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Caroline Burnett is a Professional Support Lawyer in Baker McKenzie’s North America Employment & Compensation Group. Caroline is passionate about analyzing trends in US and global employment law and developing innovative solutions to help multinationals stay ahead of the curve. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie in 2016, she had a broad employment law practice at a full-service, national firm. Caroline holds a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law (2008) and a B.A. from Brown University (2002).

Please join us for a complimentary breakfast briefing in Los Angeles on October 16 and in Palo Alto on October 17 to study new employment law updates from Asia Pacific.

Baker McKenzie’s employment law attorneys from Australia, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan are coming to California to translate the recent trends, make sense of new laws and break down the hot topics facing US multinational employers operating in those countries today. Topics include:

  • Workplace gender equality reporting in Australia
  • The #MeToo movement in China
  • Work hour flexibility in Taiwan
  • Major employment law changes expected in Singapore
  • Contracting in the Philippines
  • Recent bonus/share option avoidance cases in Hong Kong

Click here for more details, including how to register.

California just became the first state to require companies to put female directors on their boards.

“Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long, it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America,” Governor Jerry Brown wrote in signing Senate Bill 826 into law on September 30. The legislation appears sparked by recent debates around sexual harassment, workplace culture and gender equality, and it comes less than one year after Brown signed the state’s salary history ban.

Continue Reading California Becomes First State To Mandate Female Board Of Directors

This month the California Supreme Court reaffirmed that workers’ compensation laws are the exclusive remedy for an employee’s injuries. In King v. CompPartners, the Court ruled that an employee’s tort claims against a utilization review company and a doctor performing a mandatory utilization review were preempted. In so doing, the Court reminded employees that the Court construes the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) liberally and broadly, in favor of awarding workers’ compensation, not in permitting civil litigation.

 

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Affirms Broad And Liberal Construction Of Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Provision

Since January 1, 2018, California law has prohibited employers from asking applicants about their salary history. Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2282 into law to clarify several aspects of the salary history ban.

Continue Reading California Clarifies Its Salary History Ban, Making It Easier For Employers To Comply

Last week, in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation (Case No. S234969), the California Supreme Court weighed in for the first time on the viability of a de minimis defense to California wage and hour claims.

Many commentators have since rushed to declare that “de minimis” is dead. Not so.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Leaves Open The Possibility Of A De Minimis Defense For Wage And Hour Claims – But Not Under The Facts Of This Case

On June 11, the UK Government released a draft statutory instrument (The Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018) and accompanying FAQs, which, subject only to Parliamentary approval, will require additional disclosures to be made in the Annual Reports of Listed PLCs* for financial years beginning on or after January 1, 2019. These changes will be implemented via amendments to the Large & Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Accounts & Reports) Regulations 2008.

These new reporting requirements are part of the Government’s wider package of corporate governance reforms announced in August 2017 (for further information on the wider package of reforms, click here, for further information on the UK Corporate Governance Code developments, click here, and for further information on the reforms affecting large private companies and unlisted PLCs, click here).

Summary of the Additional Disclosures Required in the Annual Report

Subject to meeting the relevant thresholds described below, Listed PLCs* will be required to make additional disclosures regarding, among other things:

  • The ratio of the CEO’s pay (the single total figure of remuneration) to the median (50th), 25th and 75th percentile full-time equivalent remuneration of their UK employees;
  • The impact of the future share price on executive pay; and
  • How the directors have engaged with employees.

To read the entire Alert, click here. Thanks to Stephen Ratcliffe and our UK colleagues for sharing.

* A Listed PLC, otherwise referred to as a “quoted company”, is a UK incorporated PLC with equity shares listed on the FCA’s Official List, or on NASDAQ, the NYSE, or a recognised stock exchange in the EEA. It does not include AIM listed companies.

Originally published by Bloomberg Law.

Pay equity is a hot button issue for employers in the United States for a number of reasons—reputational concerns are triggered with increasing shareholder demands for transparency; activist investor groups are pushing companies, particularly in the financial services and technology industries, to disclose gender pay data; and, in the wake of pay equity in the news, employees are asking more questions about the issue.

Compounding the pressure, the gender pay gap also can impact talent acquisition. A recent Glassdoor survey found that 67% of US employees say they would not apply for jobs at employers where they believe a gender pay gap exists. The impact is magnified when looking at millennials. Approximately 80% of millennials, as noted in the Glassdoor survey, say they would not even apply for a job if they believed the company had a gender pay gap, which drives home the point that focusing on equality is, among other things, essential for a positive employer brand in the US market.

Click here to read on.

On June 20, our partners Bill Dugan and Meredith Kaufman presented to the New York City chapter of the ACC on Minding the (Gender Pay) Gap. Along with two in-house counsel panelists, Meredith and Bill discussed strategies for complying with equal pay protections under state and local laws and narrowing the pay gap.

One clear theme of the panel discussion was that pay equity cannot be viewed in a vacuum. As Meredith explained:

With equal pay protections expanding, it’s a critical time for clients to identify and rectify unjustified pay disparities between men and women. An effective remediation plan may include salary increases, but employers also need to address systemic bias and harassment to root out pay inequality.

Another takeaway was the importance of maintaining the attorney-client privilege when conducting pay audits. Bill noted:

We regularly undertake pay audits, including an in-house analysis of data, for our clients.  Conducting these audits under privilege allows us to identify potential exposure and advise on strategies to reduce legal risk, while protecting the analysis from disclosure as much as possible.

For more on how Baker McKenzie is assisting clients with their gender pay and pay equity compliance, please visit our Gender Pay Gap webpage.

In a narrow ruling on June 4, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a couple celebrating a same-sex wedding on the basis of his religious opposition to same-sex marriages. (Same-sex marriages were not legal in Colorado at the time.) After the baker rebuffed the couple in 2012, they filed a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission pursuant to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in a “place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place offering services . . . to the public.”

Continue Reading SCOTUS Narrowly Rules In Favor Of Baker In Same-Sex Confectionery Controversy In Fact-Specific Decision

(Many thanks to George Avraam and Susan MacMillan for sharing this insight with us.)

Despite the longstanding nature of equal pay and pay equity legislation in Canada, on average, women still earn less than men. The Ontario Government and the Federal Government recently took steps aimed at improving women’s equality in the workforce and addressing the gender pay gap in these jurisdictions.

Click  here to download the full report, which includes helpful information on how employers can prepare for Ontario’s upcoming Pay Transparency Act.