While there are many things that distinguish American employment law from that of other modern democracies — including, for example, the lack of a “code” or a cohesive set of laws, the dichotomy between “labor” and “employment” laws, and the interrelationship between health insurance and employment law — the thing that most distinguishes American employment law is the “at-will” doctrine.
For lawyers, in-house or firm, a client’s alleged involvement in human trafficking or modern slavery can be devastating not only to the client, but also to the in-house lawyer’s position and the reputation of the lawyer’s firm.
Human rights are increasingly the subject of a range of requirements under both “hard” law — such as the mandatory obligations promulgated by governments regarding conflict mineral restrictions, forced labor prohibitions, and supply chain management under, e.g., Dodd-Frank in the U.S., the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, and the Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law in France — and “soft” law, which covers more jussive norms established by industry, civil society, etc. (e.g. the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or the private corporate governance of organizations such as the International Council on Mining and Minerals). New legal standards continuously develop, such as with current calls for the recognition of environmental rights within the field of human rights.
In the past, U.S. and Canadian courts have not been receptive to litigation of human rights issues solely related to plaintiffs who are neither citizens of nor located in either country.
In the United States, we are preparing for a very different Thanksgiving celebration than normal. However, while our gatherings may be more limited, we need to not forget the central theme of Thanksgiving.
One of the parlor games that labor and employment specialists engage in is to try to guess what a new and incoming administration will mean for our area of practice.
To date, seven countries have adopted justice and accountability sanction laws usually referred to as Magnitsky Acts. The United States has its own global version of the Magnitsky sanction regime.
Time will tell whether the current pandemic will result in a significant long-term shift towards remote working, but in the short- and medium-term, employers continue to grapple with issues that arise with employees working from home.
As the United Kingdom winds down the furlough scheme (under which the UK government funded 80% of furloughed employees’ salaries up to a capped amount), employers are looking at next steps, including cost-cutting measures such as reducing the size of their workforces.
The rapidly increasing importance of a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance to its business value, has been a critical trend leading into 2020.
Managing furloughs and layoffs in different countries has always been a challenge for U.S. employers who are often surprised to learn that no-cause layoffs in foreign countries are either illegal or trigger substantial statutory severance requirements.
Though my primary job is to provide legal advice, during the last several months, I have often found myself providing emotional support to my friends in human resources and corporate law departments who have been charged with conducting layoffs or furloughs at their companies. While it is never easy to terminate someone, it is especially hard to terminate long-term, well-performing employees.