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

The Nigerian Immigration Ban and its Potential Impact on Houston Employers

President Trump’s recent decision to add Nigeria to the restricted travel list not only surprised the Nigerian government, but also many Houston businesses that provide services for the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Houston also has the largest community of Nigerian immigrants in the country, which is also one of the most educated immigrant groups in the United States: 17 percent of Nigerians in the United States have master’s degrees and 4 percent have doctorates. Many Nigerians currently work in the Houston oil and gas sector and the Houston medical center.

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  • 06
  • February
  • 2020

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Watch It on Weight Issues in Washington

I recently had occasion to write about cities and states revisiting their laws related to obesity as a protected characteristic and the potential for liability for disability discrimination on the basis of perceived obesity. Case in point, on January 30, the Ninth Circuit overturned a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a job applicant on the basis that a jury could find that his prospective employer BNSF Railway Company’s perception that he was obese played a significant role in the company’s decision not to hire him, in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”).

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Dealing with the Coronavirus in the Workplace

The general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide a workplace which is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employee.” While it’s unlikely that OSHA inspectors are going to be scrutinizing how most employers — outside those in the health care industry — are handling the potential threat of the spread of the coronavirus, employers should start thinking about what steps they will take to minimize the threat of infection to their employees.

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  • 30
  • January
  • 2020

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New Jersey Warns Us to Watch for Mini-WARNs

We are all familiar with the federal WARN Act, which requires that employers give defined notices to employees ahead of certain layoffs or plant closings, but it is more difficult for employers to keep abreast of the ever-changing landscape of “Mini-WARN Acts” (the aptly nicknamed state laws that imitate the notice requirements of the WARN Act at the state level). Just last week, for example, New Jersey enacted significant amendments to its own Mini-WARN statute. New Jersey’s amendments go into effect July 19, 2020.

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  • 28
  • January
  • 2020

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Pointers for Working with Foreign Employment Counsel

Working with foreign employment counsel on a challenging employment issue can sometimes be a frustrating experience, particularly if the advice you receive on a proposed course of action is simply “no, you can’t do that under our law.” Here are some pointers for in-house lawyers and HR professionals to try to make the process of getting local law advice more productive and efficient.

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And a Happy New Year to California Employers...

Last week, we talked here about some new challenges for New York employers in the new year, and how New York was in the running to supersede California as the toughest state for employers. Alas, notwithstanding the efforts of the New York legislature, California still retains its crown as the most challenging state for employers.

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Whose Employees are They Anyway? DOL Issues New Rule on Joint Employers

Last week, the Department of Labor issued a new, final rule defining the test needed to determine joint employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule narrows the factors which agencies and courts should consider in finding this status, and it offers employers a certain amount of clarity on the doctrine. This adds to the continued attempt to divine the term “employee” under U.S. law that we have addressed in the past (e.g., here and here).

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  • 14
  • January
  • 2020

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One Promotion Too Far

As employment lawyers, we see all sorts of reasons for businesses deciding to terminate employees, ranging from gross misconduct to plant closures. But there is one scenario that comes up from time to time that always strikes me as a particularly unfortunate loss of talent – when a good employee gets promoted into a role they are simply not suited for.

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  • 07
  • January
  • 2020

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Caught Between a Rock (Labor Law) and a Hard Place (Employment Law)

What would you do if one morning you saw on the overtime volunteer list on your company bulletin board that an employee had handwritten across the top of the list the words “Whore Board?” I think I know: You would fire that employee, assuming you could identify who it was. However, what if this all happened in the context of a dispute over the assignment of overtime between your company, its union, and its employees? Would you still make the same choice?

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  • 02
  • January
  • 2020

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RE: Company Email Policies

As I’m sure many of you are intimately aware, communicating with coworkers via email is central to millions of employees’ roles in the modern workplace. Given email’s ubiquity, employers across the country often maintain email and communications policies in the hopes of regulating what the business email systems can and cannot be used for.

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  • 20
  • December
  • 2019

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“The First Rule of this Workplace Investigation is…”

“…You will not talk about this investigation with your coworkers.” Or at least this is the first thing that many employers have long told employees who are interviewed in workplace investigations. (Though ideally, the FIRST thing that employees should be told is that they will not be retaliated against for speaking truthfully during their interviews).

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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