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(With thanks to Lois Rodriguez from our Madrid office for preparing this post in collaboration with Yana Komsitsky.)

Before conducting workplace surveillance, employers who want to monitor their workplaces, even if they suspect their employees of stealing or other nefarious activity, should heed the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgement in the case of Lopez Ribalda and others v. Spain.

In early January, the ECHR held in favor of five supermarket chain employees who had been dismissed after they were caught stealing on hidden cameras because the cameras had intruded on their right to respect for private and family life.

Continue Reading The European Court Of Human Rights Awards Damages To Five Employees Filmed Stealing From Their Employer

Seraphim Ma, a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Taiwan office, shares a broad overview of Taiwan’s new Act for Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals.

The Act provides a package of benefits designed to increase the desirability and convenience for foreign nationals to work in Taiwan. Currently, the Executive hopes to promulgate the Act by the end of February. While the Act is limited in applicability to specific fields, the passage of this legislation marks the start of an exciting era for Taiwan as it begins to compete for foreign talent.

Continue Reading Taiwan Passes Act To Encourage Employment Of Foreign Professionals

[As reported by our Baker McKenzie Compensation colleagues]

As of December 20, 2017, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to approve the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in substantially the form released by the Conference Committee on December 15th. The bill is expected to be presented to the President for signature before Christmas, making US tax reform a reality for 2018.

What’s In? From a Compensation & Benefits perspective, among other things, the approved bill includes:

  • Significant changes to Code Section 162(m);
  • A new tax deferral regime for options and RSUs granted by private companies;
  • Elimination of exclusion for fewer than expected employer-provided fringe benefits; and
  • Increased disallowance of compensation-related deductions under Code Section 274.

What’s Out? Fortunately, the final bill does not include a Senate proposal to require the use of a first-in-first-out (FIFO) methodology when calculating capital gains on sale of shares, nor does it add back any of the changes to non-qualified deferred compensation that were proposed in the initial House version of the bill. Also, most of the changes proposed to qualified retirement plans have been eliminated.

Continue Reading Breaking News! Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Expected To Come Into Effect In 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposes sweeping changes to the taxation of executive compensation and employee benefits. It aims to be effective as of January 1, 2018 – which means limited time to react.

This week our friends over at the Compensation Connection published a helpful alert regarding the proposed tax reform bill.

Click HERE to read a detailed outline of the key proposed changes.

Contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details and stay tuned!

Slavery and human trafficking has become a priority for many governments around the world.

The UK Government passed the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to simplify and bring up to date the criminal law in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking. The Act (section 54) imposes a new obligation on UK businesses to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement setting out the steps it has taken to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of its business or supply chain.

What businesses does this impact?

The requirement applies to all businesses that supply goods or services in the UK provided that it has an annual turnover of £36m. It does not need to be a UK registered entity. The turnover does not need to be UK turnover, provided it supplies some goods or services in the UK. The turnover of subsidiary entities (but not parent entities) is included in assessing whether the threshold is met. There is no requirement for the organisation to have a minimum number of employees, a minimum balance sheet total, or to be incorporated (or formed, if it is a partnership) in the UK. As a result, these rules will have extraterritorial effect and apply to a much wider range of organisations than just large companies under the UK Companies Act.

For more, read the informative alert (here) authored by our colleagues in London, Monica Kurnatowska and John Evason.

Reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for the steps businesses should be taking to ensure compliance with the Modern Slavery Act,  as well measures to consider taking with both suppliers and within your own business to address issues of modern slavery.

In July 2017, amid political turmoil and protests by the opposition and the labor unions, president Michel Temer sanctioned a new law implementing the controversial labor reform in Brazil.

Some of the law’s most significant changes impacting US multinationals include:

  • Labor Rights Negotiation: Agreements negotiated between companies and employees may override statutory requirements relating to labor rights such as: vacation usage, work shift, flextime arrangements, reduced meal breaks and remote work, among other points. However, some labor protections, such as FGTS deposits, minimum wage, 13th salary and vacation pay cannot be subject to negotiation.
  • Waivers and Releases of Labor Rights: Employees with college degrees who receive monthly salaries greater than or equal to twice the limit of benefits from the National Social Security Institute (INSS) will be able to negotiate valid release agreements and waive labor rights.
  • Outsourcing: It is now possible to hire service companies to provide services and activities even for those that fall within the company’s core business.
  • Remote Work: The parties to a remote work agreement shall agree on the use of equipment and payment of related business expenses (such as for electricity and internet access). The employee does not have to keep time records.
  • Dismissal for cause: Possibilities of discharge for cause by the employer are expanded beyond the situations under the current rules. Among these are loss of qualification necessary to the employee’s profession, such as a driving license, if caused by the employee’s intentional misconduct.
  • Termination by Mutual Agreement: Termination can be agreed between the parties, in which case severance will be reduced.
  • Mass layoffs: Collective terminations, also known as mass layoffs, will no longer need the agreement of the labor union. The same rules applicable to individual terminations shall apply to collective terminations.
  • Litigation: Employees will have to pay for court costs relating to any pleas that later are deemed groundless. Requirements for filing labor lawsuits are stricter and it will be easier to impose penalties against plaintiffs for litigating in bad faith by filing frivolous suits.

We thank our friend Leticia Ribeiro, a partner at Trench, Rossi e Watanabe (a Brazilian law firm with a cooperation agreement with Baker McKenzie), for her valuable contributions to this post. And, for more information, please contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer.

The White House announced on Friday, September 15, 2017, that President Donald Trump has nominated Peter B. Robb to serve as the next General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board.  Robb is a management-side labor and employment attorney, who currently practices in Vermont.  Robb previously worked as a field attorney for the NLRB, a supervisory attorney for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and then as the Chief Counsel to former NLRB member Robert Hunter (a Republican), who was appointed to the Board in 1981 by President Reagan.  In 1985, Robb began private practice representing company management in labor and employment law.  As the General Counsel, Robb would decide which issues to put before the NLRB for resolution.  A rollback of a number of union-friendly decisions is expected. Continue Reading Trump Announces Nomination For NLRB General Counsel – What It Means For Employers