New Mexico News & Analysis

  • 4 observations for employers in wake of Supreme Court's LGBTQ ruling

    Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, state and federal laws have been enacted prohibiting employment discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, and gender. Until recently, very few laws covered discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As the treatment of individuals based on their sexuality moved to the forefront, that started to change. Several states, including Utah, and certain federal government agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), promulgated laws and rules prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • COVID-19 and whistleblower protections

    As many states move into later stages of COVID-19 orders, employers have begun to reopen or expand their business operations. With employees returning to work amid varying levels of concern, an increasing number of health and safety complaints and wrongful termination claims are a realistic possibility. Further increasing the likelihood, a recent news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers they cannot retaliate against workers who report unsafe conditions during the pandemic. Here is a brief overview of both Idaho and federal whistleblower protections related to the coronavirus.

  • Colorado Legislature passes paid sick leave, other bills affecting employers

    In an extraordinary legislative session interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic—which led to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that lawmakers could reconvene after initially adjourning in late March 2020, despite a constitutional provision limiting regular sessions to "one hundred and twenty calendar days"—the Colorado General Assembly passed a number of important bills affecting employers. On July 15, Governor Jared Polis signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA), which goes into effect for covered employers with 16 or more employees on January 1, 2021, and for all other covered employers (regardless of how many people they employ) on January 1, 2022. Read on for more details about the new law and other important legislative developments.

  • How Wyoming workers' comp will handle employees' COVID-19 injury claims

    As employers across Wyoming struggle to reopen and get back to business, concerns mount about potential liability from employees' exposure to COVID-19. In a special session earlier this year, the Wyoming Legislature changed the workers' compensation rules for the coronavirus, protecting both employers and employees.

  • 5 trade secret protection risks to consider during pandemic

    In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, companies have changed their core business operations and instituted new practices and procedures in the blink of an eye. The changes, perhaps unknowingly, have created risks that could jeopardize the protection of valuable trade secrets. A trade secret, as defined by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), is information that derives independent economic value from not being generally known or readily ascertainable by others and that is the subject of reasonable efforts under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. Here are five ways the pandemic and its effects could threaten trade secret protection.

  • Racial tension coupled with COVID anxiety challenging workplaces in new ways

    It has been a long and tragic spring and summer for employers as well as society at large. The coronavirus pandemic sent legions of workers to the unemployment rolls, and others had to learn how to do their jobs remotely—all while dealing with the threat of an all-too-often deadly disease. Then, on May 25, came news of another black person dying in police custody, the latest in a string of such deaths. The viral video of George Floyd handcuffed on the ground with a white officer's knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes sparked outrage that erupted in massive protests across the country and abroad. Inequality and prejudice—not new issues in the workplace—came to the forefront, leaving many employers wondering what actions they should take.

  • Looking ahead after pandemic: Employers likely to see enduring change

    What's the world of work going to look like in the weeks and months ahead? Some workplaces in some parts of the country will be farther along the road to recovery than others, but few will go back to being just like they were before words like coronavirus, pandemic, and COVID-19 became all-consuming thoughts. The months of business shutdowns, remote work, and uncertainty have changed employee attitudes and employer practices—changes that are important for management to understand as employers move forward.

  • Bill expands FFCRA paid sick leave protections to nearly all CO employees through 2020

    Q We are a large Colorado employer with more than 500 employees, and some of them have requested paid sick leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for various COVID-19-related reasons. Do we have to provide such leave?

  • Does driving distance justify job refusal for receipt of unemployment benefits?

    Q Can a person receiving unemployment benefits refuse to accept a job offer if its 25 miles from her home?

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    #RecoverStronger Initiative urges inclusive economic recovery. JFF, a nonprofit focusing on driving change to bring equitable economic advancement, in June announced its #RecoverStronger Initiative, which calls on "impact employers"—organizations focused on talent strategies that make a positive impact on workers and communities—to be leaders. The companies involved, including Microsoft, Walmart, Postmates, and other large employers, have committed to business values and practices that prioritize worker well-being and economic mobility in response to COVID-19. The members of the founding coalition also have vowed to stand against the forces of systemic racism. JFF's announcement says strategies include more inclusive hiring practices, development programs that help employees prepare for and thrive in a shifting labor market, total rewards programs that create greater job security and stability, and ethical offboarding strategies that help workers position themselves for new opportunities in growing fields.