Relevant Bills of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session
This past Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature has resulted in several new laws that will impact the HR professional. I have included a quick rundown of the most significant of those laws below.
House Bill 459, now Act 474: Amends LSA-R.S. 23:1660 and alters the way that employers must file information with the LWC, such as contribution and wage reports.
House Bill 707, now Act 406: Enacts LSA-R.S. 23:291.2. This new law will preclude employers in most circumstances from requesting or considering an applicant’s arrest record or charges that did not result in a conviction if such information was received in the course of a background check. LSA-R.S. 291.1 defines a “background check” as research into the background of a prospective or current employee.
Act 406 further provides that if an employer does consider an applicant’s criminal history, it must make an individual assessment of whether the applicant’s criminal history has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that may justify denying the applicant the position.” The Act specifies three criteria that an employer must consider when making this decision: 1. nature/gravity of the offense; 2. time elapsed since offense/conviction and 3. nature of the job sought. These criteria are very similar to those proposed previously by the EEOC.
House Bill 151, now Act 455: This Act amends LSA-R.S. 23:1711 and increases the penalties for misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor. Act 455 also provides a series of criteria that, if met, create a rebuttable presumption that the worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee.
Senate Bill 215, now Act 393: Amends the state Pregnancy Discrimination Act, LSA-R.S. 23: 341. Act 393 expands an employer’s obligation to accommodate an applicant or employee with limitations caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions such as: making temporary modifications to physical conditions, altering schedules, break and food schedules, policies and transferring the employee to a less demanding position.
In order to refuse a reasonable accommodation, an employer will be required to prove that doing so would impose an undue hardship on its business operations. The Act adopts the definition of “undue hardship” used by the ADA.
Act 393 allows six weeks of protected leave for a “normal pregnancy” and up to four months if the employee is disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Last, Act 393 requires employers to provide new employees and current employees with written notice of their rights under the Act, respectively upon hire and by December 1, 2021. This notice must be posted in the workplace.
Each of these new laws goes into effect on August 1, 2021, so employers should start revising their policies and practices.