As we’ve done periodically over the past year, we want to advise you of some changes in various state laws that may impact your businesses so you’ll be better prepared when the calendar turns to October. Those of you with business interests in Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Vermont and Oregon may want to keep reading. Effective September 29, the new Illinois ban on employers asking prospective employees for their salary history becomes effective. In the state of Oregon, the small business exemption for requiring breastfeeding break times is eliminated and the undue hardship exemption is reduced to only employers with 10 or fewer employees are effective on September 29 as well. Further, the Oregon statute of limitations for employees to file civil action for unlawful discrimination is extended from one to five years on October 1. Similarly in Maryland, the timeframe for employees to bring a claim of unlawful employment discrimination or discriminatory wage practice is extended from the current 6 months to 300 days effective October 1. Also on the first of October, a new penalty provision becomes effective allowing for an additional civil penalty of 10% on damages owed by an employer for multiple violations of equal pay laws. And finally, non-compete agreements will be void in Maryland for any employee earning up to $15/hour effective October 1st. The Delaware minimum wage increases by $.50 per hour on the first of the month, jumping from the current $8.75 to $9.25 as a result of legislation there that was passed in 2018. In Arkansas, an update to unemployment law becomes operative on October 1 whereby an employee may collect unemployment in the absence of light-duty work for an individual on approved medical leave from his/her last employer. The state of New York broadened its equal pay law effective on October 8 to require equal pay for “substantially similar work” and not just “equal work”. This change means employers no longer can base compensation on job titles, but now must consider “substantially similar” assignments despite different job titles. In addition, on October 8, the list of protected classes under state anti-discrimination laws includes not just gender, but also gender identity and expression as well as race, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic characteristics, age and others! And finally, Vermont has amended its statute concerning criminal history records in that if an individual’s criminal record is expunged or sealed, they must be treated as if they never had been arrested, convicted or sentenced for the offense and employers are prohibited from asking about it.