According to Ballotpedia, 148 state ballot initiatives in 35 states (and a large number of city-wide ballot initiatives) are currently certified for the November 8 election, and many of them are directly related to employment law issues and concerns.
This year's crop, the highest number of citizen initiatives on the ballot since 2008, includes raising the minimum wage (Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Washington), legalizing marijuana (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota) and mandating paid sick leave.
According to Littler law firm blog post, one of the most multi-faceted, expansive ballot votes will be on Seattle Initiative 124, which would impose "new and significant health and safety, healthcare and hiring requirements" on the Emerald City’s hotel industry.
Among other provisions, the Seattle measure would require hotel employers to institute protections regarding sexual assault and harassment, take steps to prevent on-the-job injury, offset the cost of health insurance, and retain workers in the event of a change in ownership. On paper, they sound reasonable. But they can be very expensive for employers.
For example, Littler explains, the security measures include providing panic buttons to employees who are involved with in-room services; maintaining records of guests staff members have accused of sexual assault or harassment, and preventing them from patronizing the hotel for at least three years; and posting information about these protections.
For employers in the Seattle hotel industry, the outcomes could be complicated if Initiative 124 gets the popular thumbs up. But across the country, the marijuana and minimum wage issue votes will also have an impact in this election and in elections to come.