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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

Internships Are Not Bribes, Right? Don't Bank on It.

The SEC announced last week another agreement by an international bank to pay approximately $30 million to resolve charges in connection with alleged improper hiring practices in the Asia Pacific region to influence foreign officials. The financial giant in this agreement joins several banks recently resolving FCPA charges in connection employment practices overseas.

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Keep Calm and Carry On: How Brexit Will Affect American Businesses

With many media channels and American businesses still wondering about Brexit, we wanted to cut through the noise and answer questions about recent UK and EU developments and what impact they might have (or might not have) on U.S. multinational companies. With a calming message of “Keep Calm and Carry On,” our cross-practice panel of London and U.S. employment, data privacy, and international arbitration practitioners explain how to navigate a post-Brexit/post-GDPR world. 

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Traveling Overseas for Work – Paid or Unpaid?

I recently traveled to Norway for business. On my long flight home, I began considering to what extent my travel time would be compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) (assuming I were a non-exempt employee, of course). This thought was not totally out of left field, as the Norwegian Supreme Court recently ruled that travel time for a police officer is working time for the purposes of Norwegian pay and overtime laws. This Norwegian decision prompted me to think about what the FLSA — which was enacted when international air travel was rare — says on the topic of international travel time?

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Celebrate Freedom, Hug a Lawyer

“I have gone to jail for what I have said.” That’s what I was recently told by a lawyer from another country when he received a call from a reporter asking him to comment on a recent decision from one of his country’s courts. When I asked him how careful he had to be with what he said, he described his time spent in jail for statements he has made.

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  • 29
  • June
  • 2018

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Don’t Forget OSHA’s July 1, 2018 Filing Deadline

Any establishment with 250 or more employees that is required to keep OSHA injury and illness records — as well as establishments with between 19 and 250 employees in a broad range of industries (manufacturing, many types of retail establishments, hospitals, etc.) — must file their OSHA 300A forms for 2017 no later than July 1, 2018. A list of those industries can be found here.

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A Monster of a Lesson on Managing Risks in Supply Chains

The worlds of shareholder activism and international human rights have converged to unleash a campaign against Monster Beverage Corporation. For some time now, shareholder activists have been pointing out that Monster Beverage uses sugar cane that is produced in many areas of the world where there have been concerns about modern slavery. Unlike some of its competitors, Monster Beverage apparently has not revealed much about its supply chain and has not performed any audits of that supply chain.

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  • 21
  • June
  • 2018

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Don’t Be an Ostrich When Dealing with Your Subcontractors

A few weeks ago I spoke about the legal challenges of managing contractors at the Texas Chemical Council’s annual Environmental, Health & Safety conference in Galveston, Texas. While it is “black letter law” that employers are not liable for injuries to employees of subcontractors that they do not control, general contractors in reality are often sued by the employees of their subcontractors after being barred from suing their own employers by workers’ compensation statutes.

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  • 14
  • June
  • 2018

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Much of OSHA’s New Silica Standard Goes into Effect for Hydraulic Fracking Operations on June 23, 2018

As we discussed in previous posts (found here, here and here), after surviving legal challenges and a 9-month delay, OSHA’s new standard limiting respirable silica exposure goes into effect for all industries on June 23, 2018. As a reminder, the new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) for respirable crystalline silica from 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air for general industry and 250 micrograms for the construction industry — which has been the standard for more than 40 years — to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for all industries.

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  • 12
  • June
  • 2018

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Reconsidering Workplace Rules That Your Lawyer Told You to Drop

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, employment lawyers like myself were warning our clients about certain policies and workplace rules that, despite being once considered common-sensical, had become potentially worrisome. Policies such as “Employees are not allowed take pictures or videos at our refinery”; “Do not disclose confidential financial data or other non-public proprietary information”; and “Employees may not make negative or disparaging comments about fellow workers” had suddenly become problematic because an employee might reasonably construe the rule to prohibit activities protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

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  • 07
  • June
  • 2018

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All Arbitration, All the Time: Court Agrees to Hear Case on Whether an Arbitration Clause Allows Class Arbitration When the Clause Is Silent on It

As we discussed in a previous post, the Supreme Court recently ruled that employers may enforce class-waiver arbitration clauses in employment agreements and require an employee to arbitrate his claims in individual, as opposed to collective, arbitration proceedings. Hot on the heels of this recent important decision, the Court agreed to hear a case from the Ninth Circuit which addresses a related issue: whether arbitration clauses that are silent about class arbitration can nevertheless be interpreted to permit class arbitration. This may not seem consequential since many companies moving forward will opt to use class action waivers in employment agreements following the Supreme Court’s recent decision, but standard arbitration clauses are often silent on class arbitration, and many of these clauses may remain in effect for years to come. As such, the Supreme Court’s decision on this issue could have substantial implications for employers that use standard arbitration clauses in employment agreements. 

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Cake Case Should Not Affect Employer Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination Against LGBT Employees

While the Supreme Court has not yet resolved the question of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have previously noted in this blog that there are good legal — not to mention moral, and business, reasons — for employers to take steps to protect gay and lesbian employees and develop a culture that is welcoming to LGBT employees.

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  • 01
  • June
  • 2018

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Can an “Applicant” Be Discriminated Against When She Hasn’t Applied for the Job?

Under the California analogue to Title VII, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire someone based on their “sex,” which includes a woman’s pregnancy status. Normally, to be eligible for protections under discrimination statutes like Title VII and FEHA in the hiring context, an individual needs to have at least applied for an open position. However, one California court of appeals indicated that, at least in some situations, FEHA sex discrimination may occur even when the plaintiff never applied for a position.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner

S. Grace Ho

S. Grace Ho Counsel

Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard Associate