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

New Year's Resolutions for Modern Workplace Readers

If you’re a frequent reader of the Modern Workplace blog, there’s a good chance you’re involved in human resources and employee relations in some capacity, perhaps as in-house counsel, HR manager, or outside attorney or consultant. In keeping with a tradition for our blog, the Modern Workplace editorial staff has put together a set of New Year’s resolutions for our readers who can impact workplace policies and procedures for 2018.

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  • 21
  • December
  • 2017

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Merry Christmas from the National Labor Relations Board

Many companies and labor attorneys thought the General Counsel’s Memorandum issued on December 1, 2017 was the perfect “Merry Christmas” to companies hoping to see changes from national labor policy. The Memorandum was a nice stocking stuffer for many in and of itself, because, among other things, it rescinded various Obama-Era prosecutorial priorities intended to extend labor-friendly policies. Little did we know at the time, but the Board had already wrapped four Elmo-sized Christmas presents (decisions overturning several key Obama-Era precedents) and placed them under the Christmas tree.

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  • 19
  • December
  • 2017

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When Is an Employee's Home Office an Employer's Home Office

The modern workforce is everywhere, even in your employees’ homes. Sometimes those homes are in different states from your headquarters. But what happens when an employer’s only operations in a state is an employee who is working out of his den? Can an employer be sued in a state where it has no office other than an employee’s in-home office?

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  • 15
  • December
  • 2017

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Two Birds With One Stone — The NLRB Reverses Two Major Obama-Era Decisions

We’ve been talking for months now about when the National Labor Relations Board would finally begin rolling back the Obama-Era Board’s expansive policies, and last week, the Board’s new General Counsel levelled his sights on many of those policies, albeit in a non-binding memorandum. Well, this Thursday, the Board overturned not one, but two of those policies.

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  • 14
  • December
  • 2017

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December 15, 2017 OSHA Reporting Deadline Still in Place … at Least For Now

Given the new administration’s propensity to extend deadlines for compliance with Obama-era regulations, it’s not surprising that many employers are unsure whether they must electronically report injury and illness data through the OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application, which was launched on August 1, 2017. Well, at least for now, the previously extended deadline of December 15, 2017, is still in effect.

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  • 07
  • December
  • 2017

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Lessons From an Agreement With 21st Century Fox

Shortly before Thanksgiving, 21st Century Fox settled a derivative shareholder case related to a number of sexual harassment scandals at Fox. As part of that settlement, Fox entered into an agreement for non-monetary relief. Companies that wish to avoid being in the same situation as Fox might want to consider voluntarily implementing some of the terms of Fox’s non-monetary relief agreement.

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  • 06
  • December
  • 2017

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A Sea Change – A Modern Workplace Series Digesting the NLRB General Counsel's Sweeping Reforms

It’s no secret that the NLRB has been subject to some swings in policy over the years, largely based on which party is in power. But many agree that the pace of these changes accelerated significantly under President Obama’s general counsel and Board. The new General Counsel of the NLRB—Peter Robb—made clear in a Memorandum he issued Friday, December 1 that he’s among those who wants to roll back many of those policy changes. Because of the breadth of the Memorandum, which takes aim at a broad swath of issues that have characterized the area of labor law over the last eight years, over the next several weeks, the Modern Workplace blog will individually examine some of the potential policy implications of this Memorandum.

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  • 30
  • November
  • 2017

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There Are Limits — CSB Cannot Ask for Everything

The Chemical Safety Board has been a magnet for controversy. Over the years, it has used its broad mandate from Congress to pursue lengthy and sweeping investigations. With an authorization from Congress to investigate the probable cause of any accidental release resulting in a fatality, serious injury or substantial property damages and to issue periodic reports recommending majors to reduce the consequences of accidental releases, it is difficult to see what limits on CSB’s investigative powers exist.

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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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  • 21
  • November
  • 2017

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Giving Your Employees a Reason to be Thankful by Keeping Them Safe

Recent court decisions and those of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission support the point that OSHA may not cite an employer for a violation when that employer has not exposed an employee to the alleged violative circumstances. This is an important point when an employer is considering staffing and job assignments, workplace layout, and safety policies. In facilities where there are moving vehicles, conveyer belts, or harmful chemicals being used, employers can reduce exposure to any potential hazards by placing controls in locations where employees perform their tasks, where they move around the facility, and where non-essential employees are located while performing potentially dangerous tasks.

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Holiday Hiring — Don’t Get a Lump of Coal from the DOL

As retailers begin to light up big Christmas trees, play merry carols, and otherwise prepare themselves for a busy and festive gift-giving season, they and other employers may onboard seasonal workers to help with the holiday rush. If you’re one of those employers, here are a few key reminders to stay on the U.S. Department of Labor’s “nice” list this season.

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  • 14
  • November
  • 2017

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The Challenges of "Scanning" In and Out

As technology advances, so do the means by which employers manage their employees, including such non-glamorous tasks as tracking employee time. Some users have begun using biometric scanning technology (i.e., devices that utilize fingerprints, handprints, retinal data, or face-recognition technology) to track employee hours. But this technology is giving some employers headaches and leading to new types of lawsuits.

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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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  • 06
  • November
  • 2017

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PSM and Petroleum Refineries: Lessons Learned (Part 2)

In this second installment of our series on “Lessons Learned” in the last ten years of the Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program, I would like to talk about the requirement that a PSM-covered employer conduct a Process Safety Analysis (“PHA”). For our readers who are general human resources practitioners or general counsel, a PHA is an organized and systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with a company’s processes that involve the handling of highly hazardous chemicals. 

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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