Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo just about one year ago. Since then, we’ve seen unprecedented attention on sexual harassment in the workplace and a number of high profile individuals have been taken to task.

For employers, the spotlight, viral encouragement to come forward and public scrutiny is translating to an outpouring of claims and lawsuits. Indeed, in September 2018, the EEOC reported a surge in sexual harassment filings–more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over FY 2017.

Continue Reading #MeToo Legislation Lands In California With A Thud

Today, an estimated 40 million people are living in modern day slavery—including an estimated 16 million individuals in forced labor across global supply chains.

Given the importance of this issue, we are proud to introduce a new publication, Eradicating Slavery: A Guide for CEOs. Prepared by the B Team in partnership with Baker McKenzie, this guide provides practical guidance and examples of successful collaboration among companies to help end modern slavery.

While there’s been increasing concern and interest from business around tackling modern slavery, to date corporate leaders have been unsuccessful in meaningfully moving the needle to end this horrific practice. The B Team’s Guide seeks to help the private sector understand its responsibility and power in making a real impact on this issue and bringing freedom to those who need it most.

Click here to access the guide.

New York state just released draft guidance and models for employers to comply with the state’s new sexual harassment prevention policy and training requirements, which go into effect on October 9, 2018. The state is encouraging comments from the public, employers and employees through September 12, 2018, which can be submitted through the state’s website.

Continue Reading New York State Releases Proposed Sexual Harassment Prevention Guidance

This week, the SEC publicized its largest-ever whistleblower awards, thereby underscoring the value of robust internal reporting procedures. On March 19, the SEC issued a press release announcing that three individuals will get more than $83 million for providing information to the agency to help bring a case.

Continue Reading Best Practices For An Effective Whistleblower / Internal Reporting Program In The US

On February 21, 2018, the US Supreme Court narrowed the definition of the term “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act. The Court found that to be a “whistleblower” covered by Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provision, an employee must report concerns about their employer’s conduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In other words, an employee who reports such concerns only internally is not entitled to protection under Dodd-Frank.

Continue Reading The US Supreme Court Narrows Definition Of “Whistleblower” Under Dodd-Frank

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.