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

SEC’s Safe-Harbor Whistleblower Provision Proves Treacherous to Companies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) made additional waves since last month’s post, by recently announcing the first monetary award under the Dodd-Frank safe-harbor provisions. The Dodd-Frank Act allows individuals who report information about possible securities violations to the SEC to recover an award of between 10 and 30 percent of any sanctions levied of more than $1 million. To qualify for an award as a whistleblower, the information provided must be “original.” This means that the SEC needed to receive the information from the whistleblower first, and not from another agency. There is an exception to this rule however (called the “safe harbor”): As long as the whistleblower sends the information to the SEC within 120 days after first reporting the same information to another agency, then the SEC will treat the information as original.

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Responding to #MeToo Part I: Building an Effective Anti-harassment Training Program

The #MeToo movement presents unique challenges not only for human resources managers and general counsel, but also for boards that are increasingly recognizing the reputational damage that can be caused by workplace complaints. What is the best way to prevent workplace harassment from happening in the first place? In this video, Chris Bacon, describes three fundamental components of all effective anti-harassment training programs: they have support from upper management, are structured to be interactive, and promote empathy as a way of discouraging people from feeling threatened by corporate diversity efforts. 

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  • 01
  • May
  • 2018

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Drugs and Guns

Worker shortages, relaxed views on drug use in the context of an opioid abuse epidemic, and issues related to gun violence are creating new challenges in workplaces in the United States. Record-low unemployment and increasingly limited immigration options are making qualified candidates more difficult to find. The movement to legalize marijuana has taken hold in America; despite marijuana’s use remaining a federal crime, there are nine states and Washington D.C. that have legalized its use. And concerns over both workplace gun violence and individual gun rights have intensified. These cultural and economic factors present challenges to employers seeking to respect individual rights while maintaining safe and lawful workplaces.

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  • 24
  • April
  • 2018

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DOL Clarifies Travel Time Regulations

One of the more complicated issues for payroll managers is determining when they must pay a non-exempt employee for their travel time. The rules for single day trips have always been fairly simple; most travel time (except ordinary home-to-work travel) is usually compensable, except for travel from an employee’s home to the airport, in which case, the clock starts when the employee arrives at the airport and stops when the employee returns to the airport in their home city. If the employee’s flight is delayed, the time is compensable.

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  • 19
  • April
  • 2018

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Title VII Protection for Transgender Status and Sexual Orientation

Several circuit courts — including, most recently, the Second Circuit in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. — have decided whether sexual orientation and transgender status are protected characteristics under Title VII (we discussed one of those decisions here). Courts in our neck of the woods, however, have offered little guidance in this area so far. Although the Fifth Circuit (covering Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) has yet to weigh in on these issues, a Texas federal court recently issued the first decision in the state indicating that sexual orientation may be protected (Title VII’s applicability to transgender status has been considered by at least one Texas court to date).

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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