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By Louise Herman

Whether you are an employee or employer in the state of Rhode Island, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest federal and state employment laws to ensure compliance. Several important employment law changes became effective in 2024. In this article, we highlight some of the key federal and state employment law changes in 2024. For assistance with your employment law needs, please contact an experienced employment law attorney. 

Federal Employment Law Changes

Religious Accommodations Standard

In 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) requires employers to meet an elevated standard for undue hardship when denying requests by employees for religious accommodations, thereby making it more difficult for employers to deny these types of requests. Title VII prohibits employers who have 15 employees or more from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of several protected categories. 

The Supreme Court’s decision changed the undue hardship standard, holding that an employer that seeks to deny a religious accommodation must demonstrate that the burden of granting a religious accommodation to an employee would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of business.  

Form I-9

As of November 2023, employers must use the latest version of the employment eligibility verification form, commonly referred to as Form I-9. The updated Form I-9 includes revised instructions and many key changes, including the following:

  • Sections 1 and 2 of the form are now contained on a single sheet.
  • The translator/preparer certification area is now located on a standalone supplement.
  • Section 3 is now located on a standalone supplement.
  • The list of documents that are acceptable now includes certain receipts, guidance, and links to instructions.
  • The updated form now includes alternative remote verification procedures that certain employers can use to comply with their Form I-9 obligations.

State Employment Law Changes

Wage Theft

The state of Rhode Island has increased the penalties for employers who engage in misclassification of workers as independent contractors and wage theft to the value of the improperly withheld wages, a fine of up to $5,000, and a potential three years in prison. Therefore, it is imperative that employers properly classify employees and refrain from improperly withholding wages owed to employees. 

Minimum Wage

Finally, employees in Rhode Island will experience a raise in the minimum wage in 2024. Specifically, Rhode Island increased the minimum wage in the state from $13 an hour to $14 an hour in 2024. 

Contact Our Experienced Rhode Island Employment Law Attorney

Whether you are an employee, employer, or business owner, it’s imperative that you keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. At the Herman Law Group, we are here to meet your unique employment law needs. Regardless of your employment law needs, our experienced lawyers will evaluate your situation, devise a legal strategy, and take the steps necessary to resolve your issue. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange an initial consultation with a talented employment law attorney.

Herman Law Group is based in Providence but offers its services throughout Rhode Island, including Bristol County, Kent County, Washington County, Providence County, Warwick, & Cranston. Additionally, the firm extends expertise in Attleboro, Boston, and across the rest of Massachusetts.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.