Last month, we were honored to have Paul Polman, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Vice-Chair of the U.N. Global Compact and Former CEO of Unilever, speak at our Global Employer Forum 2019 in New York.

Paul makes the very strong point that we need to create an economic system that is more inclusive — in fact, a more inclusive economy would be to the benefit of all of us.

It’s time to change business as usual. We all have an obligation to do business in a more sustainable and equitable way — to not leave anyone behind. Ask yourself, what’s the purpose of your business? What is your reason for being?

Put simply, Paul explains:

If you want to be around for the longer term, you better think of your business model as, not being less bad — that is basically CSR [corporate social responsibility] territory — but think really hard about your business model and how can you have a net positive impact on society. Because if you can’t have a net positive impact, why would the citizens of this world, myself included, let you be around?”

Listen to Paul’s inspiring words HERE

For more insights emerging from our Global Employer Forum, click HERE.

On May 14, the European Court of Justice ruled that Member States are required to impose an obligation on employers to establish an objective, reliable and accessible system that keeps a daily record of the hours worked. However, Member States have some discretion as to the system that is used to record working time, which might vary by sector or size of employer.

The obligation is applicable to all companies and all employees in the European Union.

For more, click HERE to read the alert from our UK colleagues.

The case is Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) v Deutsche Bank SAE, ECJ.

Forty-eight million people listened to podcasts on a weekly basis in 2018 (up 6 million from the previous year). For the busy professional, convenience has a lot to do with this growing popularity. Carving out time to read a complex article or attend a lengthy webinar can be tough, but listening to a podcast on your morning commute usually isn’t. That’s why firms are investing resources to produce podcasts that deliver breaking news and important legal analysis to clients and consumers.

Susan Eandi, head of our global employment and labor law practice, was recently interviewed by Legaltech News about the value firms find in podcasting. In it, Eandi notes how much clients seem to appreciate the “quick reach out” that Baker McKenzie’s podcasts provide.

They know enough about what’s happening during their commute to work that then they can sit in the meeting and say, ‘Hey, we need to be aware of this,’” said Eandi.

For more of Eandi’s insights and to understand what it takes for firms to produce consistent and timely podcast content, read the full article here.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has updated the National Labor Relations Act rights poster that federal contractors and subcontractors are required to display under Executive Order 13496. The changes are minor, consisting of a new telephone number for the NLRB and hearing impaired contact information. But government contractors and subcontractors should replace their current poster with the new version available here.

 

[With special thanks to our summer associate Lennox Mark for his contribution to this post.]

From coast to coast, state and local governments are debating and enacting legislation to broaden workplace protections for employee dress and grooming practices. And not surprisingly, employee complaints regarding employer grooming policies — that such policies contribute to discrimination by unduly burdening certain racial characteristics, religious beliefs or health conditions — are on the rise.

In February 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a statement of legal enforcement guidance expanding the definition of prohibited race discrimination to include discrimination based on hairstyle. The Commission explained that workplace “grooming or appearance policies that ban, limit, or otherwise restrict natural hairstyles or hairstyles associated with Black people generally violate [local law].” By expressly including hairstyle as a protected characteristic, the Commission effectively created a new legal claim for Black employees who suffer adverse employment actions because their natural hairstyles fail to comport with previously accepted workplace rules.

Continue Reading Employers, Are Your Grooming Policies Discriminatory?

As we previously reported, in January, in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the Illinois Supreme Court held that a plaintiff need not plead an actual injury beyond a per se statutory violation to state a claim for statutory liquidated damages or injunctive relief under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA).

(By way of reminder, the Illinois BIPA prohibits gathering biometric data such as fingerprints without notice and consent. It also requires data collectors adopt a written policy and a destruction policy for data which is no longer required.)

In the wake of Rosenbach, dozens more class actions have been filed in Illinois state courts. Following Rosenbach,plaintiffs can seek injunctive relief and statutory penalties under the BIPA on a class-wide basis. Despite the flurry of activity by the plaintiff’s bar over the past several years, Illinois courts have only recently started addressing such claims. The rulings since Rosenbach demonstrate a strong commitment not to deviate from the Illinois Supreme Court’s holding. Continue Reading BIPA After Rosenbach — A Broad Interpretation By Illinois Courts

Please join us for a complimentary breakfast briefing in Deerfield, IL starting at 7:30 am, Friday, June 21. The program, approved for D&I CLE, will explore why it is critical for employers to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace and the potential legal ramifications of failing to do so. We will also hear from a representative from the Illinois Chamber on recent legislative changes that impact Illinois employers.

Click here to view the full invitation and to register. Hope you can join us!

Hiring Entity:  When are gig workers employees?

Four Government Agencies & Courts:  It depends!

Trying to track the employment status of gig workers will make your head spin. Contractors? Employees? Super heroes?

In the last few weeks, four federal and California state agencies and courts — the US Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Labor Commissioner — have all weighed in on the debate. And, the answer is — it depends.

Follow our script below to help make sense of the patchy legal landscape.

Continue Reading The Essential Question Of The Gig Economy

How to bridge the gap between HR and legal to avoid exposure in the US and beyond

Effective HR departments are imperative to the operation of any company and functions including benchmarking and non-solicitation agreements serve an important need. However, increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators means that companies and staff that agree not to poach employees from others, or fix wages, are increasingly in danger of serious financial and even criminal penalties.

Join our Antitrust and Employment partners from the US and Europe (the UK and Germany) for a complimentary seminar on June 18 and 19 to discuss the current state of enforcement and to understand how to mitigate risk.

Among other things, we will cover:

  • HR practices under the antitrust spotlight: why this and why now?
  • When do legitimate non-solicitation clauses become illegal no-poach arrangements?
  • Benchmarking: can exchanges of data amount to wage-fixing conspiracies?
  • Practical takeaways for managing HR risks

For more details on the Chicago seminar on June 18, click here.

For more details on the New York seminar on June 19, click here.

We hope you can join us!

Once again, Baker McKenzie attorneys, industry thought leaders and key clients from around the world convened (this time in New York) to answer this essential question: What is the future of work? 

One consistent theme that permeated many of our discussions can be summed up as: Inclusion or Bust.

What does this mean?

It means that as global employers, we’re moving beyond a singular focus on diversity. As guest speaker Vernā Myers says,

Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

To truly reap the rich rewards of a diverse workplace, companies must invest generously and continuously in inclusion. Many senior business leaders predict that companies that don’t will be left behind and may actually cease to exist entirely in the not too distant future.

Continue Reading Inclusion Or Bust