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SHRM Newsletter: Legislative Update
Posted on Feb. 24, 2016

This is Utah SHRM Legal-mail no. 2016-3 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).






UTAH LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: The Utah Legislature opened its annual session on Monday, January 25, 2016 and runs through March 10, 2016. Here below is a list and discussion of the bills that could impact employers. You can be heard on the bills outlined below and other issues by contacting your legislators directly. Click here for contact information on members of the Utah House of Representatives: Click here for a list of Utah State Senators:

UTAH BILLS LIKELY TO PASS: One bill on the verge of passing is SB 59, which amends the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to require that an employer provide reasonable accommodations for an employee who has known limitations related to “pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions.” You can read a copy of the bill here: Also poised to pass is HB 116, which amends various Utah statutes to provide that a franchisor will not be deemed to be the employer of a franchisee’s employees. The bill would also preclude the state from relying on federal rules when determining if two companies are joint employers. You can read a copy of it here: Another bill likely to pass (HB 251) originally would have banned noncompetes, but it has been significantly modified to basically incorporate the Utah case law requirements for an enforceable noncompete agreement. You can read a copy of the bill here:

BILLS NOT LIKELY TO PASS: A proposal (HB 188) before the Utah Legislature that would require state executive agency employers to provide paid parental leave is not likely to pass. You can read a copy of the bill here: Another bill unlikely to pass allows public employers to adopt a uniform policy declining to deduct union dues from employee wages. The bill, HB 173, is sponsored by Rep. John Westwood of Cedar City. You can read a copy of the bill here: Finally, another stalled proposal (HB 88) would significantly limit an employer’s ability to use noncompete agreements. The bill requires new consideration (other than continued employment) for noncompetes. It also prohibits an employer from enforcing non-compete against employees fired without cause within one year of the date of agreement. You can read a copy of HB 88 here:

BILLS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT PASS: There are two medical cannabis/marijuana bills pending in the Legislature and it is not clear yet if one or both will pass. One bill (SB 89) does not expressly mention or impact employers. Another bill (SB 73) formerly prohibited employment discrimination by public employers against employees who used medical marijuana, but that specific part of the bill was deleted by amendment. You can read SB 89 here: You can read SB 73 here: A bill recently introduced by Sen. Alvin Jackson of Highland, SB 214, would prohibit an employer from retaliating or taking adverse action against an employee if the employee reports “abusive conduct,” which is defined as “verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of an employee to another employee that, based on its severity, nature, and frequency of occurrence, a reasonable person would determine: (A) is intended to cause intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress; (B) results in substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress; or (C) exploits an employee’s known physical or psychological disability.” The bill is pending in the Senate Business and Labor Committee. You can read that bill here:

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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.

Awards and Recognition


OBrien Best

Chambers 2011 Attorney

Super Lawyers
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

Utah Business Magazine, Legal Elite, Labor And Employment, 2006-2012