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Welcome news for employers: companies can require their workers go through arbitration to pursue any legal claims against their employers, rather than go to court or join together in class lawsuits or grievances, the US Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 vote.

Writing for the majority in three consolidated cases (Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, NLRB v.  Murphy Oil  USA, Inc., and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris), Justice Neil Gorsuch said the Federal Arbitration Act sets a strong policy favoring the enforcement of arbitration agreements, and employees of the three companies failed to show they had any right to disregard the arbitration agreements they signed.

The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written. While Congress is of course always free to amend this judgment, we see nothing suggesting it did so in the NLRA — much less that it manifested a clear intention to displace the Arbitration Act. Because we can easily read Congress’s statutes to work in harmony, that is where our duty lies.

The ruling means the various companies can enforce their class action waiver agreements and their employees will have to pursue their claims in individual arbitration proceedings. Please stay tuned for more to come from us on the actions employers should take now in response to this important decision.

Last week, a team of Baker McKenzie partners (Andy Boling, Doug Darch, Bill Dugan and Miriam Petrillo) led a lively roundtable in Deerfield, Illinois on the topic of civility in the workplace.

Attorneys from the EEOC (Greg Gochanour, Regional Attorney for Chicago Office) and the NLRB (Paul Hitterman, Regional Attorney for Region 13 of the NLRB) joined us in leading the discussion. Topics included disciplining employees for uncivil workplace behavior, the enforceability of confidentiality restrictions on witnesses during internal investigations and the NLRB’s newly issued test for reviewing employee work rules.

Here, we share a “top 10” list to highlight the principal takeaways from the program.

Continue Reading Top 10 Takeaways For Managing A Diverse Workplace

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) introduced its voluntary Diversity Assessment Report for Entities Regulated by the SEC. The Report is intended to help SEC-regulated entities conduct self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices, and provides these entities with a template for submitting information about their self-assessments to OMWI. Conducting self-assessments and providing the information to OMWI are voluntary.

The SEC’s Report is in line with the recent demands from US shareholders demanding transparency and accountability when it comes to gender pay and commitments to creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces. We expect diversity and inclusion to remain at the forefront of legal issues facing employers for years to come.

Continue Reading SEC Invites Regulated Entities To Voluntarily Submit Self-Assessments Of Diversity Policies And Practices–Read This Before You Accept

Attention employers using biometric identification technology, such as retina scans, fingerprint identification and facial recognition technology:

A number of corporations in Illinois, including internet and video game companies, food product manufacturers, gas stations, and restaurant chains, have been sued in the past few months for alleged BIPA violations.

Here’s what you need to know

Continue Reading How To Avoid Class Action Liability Under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act


Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

After two years of blogging to our friends in the Lone Star state, we are excited to announce that we are embracing the opportunity for new beginnings this fall. We are turning over a new leaf and expanding our blog to reach all US employers, including those managing operations outside of the US.

The new Employer Report provides legal updates and practical insights about the latest labor and employment issues affecting US multinationals, at both the domestic AND global level.

The original site will be redirected, so no action necessary on your part (other than to spread the word!). The Employer Report will be updated regularly by our US Employment and Compensation lawyers with insights covering a wide range of labor and employment topics, including wage and hour updates, new compliance obligations outside the US, trends concerning the gender pay gap, and much more!

We appreciate your continued support and hope you enjoy the Employer Report.