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

Undisclosed Personal Use of Company Perks by Executives Draws SEC Enforcement Action

In an unusual enforcement action, on July 2, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) agreed to settle charges relating to “inadequate” perquisite disclosures in their SEC filings from 2011 through 2015. The perquisites identified by the SEC — which included personal use of company aircraft for travel to outside board meetings, sporting events, and personal activities, club memberships, use of personal assistant office time, and membership fees — total approximately $3 million.

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Look Before You Leap — “Weinstein Reps” in Corporate Transactions

As Louis Brandeis observed, sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants. The exposure and discussion prompted by the #MeToo movement has shone a cleansing light on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. One of the more recent developments on this front has been the increasing prevalence of “Weinstein reps” in corporate transactional agreements. But before a buyer asks for one of these representations, or a seller agrees to give one, there are a few points that should be considered.

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Conflicting Standards for "Puttin' on the Top Hat": Making Sure That Your Executives' Top Hat Plan Meets the Test

A top hat plan is a plan that provides benefits to a select group of management or highly compensated employees. Because Congress determined that a plan covering a sophisticated group of employees did not warrant the same protections as one covering the general employee population, it provided special carveouts for top hat plans under ERISA. Specifically, a top hat plan does not need to comply with ERISA’s minimum participation, vesting, funding, fiduciary responsibility or trust requirements.

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Pay Ratio Implementation: Recent Guidance and Practical Steps

The 2018 proxy season will be the first time many companies are required to comply with the SEC’s pay ratio disclosure rule, which was adopted by the Commission in 2015 pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. The pay ratio disclosure rule requires companies to disclose the annual total compensation of the median employee, the CEO, and the ratio of those two amounts, as well as certain estimates and assumptions used in determining the median employee and calculating annual total compensation.

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Hold Them or Fold Them — What to Do with a CEO in the Midst of Controversy

I sometimes wonder why anyone would want to be a CEO of a public company in today’s climate. Gone are the days when CEOs were venerated members of the community. Today’s CEO is much more likely to be facing off with aggressive shareholder activists, a critical public or an unfriendly media on the hunt for an adversarial story. Unfortunately for the companies that employ them, some of the attacks on CEOs are justified because of their behaviors or decisions. When its CEO is embroiled in a scandal or simply accused of mismanagement, what should a company do? When should a company hold onto its CEO, and when should it fold, and hope to be dealt a better hand the next time?

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Time to Review Nonsolicitation Covenants

I’ve found that it’s fairly common for Texas employers to have questions about the enforceability of a non-compete, but not so common for them to ask about the enforceability of their non-solicitation agreements. Yet, I often find myself in a courtroom relying on those non-solicits to try to get a departed employee to stop contacting a client’s customers or employees.

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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