Recap: Small Business Member Exchange Meeting - Employment Law in County and State

Posted Date: 
February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015 Recap

Guest Speaker: Michael Neary, Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd.

Topic: Employment Law in County and State

Clark Kendall, Vice-Chair of the Small Business Committee, welcomed MCCC members and guest speaker Michael Neary, Lerch, Early & Brewer, who discussed recent changes in employment law at the State and County level.

Employment law is critical for small businesses. Most of the enforcement is complaint driven so employers need to understand best practices to be able to be in the best position to manage employees.

On hiring and firing, there are a number of new laws at both the County and State levels that impact Montgomery County businesses. “Ban the Box” went into effect on January 1, 2015 and dictates when an employer can inquire into the criminal background of an applicant (at the conclusion of the first interview).  There are also laws as to when you can do a background credit check on an applicant.

With regard to benefits, both Montgomery County and the State passed minimum wage laws in 2014.  This year, the County Council moved to better coordinate implementations of those increases so that, beginning in 2016, they will both occur on July 1.  More recent initiatives have dealt with earned sick leave and flexible schedules.  These are discussions happening at the national level but without action there, it is likely that both the State and County will adopt measures to address these concerns.  It is therefore important, as a business, to understand that the local regulations as generic policies may not address location specific issues.

As an example, Mr. Neary distributed a chart that showed the variation in protected classes by jurisdiction. A number of miscellaneous issues from social media to military service leave were discussed. The best course of action is to have a process or procedure in place so that you as a business are being proactive in addressing these issues.  As business owners, it is important to stay informed and update the employee manual.

In conclusion, Mr. Neary reiterated that many of these laws are designed to help make lives better. They often have unintended consequences in the implementation. For a business, it is important to understand the rules and incorporate them into best practices as you hire and terminate employees.

A copy of Mr. Neary’s powerpoint presentation is available by request to MCCC.

Tagged in:

MCCC Strategic Partners