After weeks of minimal legislative action in Springfield, House committees convened this week to debate dozens of burdensome business mandates and regulations.
The House Labor Committee approved several legislative measures that smack small business in the face. HB 3898 entitles workers to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, regardless of and in addition to any existing PTO that an employer may provide. The paid leave is also required specifically for any person working any number of hours, regardless of full-time or part-time status.
The Committee also approved HB 4850 to provide additional liability and a new cause of action against an employer when an employee commits sexual harassment or gender related violence, regardless if the crime occurs during or in the course of employment. The legislation even applies the liability to an employer for the actions of employees of subcontractors, despite the fact that a contractor cannot exercise control over a subcontractor or their employees.
HB 4116 prohibits an employer from having a “zero tolerance” drug policy and prohibits an employer from refusing to hire or terminate an individual for a negative drug test related to marijuana use. The legislation attempts to define an exemption for “safety sensitive positions.” However, it fails to go far enough.
The Labor Committee also advanced HB5412, creating the Wage Theft Act. This legislation makes a general contractor liable for payment of wages to all workers, including the employees of any subcontractor. Regardless of the general contractor’s payment to the subcontractor, if a subcontractor fails to pay its own employees, the general contractor may still be responsible for payment of wages to the employees of the subcontractor. The general contractor could be required to pay twice.
The House Immigration and Human Rights Committee also advanced HB4625, legislation prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an individual in employment based on “size and weight” of the individual. The legislation amends the Human Rights Act and makes the discrimination a civil rights violation. The legislation fails to recognize the inability of an individual to perform duties of the job as a result of “size and weight” and fails to recognize significant costs to an employer due to potential unhealthy lifestyle choices of the individual.