Weekend News & Commentary — July 30-31, 2016

Donald Trump appears to have settled on a federal $10 minimum wage, despite his previous position that increases should be determined by the states. Bloomberg calls his new minimum wage pronouncement “the latest headache for Republicans,” whose recently-published party platform firmly states that the minimum wage “should be handled at the state and local level.”  And, in further Trump news, the Republican presidential candidate is seeking to hire dozens of new employees for his Mar-a-Lago Club and Trump National Golf Club in Florida. However, he claims he cannot find Americans to fill those jobs, and has applied for temporary visas to bring in foreign workers.

The New York Attorney General has been cracking down on non-compete agreements. The NYAG has been ramping up investigations under a New York Executive Law that allows the AG to investigate and remedy “unconscionable contractual provisions.” Recent NYAG investigations have lead to settlements with Law360 and Jimmy John’s, causing those companies to first, cease their practices of requiring certain new employees sign the agreements and second, to recognize previously signed agreements as unenforceable. New York joins a growing number of states that have outlawed or attempted to rein in the practice. Read more on efforts to reform non-competes here.

Lastly, Massachusetts is set to enact broad pay equity legislation this week. Recently, the state House and Senate voted unanimously to expand the current Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), and Governor Baker has indicated that he will sign the bill this week. The legislation will eliminate an employee’s previous earnings as a defense, extend the statute of limitations from one year to three, and allow for more expansive remedies for plaintiffs. In passing this legislation, Massachusetts will join California, New York, and Maryland, which have all enacted similar laws in the last few months.