments!

SAFETY INSPECTIONS: SB 46 requires UOSH (the Utah State version of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration--OSHA) to create a program of regular safety inspections where a third of its inspections occur even in the absence of any safety complaint or notice of a possible problem. At this time, the bill is being held by a Senate committee. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/SB0046.pdf.

BLACKLISTING PROHIBITION REPEAL: SB142 repeals Utah’s statutory blacklisting prohibitions. Blacklisting under the Utah statute is defined as preventing an employee from getting a job in the same field. The sponsor of the bill expressed concerns that a poor employee performance review or a noncompete requirement would violate this law, which currently provides for felony criminal sanctions. This bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting a full House vote. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/SB0142.pdf.

DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS: SB 108 prohibits disability discrimination in places of public accommodation (like the federal Americans With Disabilities Act--ADA). This bill is still pending in the Senate Rules Committee. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/SB0108.pdf.

EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION AMENDMENTS: HB 253 requires that persons applying for a commerce license must confirm they are (or are not) complying with employee verification laws (EVerify for all employers with 15 or more employees). This bill also provides that this information will be published. The bill is being held in a House committee. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/hbillint/HB0253.pdf.

INTERNET ACCOUNTS AND EMPLOYERS: HB 100 essentially prohibits an employer from requiring an applicant or employee to give the employer access information (e.g. a login or password) to personal internet accounts or from firing someone who declines to give employer access unless it is an account paid for or provided by the employer. The statute outlines several things it does not do, for example it does not: (1) prohibit disciplining an employee who transfers employer information to that employee's personal account; (2) investigating such issues: (3) monitoring employee use of employer-owned accounts; or (3) viewing employee/applicant accounts that are public or accessible without a login or password. The bill passed a House Committee and is awaiting a full House vote. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/static/HB0100.html.

WEIGHT/HEIGHT DISCRIMINATION: HB 132 prohibits employment discrimination based on a person’s weight or height. Height is defined in the bill as “a numerical measurement of total body height, an expression of a person's height in relation to weight, or a person's unique physical composition of height through body size, shape, and proportions. Height includes “an impression of a person as tall or short regardless of numerical measurement.” Weight is defined as “a numerical measurement of total body weight, the ratio of a person's weight in relation to height, or a person's unique physical composition of weight through body size, shape, and proportions.” Weight also includes “an impression of a person as fat or thin regardless of the numerical measurement.” This bill has not yet been heard by a House committee. Full text found at: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/hbillint/HB0132.pdf.

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mikeAttorney Michael
Patrick O'Brien

Mike O’Brien is an experienced and accomplished employment attorney, media lawyer and courtroom litigator.  He is active in SHRM and has received the highest possible reviews from rating services like Martindale - Hubbell (AV rating), Chambers USA, Utah Business Legal Elite, Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal USA, and SuperLawyers.  HR Executive Online has named him as one of America’s most powerful 100 employment lawyers, but keep in mind, this does not mean he is good at moving heavy furniture.

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Michael Patrick O'Brien
 

Best Lawyers In America, “Salt Lake City Best Lawyers Employment Law Lawyer Of The Year,” 2011-2012

Best Lawyers In America, First Amendment Law, Labor And Employment Law, 2005-2012

Chambers USA, Labor & Employment, 2003-2011

Employment Lawyer Of The Year, Utah State Bar, 2001

Human Resources Executive, Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Lawyers In America, 2010

Mountain States Super Lawyers, 2007-2012

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