KPA Logo

Workplace Compliance Rules for the Mountain States

Emily Hartman /

[Updated 4/27/21]

Below is a round-up of workplace compliance rules and regulations employers need to know to keep their business compliant. If you believe there may be a discrepancy between a state and local order that affects you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Arizona HR and Workplace Compliance Rules and Regulations

January 1: Arizona Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana

Who: All employers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: The Arizona legislature has passed Proposition 207—the Smart and Safe Arizona Act—which legalizes the possession and recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 years of age or older. The state had previously approved the medical use of marijuana. The Act specifically disallows driving while under the influence of marijuana to any degree and prohibits smoking it in public.

The Act does not restrict an employer’s right to maintain a drug-free workplace or restrict the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees. The Act also states explicitly the employer can completely disallow “the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or cultivation of marijuana in a place of employment.” One exception is a positive test for the use of medical marijuana, which is allowed by law, unless the employee possessed, was impaired by, or was using the drug while working.

How:

  • Review your drug-use, drug-testing, and substance-abuse policies to address the use of recreational marijuana (and medical marijuana, if you haven’t already done so).
  • Update your HR Manual and employee-facing documents as needed.
  • Provide employees a copy of your new or updated policies, and make them aware of the expectations about drug testing and drug use and impairment while working.
  • Train supervisors on changes in policies and how to handle suspected cases of intoxicated employees in accordance with your policies.

Additional Resources:

Text, FAQ, and Analysis of Proposition 207

Arizona COVID-19 State Regulations

NEW: Liability Protections for Businesses

Who:

  • Nonprofits
  • School districts
  • Educational institutions or districts
  • Religious institutions
  • State or local government agencies
  • People who provide consumer or businesses good or services or entertainment
  • Health care providers or institutions

When: Effective immediately and retroactive to March 11, 2020.

What: On April 5, 2021, SB 1377 was signed by Governor Doug Ducey to protect certain organizations from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

The legislation states that it should be presumed that covered organizations acted in good faith and made reasonable attempts to comply with published guidance. Organizations that acted in protection of another person are not liable for any injury, death, or loss related to the public health pandemic.

Claimants must be able to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the organization failed to act and the action was “willful misconduct or gross negligence.”

What Should You Do?

  • Review your current policies and procedures and ensure they meet the latest government guidance and seek legal counsel as necessary.

Additional Resources

SB 1377

Arizona Together COVID-19 Stay Healthy Return Smarter Return Stronger

Arizona Department of Health

Arizona Executive Orders

NEW: Legislation Makes Mask Mandates for Businesses Optional

Who: Arizona businesses

What: On April 9, 2021, Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2770 relieving businesses of having to require mask mandates that were established by the state, city, county or other local jurisdiction of the state.

What Should You Do?

  • Consult with your legal counsel regarding any changes you should make or repercussions to your current face covering policies and procedures.
  • Review and update any face covering mandates according to this new legislation.

Additional Resources

HB 2770

Arizona Together COVID-19 Stay Healthy Return Smarter Return Stronger

Arizona Department of Health

Arizona Executive Orders

Paid Sick Leave Benefits

Who: Arizona employers

What: Although changes haven’t been made yet to the 2017 Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, there are areas of the law that employers should be aware of as they navigate COVID-19 at work and consider workplace safety:

  • Employers can waive the 90-day waiting period for new employees to use paid sick leave.
  • Employers may choose to lend paid sick leave to new employees in advance of their accruals
  • Employees can use paid sick leave for their own care, treatment, and diagnosis, if they believe that they may have COVID-19 and/or need time to get tested, they can use the available time.
  • Paid sick leave extends to caring for family members who are ill or need care, treatment or diagnosis. Family members are defined broadly in Arizona as being biological, foster, and adoptive parents and stepparents; in-laws, grandparents, spouses and domestic partners, siblings and stepsiblings.
  • Paid sick leave may be used when the employer temporarily closes because of a public official’s public health emergency declaration. Likewise, it may be used when an employee has to care for a child whose school or day care has been closed because of a public health emergency. Although Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency, employees can only paid sick leave if their business or their child’s school/care program has been ordered to close by the government or public health official.
  • Whether or not an employee or employee’s family member shows of COVID-19, if a heath care provider orders them to isolate, paid sick leave can be used.

Logistical Reminders for Employers

  • The request to use paid sick leave doesn’t need to be formal, although whenever possible it should include timing around how long may be needed.
  • Employers can request documentation after 3 consecutive paid sick days have been used, although they can’t request a full medical disclosure of diagnosis and treatment.
  • Any information about an employee or employee’s family member as it relates to paid sick leave must be kept confidential unless the employee gives permission.
  • Employer’s shouldn’t require details about an employee’s health in order to use paid sick leave.
  • Depending on the employee’s situation, they may also qualify for Family Medical Leave too.

Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act Background

  • Arizona employers with 15 or less employees must provide at least 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • Arizona employers with 15 or more employees must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • Employers can either provide a lump sum of paid sick leave at the start of each year or at an accrual rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.

How:

  • Guide and help your employees as they request sick leave and educate them about their leave options as necessary
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • Nothing in Arizona’s earned paid sick time regulations should be seen as discouraging or prohibiting an employer from adopting an earned paid sick time policy that is more generous than that required by the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Industrial Commission of Arizona

Arizona Department of Health Services

Arizona Earned Paid Sick Leave FAQs

Colorado HR and Workplace Compliance Rules and Regulations

Effective April 14, 2021: State Clarifies Public Health Emergency Leave Rules for New Hires and Part-Time Employees

Who: Colorado employers

When: Effective April 14, 2021

What: On February 23, 2021, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) released revisions to the Wage Protection Rules, 7 CCR 1103-7, to clarify when employers are obligated to provide public health emergency leave (PHEL) to new hires and part-time employees. Full-time employees who work at least 40 hours per week are entitled to 80 hours of PHEL.

The revisions clarify how many hours of PHEL employers must provide to part-time employees as follows:

  • The greater of the number of hours the employee is scheduled for work or paid leave in the 14-day period after the leave request, or
  • The number of hours the employee actually worked in the 14-day period prior to the declaration of the public health emergency or the leave request, whichever is later.

Tying the calculation to the date of the actual leave request more closely reflects the employee’s current hours and makes it easier for employers to calculate the amount of leave.

The revisions to the rules also state that employees who are hired during a public health emergency are entitled to PHEL on their first date of employment. This prevents employers from excluding new hires from PHEL benefits based on an arbitrary date that falls in the past.

How:

  • Create a new policy or update your existing policy in accordance with the revisions to the Wage Protection Rules. Consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance.
  • Monitor the CDLE website for sample notices and guidance on how to implement regulations.

Additional Resources:

Statement of Basis, Purpose, Specific Statutory Authority, and Findings Wage Protection Rules, 7 CCR 1103-7, as adopted February 23, 2021

Wage Protection Rules 7 CCR 1103-7

Effective Immediately: Colorado Clarifies Availability of Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave in 2021

Who: All Colorado employers

When: Effective immediately

What: On December 23, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (DLE) released a formal notification titled Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) # 6C that explains how the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) paid leave differs in 2020 and 2021, and how it differs from federal law, prior Colorado law, and paid family/medical leave.

Effective January 1, 2021, HFWA provides a new supplement of up to 80 hours of paid medical leave (dubbed Public Health Emergency Paid Sick Leave, or PHEL), which an employee can use all at one time or divide between multiple qualifying events. This additional leave is not a continuation of the 2020 COVID leave based on HFWA or federal law and applies even if the employee took COVID leave in 2020.

Employers with fewer than 16 employees are exempted from Colorado’s requirement to provide 48 hours of general paid sick leave until 2022, but these employers must provide the 80 hours of PHEL in 2021. Employers with 16 or more employees must provide the 48 hours of general paid sick leave in 2021, plus the 80 hours of PHEL. Colorado Revised Statute § 8-13.3-405, titled “Additional paid sick leave during a public health emergency” is the regulation that provides workers with PHEL and provides a list of acceptable reasons for leave related to the declared public health emergency as follows.

The only exemptions for PHEL are the federal government (but not a federal contractor or federally chartered entity) and employees subject to the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. There is one additional caveat: If employees already have paid leave, including paid sick, vacation, or personal time, they can take only the difference between 80 hours of PHEL and their accrued leave. For example, if they’ve accrued 20 hours of other leave at the time of the qualifying event, they can take up to 60 hours of PHEL.

The DLE also revised its wage protection rules to reflect the changes.

How:

  • Post the Colorado Workplace Health Rights Poster: Paid Leave, Whistleblowing, & Protective Equipment Poster.
  • Create or update your paid sick leave policies and any employee facing documents to reflect the changes in the law.
  • Train managers and human resource personnel on the HFWA requirements.

Additional Resources:

Colorado Workplace Health Rights Poster: Paid Leave, Whistleblowing, & Protective Equipment Poster

Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) # 6C

Wage Protection Rules 7 CCR 1103-7

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-13.3-405

January 1: Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect

Who: Colorado employers with 16 or more employees

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: In accordance with the Healthy Families and Workplace Act, employers with 16 or more employees must provide paid sick leave to their employees effective January 1, 2021. Employers must accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours, up to a maximum of 48 hours. If an employer already provides leave equal or greater to the required leave, that employer does not need to provide additional leave.

In a public health emergency, the Act requires employers to provide an additional number of paid sick leave hours, up to a maximum of 80 hours for full-time employees.

Other important provisions of the Act include:

  • The employer must begin accruing the paid sick leave from the start of employment.
  • Employee may use leave in hourly increments.
  • Employees may use paid sick leave as it accrued.
  • Employees may can roll over unused sick leave to subsequent years.
  • The law applies to part-time and full-time employees.
  • Employers do not need to pay out unused sick leave at termination.
  • Unused paid sick leave carries over to any successor employer.
  • Employers may require documentation if the employee takes sick leave for four or more consecutive days, unless it related to a public health emergency.
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees who exercise their rights under the Act.

Employees may take the paid leave for a number of reasons, including illness and treatment thereof; obtaining preventive care; helping a family member with illness or preventive care; purposes relating to the employee or employee’s family member being a victim of a crime; or orders related to a public health emergency that necessitate the employee’s absence from work.

Employers must post the Colorado Workplace Public Health Rights Poster in the workplace, and provide written notification to employees of their right to take leave without retaliation. This poster will be updated to reflect current information by the end of the year. Employers may meet the notification requirements by posting the Colorado Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) #6B to meet the notice requirements.

How:

  • Post the required employee notification by January 1, 2021.
  • Analyze your current paid leave policies to ensure compliance with the new law. Update your HR Manual and employee-facing documents as necessary.
  • Update your recordkeeping system as needed to document employee hours worked, paid sick leave accrued, and paid sick leave used. Maintain records for a two-year period.
  • Train HR professionals and supervisors to get them up to speed on new policies and procedures.

Additional Resources:

State Bill 20-205

Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) #6B (English)

Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) #6B (Spanish)

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Posters

January 1: Equal Pay for Equal Work Act Takes Effect

Who: Colorado employers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: Colorado passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, effective at the beginning of the year. The Colorado legislature reported that despite strengthening the equal pay laws, the gender pay gap persists. By passing Senate Bill 19-085, Colorado hopes to eventually close that gap. The Act prohibits discrimination against employees based on sex or gender identity (alone or in combination with another protected status).

Employers may not:

  • Pay one gender differently than another for substantially similar work;
  • Ask for an applicant’s wage history;
  • Restrict employees from sharing their wage information; or
  • Retaliate against an applicant or employee for refusing to provide wage history.

The final rules issued by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment were published in November 2020 and include an explanation of complaint, investigation, and appeal procedures. The final rules require employers who advertise a job in Colorado, including remote work, to include the salary or salary range in the posting, along with a description of incentive compensation and benefits. these requirements do not apply to jobs to be performed entirely outside Colorado or postings entirely outside Colorado.

Employers must notify employees about promotional opportunities on the same day the employer posts or announces the availability of that position. This requirement does not apply to employees entirely outside Colorado.

Employers must maintain records of job descriptions and wage history for every employee during their employment, plus two years after separation.

How:

  • Review and revise your policies and procedures for setting and approving pay rates and ranges. Include a statement that your business does not discriminate on the basis of any protected category with respect to the payment of wages.
  • Review and revise as necessary your policies and procedures for posting job and promotional opportunities.
  • Create and maintain a file for each employee to track the necessary data: job descriptions and wage history.
  • Establish a process for creating, modifying, and approving job descriptions.
  • Train supervisors and managers on the requirements and prohibitions of the Act.

Additional Resources:

Colorado Senate Bill 19-085–Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Equal Pay Transparency Final Rules

January 1: New Minimum Pay and Revised Exemptions

Who: Colorado employers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: With Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order #37, Colorado has amended COMPS Order #36, mandated a new minimum wage of $12.32 per hour (up from $12.00 per hour), and $9.30 for tipped employees (up from $8.98 per hour). The salary threshold for certain exempt employees increases from $684.00 to $778.85 per week. For employees in a “highly technical computer-related occupation,” the salary threshold for exemption is $778.85 per week or $28.38 per hour.

Other changes include new definitions to improve consistency between minimum wage, overtime, and paid sick leave standards under Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act. Among them, the term “employer” now includes the state, its agencies, counties, cities, municipalities, and school districts. The term “employee” generally mirrors the HFWA, but COMPS Order #37 excludes workers subject to the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.

COMPS #37 changed the definition of “professional employee” as well—those who are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime rules. The definition now is much more specific. It requires that the employee consistently exercise discretion and judgment and have advanced knowledge acquired by a prolonged course of study. The employee’s work must primarily depend on invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. The new definition is an employee-friendly change that expands coverage under COMPS #36.

COMPS Order #37 also exempts drivers and driver helpers who are subject to the federal Motor Carrier Act, as detailed in the order.

How:

  • Post the employee notification poster by January 1, 2021 to notify workers of the increases to minimum wages.
  • If you have covered employees who will be earning less than the required hourly amount of $12.32 or $9.30 as of the first of the year, plan to increase their rate of pay starting January 1, 2021.
  • Review employee classification policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new law.

Additional Resources:

COMPS Order 37 Rules

Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (“COMPS Order”) Posters

Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (“COMPS Order”) 37 Poster (English)

Colorado COVID-19 State Regulations

UPDATED 1/8/21: Mandated Face Coverings

Update 1/8/21: Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2021-007 to extend the face covering mandate for 30 days starting January 6, 2021.

Update 12/17/20: Governor Polis signed Executive Order D 2020-281 on December 14, 2020, to modify previous Executive Orders’ language and clarify questions on wearing face coverings in indoor spaces. If individuals must wear a face covering inside, even if they are sitting or standing still. If individuals are alone in a room, they do not have to wear a face covering.

Update 12/10/20: Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2020-276 to extend the face covering mandate for another 30 days effective from December 8, 2020.

Update 11/12/20: Governor Jared Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 245 on November 9, 2020, to extend the face covering mandate for another 30 days.

Update 11/2/20: Executive Order D 2020 237 Ordering Individuals in Colorado to Wear Non-Medical Face Coverings was issued to amend the list of exceptions to include those officials performing life rites or religious services that require the temporary removal of a face covering to complete the endeavor.

Update 10/11/2020: On October 9, 2020, Governor Polis extended the face covering mandate, Executive Order D 2020 219, for another 30 days due to a rise in COVID 19 cases.

Update 9/18/2020: On September 12, 2020, Executive Order D 2020-190 extended the face covering mandate for another 30 days.

Update 8/19/20: Executive Order 2020 164 was issued to extend mandated face coverings to September 13, 2020.

Update 7/17/20: Effective July 17, 2020, a statewide mandate face covering for all Colorado for people over 10 years old in all public indoor public spaces. There are certain exemptions for young infants and children and for people with a medical condition exists. Employers must post signs by businesses. If customers enter a facility without a mask, businesses can refuse their entry and service. The order is effective for 30 days from July 16, 2020, and may be extended.

Update 7/1/20: Public Health Order 20-31 Face Coverings for Critical Businesses and Mass Transportation was issued to require employees, contractors, and anyone else providing services for critical businesses and mass transportation to wear a medical or non-medical face covering and gloves when working. Employers “should make every effort possible” to provide face coverings and gloves to employees. This is effective from June 30, 2020 to July 20, 2020.

Update 6/22/20: By extending previous Executive Orders (Executive Orders D 2020 039, D 2020 067, and D 2020 092), Executive Order 2020 110 extends non-medical face coverings for certain workers for 30 days following June 20, 2020.

Update 6/4/20: Executive Order 2020 092 was issued ordering employees in critical businesses and government offices to wear non-medical masks starting June 4, 2020, for the next 30 days. Employers with public locations have the right to refuse service if customers aren’t wearing a face covering.

Update: Executive Order 2020 067 was issued to extend the mandate that critical businesses continue to wear face coverings. The Order is effective for 30 days from May 16, 2020.

Critical infrastructure and government employers must have employees wear any medical or non-medical face covering if they come into close contact with the public or other coworkers. If employers provide employees with gloves, they must be worn.

Be sure to check local orders for further restrictions and requirements.

Additional Resources

Executive Order D 2020 039

Amended Notice of Public Health Order 20-20

Public Health & Executive Orders Resource

Unemployment Claims

Who: Colorado workers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Update 11/5/20: Executive Order D 2020 242 was signed by Governor Jared Polis on November 5, 2020 to expedite unemployment claims for 30 days.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has been overwhelmed with unemployment claims and has asked individuals to stagger their claims submissions. Anyone working less than 32 hours per week and earning less than 55% of their average wage during a 12-month period is eligible for unemployment. These individuals must also able and available to seek new work and be actively seeking new employment.

If a person’s last name begins with the letter A through M, they should file their claim on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or after 12 pm (Noon) on Saturdays.

If a person’s last name begins with letter N through Z, they should file their claim on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or before Noon on Saturdays.

Other recommendations include:

  • Save often. Click the “Save & Finish Later” on the online application and then click “File a Claim” to return to the last page that was saved.
  • File during non-peak hours. File a claim after 8 pm or early in the morning

Employers can help inform employees as they leave their jobs about navigating the current unemployment system, if individuals choose that option.

How:

If your business is laying off, furloughing, or terminating employees, update your worker communication to accommodate this new process.

Additional Resources

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Colorado Information and Resources on Coronavirus

Update 4/27/21: Paid Sick Leave for Vaccination

Who: Colorado employers

When:

Update 4/27/21: On April 20, 2021, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) issued a reminder to state employers that under the paid sick leave law, all employees have a right to paid leave to get a COVID-19 vaccine and if they experience side effects to a vaccination that may stop them from working.

The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which took effect last July, mandates that all employers must provide paid leave for various employee needs, including preventative care, like vaccinations. Employees must notify the employer “as soon as practicable.”

Employers can’t require employees to get vaccinations during non-work hours but they may ask for documentation if the leave is four consecutive days or more.

Earlier in 2021, CDLE issued the Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) #6B to help employers understand and navigate the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act.

Update 7/15/20: Effective July 14, 2020, Governor Polis signed SB20-205 expanding emergency paid sick leave. The new law requires all employers, regardless of size, to provide sick leave to employees for reasons related to COVID-19 until December 31. 2020. Employers must maintain records of employees’ use of paid sick leave. FFCRA will be available for employers with more than 500 employees.

Update: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment issued the Paid Leave and Unemployment FAQ.

Beginning March 11, 2020 for 30 days or the duration of Colorado’s State of Disaster Emergency declared by the Governor, whichever is longer, up to a maximum of 120 days.

What: Under the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (Colorado HELP) Rules, specific employers are required to provide up to two weeks or 80 hours at two-thirds pay for employees who are being asked to quarantine, or are showing possible symptoms, or are being tested for COVID-19 [updated]. The emergency leave ends when the worker receives a negative COVID-19 test result.

Employers who already offer enough paid leave for these 4 days do not need to provide additional paid sick leave. However, if the worker has exhausted the available leave, experiences qualifying symptoms of COVID-19, and wants to be tested for COVID-19, then the worker is entitled to the additional paid sick days.

Sick leave pay should be calculated based on the worker’s regular hours worked at the regular rate. Employers should use the same formula they already use when calculating regular rate for overtime. For tipped employees, the regular rate is the minimum wage.

Employers in the following industries must adhere to this rule:

  • Retail stores that sell groceries;
  • Hospitality;
  • Food service;
  • Child care;
  • All levels of education and any related services (including cafeterias and transportation to, from, and on campus);
  • Home health care;
  • Nursing homes; and
  • Community living facilities.

Additional amendments were made to account for retail establishment employees and for the food and beverage industry.

Failing to comply with the emergency rule will be viewed as a failure to pay wages.

How:

  • Determine if your business falls within the qualifying industries (above).
  • Consult with legal counsel and consider if you need to draft additional emergency policies to accommodate the new rule.
  • Begin to provide 4 days of paid sick leave to impacted workers.
  • Work with counsel and your organizational leadership to decide how to handle any unpaid leave if any tests come back positive for COVID-19.
  • Require a doctor’s note before allowing an employee to return to work after a positive test.
  • Comply with federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) procedures when it comes to requesting and providing leave.
  • Inform employees about the emergency sick leave and emphasize that this is an emergency provision that is available while Colorado is in a state of emergency.

Additional Resources

NEW: Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (“INFO”) #6B

NEW: Press Release: Employees Are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave to Get Vaccinated

Colorado HELP Pay Rules

Paid Leave and Coronavirus Considerations – Colorado Emergency Paid Sick Leave Rules in Effect

Colorado Notice of Adoption as Temporary or Emergency Rules

Colorado HELP Emergency Leave with Pay 7 CCR 1103-10 (2020)

Idaho COVID-19 State Regulations

Liability Law Effective

Who: Idaho employers

When: Effective August 27, 2020 until July 1, 2021

What: Governor Brad Little signed HB6, better known as the Coronavirus Limited Immunity Act, which states that a business or person is immune from civil liability for damages or injury resulting from exposure of an individual to the coronavirus unless the business or person performed an act or omission that constitutes an intentional tort or willful or reckless misconduct.

Additional Resources

HB 6

Montana HR and Workplace Compliance Rules and Regulations

January 1: Montana Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana

Who: All Montana employers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: The Montana legislature has legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana. Starting January 1, 2021, persons 21 years of age or older may possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to four plants for personal use. The state approved the medical use of marijuana in 2004.

Existing medical dispensaries will be able to apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana on or before January 1, 2022. Medical dispensaries will have 12 months to apply before the state opens applications to the general public. Sales of marijuana for recreational use will begin in 2022. Individual municipalities and counties have the right to prohibit dispensaries.

The Act does not restrict an employer’s right to maintain a drug-free workplace or to restrict the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees. Employers may discharge, decline to hire, or take other adverse action against an individual based on their violation of a workplace drug policy.

How:

  • Review your drug-use, drug-testing, and substance-abuse policies to address the use of recreational marijuana (and medical marijuana, if you haven’t already done so).
  • Update your HR Manual and employee-facing documents as needed.
  • Provide employees a copy of your new or updated policies, and make them aware of your rules related to drug testing, drug use, and impairment while working.
  • Train supervisors on changes in policies and how to handle suspected cases of intoxicated employees in accordance with your policies.

Additional Resources:

Statutory Initiative No. 190

Constitutional Initiative No. 118

Montana COVID-19 State Regulations

Update 2/12/21: Face Covering Mandate Ends

On February 12, 2021, Governor Greg Gianforte issued a directive that lets the mask mandate expire although local governments may implement their own requirements.

The Governor’s directive states that businesses should make “reasonable efforts” to implement precautionary policies using industry best practices and in alignment with federal, state, and local regulations.

What should you do?

Businesses should check their local area requirements and ensure their policies and procedures align with all federal, state, and local rules.

Additional Resources

Directive Implementing Executive Order 2-2021

Montana Novel Coronavirus

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Montana Directives

Directive Implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020

Masks and Face Coverings Website

Liability Law Protects Employers

Who: Montana businesses, health care providers, nonprofits, and places of worship

When: Effective immediately through January 1, 2023

What: On February 10, 2021, Governor Greg Gianforte signed SB No. 65 into law to help protect organizations from COVID-19-related civil lawsuits, as long as the organizations made reasonable effort to follow public health guidance.

The exception to this protection is if the action or lack of action was because of reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct.

Additional Resources

SB 65

Montana Novel Coronavirus

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Montana Directives

Nevada COVID-19 State Regulations

COVID-19-Related Liability Protections Legislation Passed

Who: Nevada businesses, government agencies, or nonprofits

When: Effective Immediately

What: Governor Sisolak signed legislation, SB 4, which protects certain businesses from legal liability for any personal injury or death related to COVID-19 exposure. As long as organizations make “good faith efforts” to follow all health and safety directives, they will be immune from legal claims related on businesses owned or operated premises. The law also requires casinos and hotels to implement worker safety measures.

Additional Resources

SB 4

Face Covering Mandate

Under Health Directive 24, all residents and visitors that are over 9 years of age must wear a face covering when out in public beginning June 25, 2020. Exemptions from this requirement are listed on page 5 of the Directive. Businesses are required to ensure customers wear a face covering and have the authority to ban anyone who refuses to wear a face covering from the premises.

Additional Resources

Nevada Health Response

Unemployment Law

Who: Nevada employers and employees

When: March 18, 2020 to April 16, 2020

What: Governor Steve Sisolak increased COVID-19 efforts by closing all non-essential, public-facing businesses.

Businesses that are exempt (or an “Essential Licensed Business”) include, but not limited to, healthcare providers, veterinary services, grocery stores, pharmacies, financial institutions, hardware stores, convenience stores, security services, and gas stations.

Restaurants may still offer delivery, drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and carry out, and all food workers must strictly abide by all applicable hygiene guidelines including handwashing and glove requirements. Local, city, and county governments have the authority to enforce this directive. The enforcement includes, but is not limited to, suspending a license, revoking a license, or issuing penalties to businesses that violate this mandate.

Those exempted businesses should follow recommendations for social distancing of at least 6 feet as well as work and personal hygiene.

How:

  • Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is an essential service.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Governor Steve Sisolak’s Declaration of Emergency Directives

Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Press Release

Paid Leave Guidance

Who: Nevada employers and employees

When: March 17, 2020 for at least 30 days

What: The Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner released guidance on mandatory paid leave for employers and employees.

Employers can’t deduct hours from a worker’s paid leave balance if the employee misses work because of a state, federal, or local government quarantine order for COVID-19. Employees may use available paid time off during the quarantine at their option. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave may also apply if it is applicable.

Employers are encouraged, not required, to offer workers payment if they miss work time during a mandatory government quarantine and offer alternative working arrangements like telework.

Employers with less than 50 employees are also encouraged to follow this guidance, although they’re not normally subject to the state’s paid leave law.

How:

  • Continue to monitor federal and state regulations and review your pay and leave practices to ensure they’re compliant.
  • This guidance does not affect collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and/or policies that have specific provisions relating to mandatory government quarantines and leave
  • Consult with legal counsel to review changes you make to your practices to ensure they’re compliant.

Additional Resources

Nevada Health Response

COVID-19 Leave Guidance

New Mexico HR and Workplace Compliance Regulations

NEW: New Mexico Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Who: New Mexico employers

When: Effective June 29, 2021

What: On April 12, 2021, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham signed legislation that legalizes the possession and recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 years of age or older. The state had previously approved medical use of marijuana.

When in public, an adult may possess up to two ounces of cannabis but must ingest, smoke, or vaporize it in a designated cannabis consumption area. Adults may possess more than two ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extract, or 800 milligrams of edible cannabis if it is stored at home or out of public view. The new law also makes growing marijuana at home legal, up to six plants per person or 12 plants per household.

The law also allows for expungement of cannabis-related crimes that become legal on June 29, 2021 and that would have been lesser offenses if the Act had been in effect at the time of the offense. That rule applies whether or not the offender was convicted of the crime.

Employers retain the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and to restrict the possession or use of marijuana by employees. Employers may discipline or terminate an employee on the basis of a positive marijuana test result that indicates the presence of any amount of THC. The new law does not affect the existing rights afforded to medical marijuana users under state law.

State-licensed dispensaries will start selling recreational marijuana by April 1, 2022. Local governments cannot prohibit new marijuana business from opening. They can limit hours of operation and limit where new establishments are located through zoning and land-use requirements.

How:

  • Review your drug-use, drug-testing, and substance-abuse policies to address the use of recreational marijuana (and medical marijuana, if you haven’t already done so) by June 29, 2021.

Additional Resources:

Cannabis Control Division

New Mexico COVID-19 State Regulations

Face Covering Mandate

On May 16, 2020, all residents of New Mexico must wear a face covering. Face coverings are required for all people in public places, except when eating, drinking, exercising, and for any medical requirements.

Additional Resources

All Together New Mexico

Public Health Order May 15, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease

Utah COVID-19 State Regulations

Updated 4/10/21: Face Covering Mandate Ends

Update 4/10/21: On April 10, 2021, the statewide mask mandate ended, except for two cases: masks are required for large groups of 50 people or more, and masks are required for K-12 schools. The end of the mandates comes from HB 294, which ends the statewide mandate but does allow counties and businesses to issue their own requirements. Governor Spencer Cox issued a statement summarizing the new guidance.

Through Public Health Order 2020-21, everyone must wear a face covering indoors and outdoors if social distancing requirements can’t be maintained. The Order is effective November 9, 2020, to November 23, 2020.

Businesses must enforce face covering among employees and promote face coverings among customers. Additionally, businesses should post signage regarding COVID-19 symptoms and face covering and mask requirements.

There are exemptions to the face covering mandate that can be found on Executive Order 75.

Additional Resources

Emergency Flyer

State of Emergency FAQs (November 12, 2020).

Wyoming COVID-19 State Regulations

UPDATED 3/12/21: Face Covering Mandate Ends

Update 3/12/21: On March 16, 2021, Governor Mark Gordon’s lift on the statewide mask mandate ends. Bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms may all operate normally. The Governor encouraged residents to wear face coverings when inside public spaces and to adhere to guidelines that businesses implement. Face covering procedures remain for K-12 schools.

Effective December 9, 2020 through January 8, 2020, everyone must wear a face covering in certain situations including:

  • Indoors, waiting in line to enter a business or government building open to the public,
  • Whenever receiving health care services, or
  • When waiting for or riding on public transportation, taxi, or ride-sharing service.

Businesses must post notices that face coverings are required. The notice must be placed in a visible location at or near the entrance of the facility.

All employees, owners, volunteers of buinesses and government facilities that are open to the public, must wear face coverings whenever they are within 6 feet of other people.

There are exceptions to this requirement that can be found on page 4 of the Order.

Additional Resource

Statewide Public Health Order #4: Requiring Face Coverings in Certain Places, With Exceptions

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email Print Services: Compliance Services Services: Workplace Health and Safety Services Services: Environmental Risk Management Services About: Leadership Software: Online Training About: Who We Are Resources: Library Resources: Events and Webinars Resources: Blog YouTube