New Mexico News & Analysis

  • NM expands sexual orientation, gender identity protections

    In the 2019 legislative session, New Mexico lawmakers amended the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) to extend the prohibition against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to employers with four or more employees. Before June 14, 2019, the Act applied only to employers with 15 or more employees. The latest amendment discarded the distinction between large and small employers. The only distinction left in the NMHRA between large and small employers involves spousal affiliation—employers with 50 or more employees may not discriminate against them based on spousal affiliation.

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • How to identify and minimize employee burnout

    You may have seen reports recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified employee burnout as a diagnosable medical condition. While that's not exactly accurate, the group has expanded its definition of the term in its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

  • Unpaid intern is not protected by ADA, ADEA, or Title VII

    In Disney's animated movie Aladdin, a homeless unemployed young man attempts to pass himself off as a prince with the help of a genie. His purpose is to impress a princess and be worthy of marrying her. It's a classic example of a person attempting to convince others that he is someone other than who he claims to be.

  • It's not me—it's you: how to break up with your employees

    Relationships—both personal and professional—can be complicated. Just like first dates, job interviews offer candidates the chance to show a prospective employer the best possible version of themselves: smart, charming, funny, and responsible. As an employer, you ask exploratory questions about a candidate's background, education, interests, and goals for the future to see if it's a good fit. If you both agree that it is, you start a relationship.

  • Workplace Trends

    Tight labor market tops HR concerns, survey says. Attracting talent has surpassed regulatory compliance as the top HR concern, according to the 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, released on June 24. More than two-thirds of HR leaders reported difficulty finding and hiring quality candidates, up from 59% last year. When asked specifically about challenges related to hiring, HR professionals most often cited finding qualified candidates (49%), retaining their best employees (49%), and finding candidates who fit their company culture (42%). The survey reported that as a result of those challenges, HR teams are increasingly willing to train job candidates who may not check all the boxes for required skills. The survey showed 85% of HR leaders would be willing to train and upskill an underqualified candidate, and 78% said their organizations have already benefited from upskilling underqualified workers.

  • Agency Action

    DOL takes more steps to advance apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) along with monetary awards in its continuing effort to expand apprenticeships. In the announcement, the DOL said the NPRM would establish a process for the agency to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). A 2017 Executive Order created the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which developed recommendations on how to best expand the apprenticeship model. The new NPRM reflects key recommendations from the task force. The DOL also announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. The agency also will make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.

  • Vague threat to spill the beans not protected by NM whistleblower law

    An Albuquerque teacher told his boss, the director of the charter school where he worked, that "he was going to tell the [school's] board the things that [he knew]." The board fired him before he had an opportunity to spill what he knew. The teacher filed a state court lawsuit under the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). On appeal, the New Mexico Court of Appeals found the teacher's vague, cryptic comments didn't amount to the kind of whistleblowing the Act protected. Ultimately, the firing was upheld, and the school's governing board never did hear what the teacher knew.

  • New Mexico passes Gender-Free Bathroom Act, other laws affecting employers

    The New Mexico Legislature's 2019 session resulted in several new laws affecting the workplace. As the laws go into effect, it's important for you to be aware of them and get your organization into compliance.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).