Alert! Utah Introduces Two Important Bills

The 2019 Utah Legislative Session began January 28, 2019, and will run through March 14, 2019. During the first week of the session, the legislature proposed two bills that could, if passed, significantly impact Utah employers:

H.B. 204 – Employment Selection Procedures Act Amendments: H.B. 204 proposes to amend the Employment Selection Procedures Act to prohibit employers from seeking information regarding an applicant’s prior compensation history from the applicant, or from anyone connected with the applicant’s current or former employer. The prohibition would not apply to information that is publicly available, nor would it preclude an applicant from voluntarily disclosing his or her compensation history voluntarily. Seeking an applicant’s compensation history could however be very costly for employers. The Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division will order employers to pay a penalty of: (1) at least $1,000 but not to exceed $5,000 for the first offense; and (2) at least $5,000 but not to exceed $10,000 for a second offense. Employers may also be on the hook for attorney’s fees in connection with a judgment for enforcing this new law.

S.B. 110 –Family Medical Unpaid Leave Provision: S.B. 110 proposes to enact Utah, state-specific FMLA provisions. Specifically, S.B. 110 seeks to provide eligible employees with  job-protected entitlement to three workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for qualifying reasons under the federal FMLA. An eligible employee under S.B. 110 would have the same meaning as it does under the FMLA. However, a covered employer under S.B. 110 would be any employer, public or private, “who employs at least 30 and fewer than 50 employees in the state for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or proceeding calendar year”. The bill is sponsored by Senator Daniel Hemmert, and seeks to balance the needs of individuals with the needs of small businesses; however, as currently written, the bill does not contemplate all of the complexities of applying and complying with this and the federal FMLA.

This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of bills which may affect Utah employers. As the session progresses, new bills, and amendments to these bills will be introduced. If you have questions about these, or other bills that the Utah State Legislature has introduced and how it may affect your organization, contact your Employers Council representative. Additionally, if you have concerns about the proposed bills, you may contact your local legislator.