Changes To The Contract
Contract principles apply to contract changes made by either party. Changes typically require additional consideration (other than simply continuation of the at-will employment relationship) and the employee’s consent. Such consent may be express (by the employee agreeing to the change) or implied (by the employee continuing to work for the employer without protest for an appropriate period of time after being made aware of the change).
Change In Ownership Of The Business
There are no general rules pertaining to changes in business ownership. Most issues, including transfer or termination of employees, are subject to negotiation and private agreement between the seller and buyer. However, if the employees are organized or represented by a union, the successor owner may be required to bargain with the employees’ union. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal law, may require the successor employer to credit employees’ length of employment with the prior employer when determining employees’ eligibility for FMLA leave.
Employees do not have an automatic right to transfer to the new employer. Whether or not the employees transfer to the new employer is subject to a private agreement/negotiation between the seller and the buyer. If employees are not transferred, they are not entitled to any compensation but may be eligible for state unemployment insurance benefits.
Social Security Contributions
Both the employee and the employer are required to contribute to social security.
Accidents At Work
Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) and Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 338 govern workplace health and safety. In most cases, state workers’ compensation law prevents employees from suing employers directly for work-related injuries.
Discipline And Grievance
There are no laws mandating a discipline or grievance process for private sector employees who are not part of a collective bargaining unit.
Federal and state law prohibit employers from discriminating in terms and conditions of employment based on race, religion, national origin, colour, gender, sexual orientation, age (40 and over), disability, or ancestry. The prohibition against age discrimination only applies to those who are age 40 or older. Federal and state law also prohibit discrimination against individuals with physical or mental disabilities.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended the Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act (“KPWA”) became effective on June27, 2019, and it provides additional protection for employees due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees in the state and prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, including breastfeeding. The KPWA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who have limitations due to these conditions absent undue hardship to the business. Reasonable accommodations may include but are not limited to: (1) more frequent or longer breaks; (2) time off to recover from childbirth; (3) acquisition or modification of equipment; (4) appropriate seating; (5) temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position; (6) job restructuring; (7) light duty; (8) modified work schedule; or (8) a private space that is not a bathroom for expressing breast milk.
Kentucky law limits the hiring of employees under age eighteen. Kentucky also prohibits discrimination “because the individual is a smoker or non-smoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking.”
Compulsory Training Obligations
There are no compulsory training obligations imposed on the employer or the employee.
Kentucky law prohibits withholding “any part of the wage agreed upon” with certain limited exceptions “when a deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee.”
Payments For Maternity And Disability Leave
Employees are not entitled to payment for maternity or disability leave.
The Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act became effective on June 27, 2019. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. The KPWA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with limitation due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, absent undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations may include but are not limited to: (1) more frequent or longer breaks; (2) time off to recover from childbirth; (3) acquisition or modification of equipment; (4) appropriate seating; (5) temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position; (6) job restructuring; (7) light duty; (8) modified work schedule; or (8) a private space that is not a bathroom for expressing breast milk.
Kentucky law does not require employers provide health insurance, although employers may be obligated to provide insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act in some circumstances. Kentucky law, however, requires employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance for work related injuries and unemployment insurance.
Absence For Military Or Public Service Duties
The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act governs military leave and reinstatement following such leave. Kentucky statutes also offer employment protections to members of the Kentucky National Guard.
Works Councils or Trade Unions
Employees have rights for collective bargaining and “acting in concert” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a federal law.
Employees’ Right To Strike
Employees have a right to strike. See discussion of Collective Bargaining rights in U.S. Federal law section.
Employees On Strike
See discussion of Collective Bargaining rights in U.S. Federal law section.
Employers’ Responsibility For Actions Of Their Employees
Employers are responsible to third parties for the actions of their employees except when the employee is acting outside the course of their employment.