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

One Tweet, and the World Is at Your Door

Recent events show that all it takes is one tweet from even a midlevel manager of a company to create an international incident. We have previously written about having policies that restrict employees from speaking on behalf of the company when they are not authorized to do so. However, that does nothing to stop employees from generally saying what they wish on behalf of themselves on matters seemingly unrelated to their employer.

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  • 12
  • November
  • 2019

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Bearing Arms Part I: Texas Tips on Implementing a Lawful Firearms Policy

For three years, Texas law has allowed folks with a concealed license the right to carry their firearms openly. Texas continues to expand the rights of gun owners. In September, a spate of new gun reform legislation in Texas became effective, including looser restrictions on firearms during states of emergency and natural disasters, as well as new prohibitions against landlords from restricting gun ownership within their rented properties. Given this new legislation, we are starting a mini-series dedicated to helping employers navigate the changing landscape of gun rights and regulations in the Lone Star State. In this first installment, we’ll begin by describing the basics of firearm policies.

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  • 07
  • November
  • 2019

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Requirements for Lactation in the Workplace Continue to Evolve

States (and cities) across the country are increasing protections for employees that are lactating. Effective January 1, 2020, a new California law amends and broadens pre-existing requirements for employers’ accommodations of lactating employees, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. The new law also requires employers to create and distribute a lactation accommodation policy. 

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  • 05
  • November
  • 2019

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Call on Me: Properly Compensating the On-Call Employee

While firefighters and plumbers have long been used to it, more and more office employees are being required to be remain “on-call” outside normal work hours in order to accommodate the business needs of their employer. It may be an IT employee who is asked to remain on call to offer help to any executive who is unable to log-in at his or her home over the weekend, an administrative professional who is asked to standby in case a lawyer needs help with an emergency motion, or an in-house travel assistant who is asked to remain available to resolve an employee’s unanticipated flight cancelations.

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  • 29
  • October
  • 2019

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One Agency in Washington is Definitely on the Job

If your company is a federal contractor, do not assume that the current administration is uninterested in enforcing discrimination laws. In fact, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has collected record amounts from government contractor employers during the Trump administration. That is why, though changes to a complaint form would not usually catch our attention, this one does.

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  • 24
  • October
  • 2019

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California Criminalizes Arbitration Agreements

On October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that prohibits employers from requiring any applicant or employee “waive any right, forum or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.” Violation of the new law is a misdemeanor. The law applies to any arbitration agreements that are entered into after January 1, 2020. The law does not apply to post-dispute settlement agreements, to negotiated severance agreements or to employees registered with self-regulatory organizations under the Securities Exchange Act.

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  • 22
  • October
  • 2019

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When Onboarding New Employees, Keep An Eye on Privilege Issues

There are a lot of good folks out there who might help your company but who have noncompete agreements or other restrictions in agreements with their current or recent employers. To decide whether to hire such employees, you may decide that you should review their agreement, have discussions with them about the restrictions, and maybe even reach out to their prior employer. In that process, it is best to have legal counsel, either inhouse or external, helping with the review of the situation. It is a temptation to include the candidate in communications with the company’s attorney. However, be careful when instigating such communications because what is said – whether written or verbal – by the company’s attorney to that candidate may not be privileged. If no attorney client, work product, or common interest privilege applies, those communications may be subject to discovery should litigation ensue.

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  • 18
  • October
  • 2019

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Approved! NLRB Okays Workplace Policies on Media Contact and Confidentiality

Last Thursday, the NLRB approved a pair of workplace rules in a decision related to the protection of proprietary client and vendor lists and limits on who may speak to the media on the employer’s behalf. The Board grounded its decision in a common sense reading of the text of the workplace rules, finding that neither rule could reasonably be read to limit any protected activity, despite some minor points of textual ambiguity.

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  • 15
  • October
  • 2019

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Reading the Gay Tea Leaves at the Supreme Court

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the first LGBTQ rights cases to be heard by the Court since the 2015 gay marriage case. The issue raised by two of the cases heard this week was whether discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes discrimination “because of … sex” within the meaning of Title VII. The third case raised the issue of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people.

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  • 10
  • October
  • 2019

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What U.S. Investors Need to Know About Mexican Labor Law

In the late 19th Century, Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz described Mexico’s relations with its northern neighbor with the now famous quote of “Pobre de México tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de Estados Unidos.” [Poor Mexico, so far from God, but so close to the United States.] While one might expect Mexico’s President to share Mr. Diaz’s sentiments, especially given some of the public announcements that his U.S. counterpart has made about Mexican immigrants and the wall that he intends Mexico to build, the left-leaning Mr. Lopez Obrador has diplomatically ignored the tweets and gone out of his way to encourage ongoing U.S. investment in Mexico. U.S. business investors, in turn, are cautiously optimistic about the future possibilities of investing in Mexico, notwithstanding some concerns about a possible trade war, which Mexico has made clear it wants to avoid.

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  • 09
  • October
  • 2019

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De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

The death of an employee is an upsetting and traumatic occurrence. It is also very likely to be unexpected. Thus, it is preferable to have a basic framework in mind for dealing with such an occurrence before it happens. This post is intended to give you an overview of three of the many important considerations resulting from a death occurring outside the workplace. It is not intended to cover incidents in which a death or serious accident or illness occursat the workplace, on the job, or is related to work. For example, it does not address the requirement that an employer notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job (among other events requiring such notice).

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  • 03
  • October
  • 2019

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Don’t Forget WARN Warnings When Reducing Head Count

We have not talked much about the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) in recent years both because unemployment has been low and we have not seen many plant closings or mass layoffs that would trigger WARN. But much like solar eclipses and cicadas, the frequency of WARN events is cyclical, and, during the last couple of months, several of my colleagues and I have found ourselves having more conversations about WARN than we have had in the last few years. So this might be a good time to review the basics of the federal plant closing law that went into effect some 30 years ago.

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  • 26
  • September
  • 2019

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After a Long Delay, the DOL Issues a New Overtime Rule

In November 2016, a Texas federal judge enjoined the Obama administration’s regulations that sought to raise the salary-level requirement for white collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act from $23,660 to $47,476. Rather than appeal the injunction, the new Trump administration instead chose to withdraw the regulations so that they could be reconsidered.

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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