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

Who Was Sergei Magnitsky and Why Should You Care?

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian accountant who had the audacity to claim that large-scale  theft from the Russian government was carried out by Russian officials. Shortly after making these allegations, he was arrested and spent a year in prison in Russia without being charged for any crime. Ultimately, Magnitsky died in prison of various health ailments. An investigation authored by the Kremlin itself found that he had been given inadequate medical care and was assaulted shortly before his death. 

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  • 09
  • January
  • 2018

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Is a Modern Slavery Statement on Your Post-Holiday To-Do List?

We have written previously about the UK’s Modern Slavery Act (the “MSA”) and, in particular, how it applies to multinational businesses. But many companies, including those headquartered in the U.S. with operations in the UK, are still unaware of their obligations. The new year may be the right time to consider whether your company has met those obligations. For those that have already published their first statement, it may be time to update that statement. For those who have not yet published a statement, it is probably the right time to consider whether you are required to do so.

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  • 28
  • November
  • 2017

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Australia Follows Suit with Modern Slavery Reporting Requirements

Australia is set to be the next country to enact legislation to address modern slavery, after the recent publication of a Consultation Paper by the Australian Government (available to read in full here). The UK became the first country to require reporting of this kind through the Modern Slavery Act (the “MSA”), which came into effect in 2015 and appears to have been well received by the business community.

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It’s Time to Get Serious About International Human Rights

Take a look at your company’s website. When you do, is it quickly clear to you that your company is serious about its efforts to avoid violations of international human rights in its operations? If it is not, it is time to get to work on this issue. Governments, courts (legal and those of public opinion), and the markets are steadily showing less tolerance for companies whose operations either actively or through neglect create violations of internationally recognized human rights.

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Activist Shareholders and Labor Issues – Staying Ahead but Staying Honest

A growing number of organizations and institutional investors concerned about international human rights — particularly forced labor or modern slavery — are using their status as shareholders to pressure public companies to take action on these issues. When such pressure is brought to bear, companies are well advised to respond quickly and with precision. Making unsupported statements in a human rights policy can lead to claims by both shareholders and consumers.

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A French Revolution in the World of Human Rights Law

Over the last several years, several countries have taken steps to encourage and, to a lesser degree, compel businesses to deal with human rights and environmental issues within their own organizations and in their supply chains. The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 is a good example, requiring companies to report their efforts to prevent slavery and human rights trafficking in their supply chains. What started out as non-binding guidance from the United Nations has been made into directly effective “hard law” in an increasing number of countries. The most recent example comes from France, which has imposed on large French companies a new “duty of vigilance” with significant fines for noncompliance. While the law will not go into effect until after review by the country’s Constitutional Council, the new measure signals that the movement toward codification of principles derived from non-binding international guidance is not stopping anytime soon and that enforcement provisions are beginning to get serious.

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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

Jacob D. Ecker

Jacob D. Ecker Associate

Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard Associate