Employment Law Update 2017-2
Posted on Jan. 26, 2017

This is Legal-mail no. 2017-2 prepared for interested HR professionals trying to deal with the complex American employment laws.







UTAH LEGISLATURE IN SESSION FOR 2017: The Utah Legislature has started its annual session, which runs from January 23, 2017 to March 9, 2017. During the six or so weeks of the session, the Legislature likely will consider a number of bills that could impact Utah employers. You can search various bill topics here: http://le.utah.gov/asp/billsintro/index.asp. Here is a list of the members of the House of Representatives and the areas they represent: http://house.utah.gov/house-members/  or here: https://house.utah.gov/. Here is a list of Utah Senators: http://senate.utah.gov/index.html. HR professionals should contact members of the legislature and be heard on matters important to the HR profession.

UTAH LEGISLATURE- NONCOMPETES: The Utah House of Representatives currently is considering H.B. 81, a bill that would limit an employer’s use of noncompete agreements. The bill would not allow continued employment to serve as consideration for a noncompete (i.e. some kind of additional salary or bonus or a promotion must be provided) and would not allow the enforcement of noncompetes against employees who are fired without cause within one year of signing the noncompete. Employers would also be prohibited from bringing lawsuits after the noncompete period expired, even if the former employee had breached the agreement during that time. You can read the full bill here: http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/hbillint/HB0081.pdf. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove.

UTAH LEGISLATURE: LIVING WAGE: The Utah minimum wage currently matches the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. The Utah House is considering H.B. 147, a bill that would gradually raise the state minimum wage and create what is known as a living wage. The proposed legislation would raise the minimum wage to id="mce_marker"0.25 by July 1, 2017 and thereafter raise it annually each July in about one dollar increments until it reaches id="mce_marker"5.00 per hour by July of 2022. You can read the full bill here: http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/hbillint/HB0147.pdf. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Lynn Hemingway of Salt Lake City.

UTAH LEGISLATURE- WEAPONS AND BUSINESS OWNERS: H.B. 112, currently pending in the Utah House, provides that a business owner who allows a concealed carry permit holder to carry a firearm onto the owner’s premises is not liable criminally or civilly, under certain circumstances, for damage or harm resulting from the discharge of that firearm. Other than in parking lots, Utah employers now have latitude to decide to allow or not allow firearms on their premises. This bill may be intended as an incentive for such employers to allow concealed carry. You can read the full bill here: http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0112.html. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry of Perry, Utah.

STAY TUNED FOR OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: Because it is so early in the 2017 legislative session, these bills outlined above are not yet assigned to committees or for hearings. The weapons and noncompete bills should be assigned to a committee soon. The living wage bill, however, based on the Legislature’s past distaste for such bills, may languish. Moreover, it is possible or even likely that additional employment-related bills will be introduced for consideration. Keep watching these updates for the latest HR law developments at the Utah Legislature during its 2017 session.

Written by: Employment Attorney Michael Patrick O'Brien

Email: mobrien@joneswaldo.com

Phone: 801-534-7315

Website: www.joneswaldo.com

Follow me on Twitter @mobrienutah


Legal-mail is a legal and legislative update service sent out about twice a month to interested HR professionals. As a courtesy, the Utah law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough P.C. underwrites the costs of the service. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Michael Patrick O'Brien.

Disclosure: These updates are merely updates and are not intended to be legal advice. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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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