Legislative Alerts – July 11th, 2014

Jennifer Gladstone

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Tennessee Negligent Hiring and Retention law Helping the Convicted Find Work

Ex-cons in Tennessee might soon find it easier to get a job.  The new Tennessee Negligent Hiring and Retention law went into effect on July 1.  Under the law, ex-offenders will be able to petition a judge for a “certificate of employability,” which says they are rehabilitated and ready to return to the workforce.   In return, employers who hire those with the certificates will be protected from liability suits if one of the formerly incarcerated employees assaults a co-worker.

Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey says, “This bill will help prevent future crimes by ensuring these individuals have access to good paying jobs and are not tempted to return to a life of crime.”

That protection for employers only lasts as long as the ex-offender’s good behavior.  If there are signs of danger or violence and the company doesn’t terminate their employment, the company would be liable if that person commits a felony.

Miners Go to the Supreme Court

The embattled EEOC continues trying to defend what some are calling its strategy of “sue first and negotiate later.”  Now, the US Supreme court has agreed to look at a dispute between the agency and Mach Mining out of Illinois.

The EEOC sued the mining company for failing to hire qualified female job applicants.  The government claims the company received plenty of applications from qualified women.  Federal law requires the EEOC to make a “sincere and reasonable” effort to settle cases out of court.  The mining company says the lawsuit should be thrown out because the EEOC didn’t try hard enough to negotiate settlements before taking them to court.

Appellate courts disagreed on whether “ineffective settlement efforts” can be used a defense against the EEOC. The Court will hear the case when it reconvenes in the fall.

Georgia Backs Off Drug Testing for Food Stamps

Earlier this year, the Georgia legislature passed a law requiring drug testing if food stamp recipients give authorities “reasonable suspicion” that they were using drugs.  A positive drug test would cause a temporary loss of food stamp benefits.

The law was supposed to take effect on July 1, but civil liberties advocates argue that this drug testing plan violates the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

Some of the bill’s sponsors planned to fight for the law, but have since backed away.  Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens the state could lose federal funding for food stamps if it goes forward with the testing. It could also face a federal challenge like Florida did over a bill requiring drug testing for welfare benefits.

Governor Nathan Deal, who signed the legislation in to law, says he will follow the attorney general’s guidance.

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Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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