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

  • 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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  • 24
  • September
  • 2019

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T or F: Employers Shall Make No Rule Abridging the Freedom of Speech?

It’s been so long since I’ve taken a True/False quiz, and as a young man I generally detested the format. Although the answer to the question in the title of this post is False, there really is more to it than that! While the First Amendment does not apply to private employers and has not been interpreted to prohibit employers from setting certain restrictions on speech in the workplace, many states (including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and New York) do have laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their political views, especially political views expressed outside of the workplace. In such states, an employer who terminates an employee because of their political views could end up facing a wrongful discharge lawsuit.

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So Long Side-Hustle? – California Aims to Reshape “Gig Economy” With Bill AB 5

Last Wednesday, the California legislature passed bill AB 5, a sweeping measure sure to impact the “gig economy” and any business that likens itself the “Uber of _____.”  If signed into law (and the governor has already signaled his intention to sign it), AB 5 would require many companies to re-classify as “employees” many workers who are currently classified as independent contractors, so long as they satisfy certain criteria. AB 5 could force drastic changes to many companies’ business models, requiring them to abide by state minimum wage laws, and to pay payroll taxes, premiums for workers’ compensation, Social Security, unemployment, and disability insurance for their employees’ benefit. Companies impacted would also need to provide their workers the ability to collectively organize under the protections of federal labor laws. 

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  • 18
  • September
  • 2019

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Finally, Some Good For Employers in the Golden State

With the California legislature’s passage of Assembly Bill 5 on September 11, 2019, which sharply restrains businesses’ use of independent contractors, California businesses welcomed some good news last week from the California Supreme Court with respect to wage and hour claims and agreements to arbitrate in ZB, N.A., et al. v. Superior Court (Lawson) (September 12, 2019).

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  • 13
  • September
  • 2019

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A Collective Bargaining Agreement’s Management Rights Clause Is No Longer Meaningless

One of the biggest complaints that you will hear from employers with unionized workforces is that it is so difficult to implement minor policy changes during the term of a collectively bargained contract. For example, the employer may want to implement a new safety policy to address a recent increase in workplace injuries that could have been prevented had the employees been wearing the required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The employer adds a new provision to the PPE rule that requires employees caught without their PPE to undergo a mandatory retraining program on the first instance and be subject to discipline, up to including termination, for any subsequent violations.

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  • 10
  • September
  • 2019

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Property Lines No. 2: Where Charity Meets Labor Rights

Late last month, I wrote about how an employer balances its property rights against the rights of employees of third parties working on their worksite. The key takeaway from that blog post was that every employer needs to think about certain property-related issues if one of its contractors were to have a labor dispute with its employees. As I said then, it is always better to think through these issues before you are faced with the angry union organizers picketing your contractor in front of your facility.

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  • 04
  • September
  • 2019

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Less Documentation May Sometimes Be Better When Letting People Go

More often than not, when employers make a decision to terminate someone, multiple factors influenced the decision. Yes, the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” may have been the employee’s recent string of unexcused absences, but perhaps the terminated employee had other problems as well. Had the employee been a star performer who worked well with everyone, his immediate supervisors may have overlooked the absences, or opted for a warning as opposed to the ultimate penalty.

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  • 22
  • August
  • 2019

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Union — Employer Scandals Hurt Many Modern Workplaces

In many American workplaces, the union that represents the employees has been ensconced for decades. So long, in fact, that it’s quite possible that none of the current employees ever voted for the union that represents them. Even so, the odds of these employees turning against that union or seeking to decertify it are very low.

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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