Legislation Affecting Labor and Employment Law Practice - Articles

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Posted by: Chelsea Bennett on Feb 26, 2019
As the legislative session progresses, many bills of interest to labor and employment practitioners are on the move. Here is a list of notable legislation that has the potential to affect your practice area:
 
Changes the time period considered the base period concerning unemployment compensation. Redefines "base period" to mean the last two calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of an individual's benefit year. Excludes temporary total disability from the base period and determines the base period from the last two completed quarters of work before any such disability.
Drug testing by employers. Prohibits medical review officers from considering prescriptions issued more than six months prior to a positive confirmed drug result for job applicants to determine immunity from actions authorized for employers to take.
Harassment of government employee. Permits an attorney for a county, municipal or metropolitan government to seek an injunction against a person who commits harassment against an employee of the county, municipal or metropolitan government. Specifies that the injunction may be sought in any court of competent jurisdiction having the power to grant injunctions.
Discriminatory practice for a person who is paying a non-employee for labor to engage in harassment based on sex. Declares that it is a discriminatory practice for a person who is paying a non-employee for labor to engage in harassment based on sex. Defines the act as harassment if the person knew or should have known of the conduct and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
Save Tennessee Call Center Jobs Act of 2019. Requires employers intending to relocate call centers to foreign countries give 120 days' notice before relocation, compiles lists of relocating call centers, restricts relocating employers from grants, indirect state grants, state-guaranteed loans, or tax credits or refunds for five years and requires these employers remit the unamortized value of any governmental support it has previously received to the commissioner.
Defining an employee and an employee-employer relationship. Requires the consideration of the 20-factor test IRS Revenue Ruling 87-41 to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor and whether an employer-employee relationship exists in the arrangement.
Revises Public Employee Political Freedom Act of 1980. Specifies that employers cannot terminate employees for communication with public officials, revises court compensation for employees terminated under these terms from treble damages plus attorney fees to compensatory damages plus attorney fees. Requires court sanction of filers of frivolous lawsuits intended to harass or economically harm employers be fined up to $5,000, and may award attorney fees and costs to the employer.
Settlement agreements — claim of sexual harassment. Declares settlement agreement provisions that have purpose or effect of concealing details relating to claim of sexual harassment or sexual assault as void and unenforceable and contrary to public policy of this state if settlement agreement is entered into by governmental entity. Specifies that identifying information concerning a person who is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault is confidential until such person authorizes the disclosure of the information.
 
Caption: AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 20 and Title 29, relative to settlement agreements.
Requires government payments to private entities not be kept confidential. Prohibits government payments, fees and other forms of financial benefits paid or bestowed, or agreed to be paid or bestowed, to a private entity from being deemed confidential trade secret, proprietary information, or confidential business information unless the transaction or proposed transaction falls under a specific exception as prescribed by state or federal law.