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

  • 11
  • April
  • 2017

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The Duck Test: Case Law from Across the Pond

It is no surprise that this blog regularly returns to the issue of misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Classification is something that employers often get wrong. Figuring out whether someone is an employee or independent contractor is sometimes referred to as “the duck test.” If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck – similarly, if a relationship has all the characteristics of employment, then the individual is probably an employee as a matter law, regardless of the label the parties put on it. A recent series of cases in the UK demonstrates how this same issue arises around the world, but sometimes with a twist.

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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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  • 10
  • January
  • 2017

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Government Contracts: Be Careful What You Wish For

In what may be the last gasp of the Obama-era Department of Labor (DOL), the DOL filed suit against Google to force the company to divulge certain compensation data for EEO compliance purposes. The DOL’s complaint goes nuclear and seeks to cancel all of Google’s existing federal contracts and bar Google and its officers from receiving any such contracts in the future. Google has refused the DOL’s requests over the past year, and claims they are overbroad and seek information that is confidential. This is an important case to watch but, in the meantime, the dispute highlights important issues employers should be aware of when entering into government contracts and subcontracts.

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All Change? What the Election Result Could Mean for Federal Contractors

As the dust settles following the presidential election, one of the questions that federal government contractors and subcontractors will be asking themselves is which, if any, of President Obama’s executive orders affecting labor and employment matters will survive in the new Trump Administration. For example, will Ivanka Trump’s advocacy of wage equality help preserve initiatives such as President Obama’s proposal to collect summary pay data from employers to help identify equal pay issues? Or will such initiatives be swept aside in the first few days of the Trump presidency?

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The EEOC Appears to Embrace the NLRB's Expanding "Joint Employer" Definition

When talking to companies about compliance with federal and state employment laws, employment lawyers sometimes hear "Oh, those are contractors; we don’t need to worry about them" or "those are the staffing agency’s employees, they are not our employees." Whether it’s identifying potential liabilities in a transaction, determining what records a company needs to keep about its workforce, dealing with union activity, or anything in between, employment lawyers have learned that contractors and staffing agency employees should not be summarily ignored. Government agencies that enforce employment laws have increasingly held companies responsible for employment-related obligations with respect to people who are not considered employees by most companies.

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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