At the Federal level, new laws went into effect on January 1, 2009 which expand the definiation of “disability” under the ADA, and extend and expand FMLA protection for people who have had a loved one serving in the military. The Federal minimum wage will also go up on July 24, 2009 to $7.25 per hour. (Until then the Federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour).
At the state level, a bevy of new laws come into effect. In California, for instance, new laws address meal and rest periods, pay for computer professionals, work comp reporting, and (during your commute) ban text messaging while driving.
New laws in Illinois also expands the reach of both the FMLA and ADA as applied in that state, by making eating disorders qualify under the law as “serious mental illnesses.” This will also give individulas with these disorders the ability to get insurance coverage for treatments.
Illinois also passed a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of genetic testing. The fear was that employers would eliminate applicants who have a family history of breast cancer, for instance, because if hired the applicant would be more likely to miss large amounts of work time and cause insurance rates to increase. Of course, the applicant may actually never get breast cancer and thus the “discrimination” this law tries to ban.
New Mexico raised it’s state’s minimum wage to $7.50 per hour. Be a aware that specific cities are free to increase the minimum wage even higher than the the state level. For instance, even though New Mexico’s minimum wage is now $7.50, if you are working in the City of Santa Fe you get the City’s whopping minimum wage rate that just went up to $9.92 per hour.
And finally, be sure you stop peeing in public when visiting New Hampshire. In 2009 the Granite State makes public urination a legal violation punishable by a $1,000 fine.
Is the minimum wage also increasing in your state? Are their new laws going to effect in your area? Tell us in the comments section!
Curt K. (The Undercover Lawyer)