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As we previously posted, on January 5, 2018, the Department of Labor did away with its previous six-factor test and announced a new “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether interns and students working for “for-profit” employers are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. See our previous post HERE, as well as the DOL’s Fact Sheet #71 HERE. While employers are required to pay employees for their work, in some circumstances, interns may not actually be employees under the FLSA, and therefore, can be unpaid.

Whether your company is already planning to bring on unpaid interns, or to the extent your company would like to explore the possibility of a new unpaid internship program, you will want to consider the DOL’s new primary beneficiary test so as to guard against potential costly claims for pay and/or overtime.

Please reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.

In the wake of the #metoo movement, several lawmakers proposed legislation to ban confidentiality provisions in workplace sexual harassment settlements.

Critics of confidentiality agreements say that they enable serial abusers and silence victims. But, some advocates question whether a ban could actually harm individuals. For instance, some victims may actually prefer confidentiality and the prospect of publicity may discourage them from coming forward. Further, the promise of confidentiality may lead to larger (and earlier) monetary settlements for victims.

Continue Reading #MeToo Breaks Silence, Legislators Follow: Confidentiality Provisions

The use of mandatory employment arbitration agreements has long been the subject of debate, but the controversy has intensified since the inception of the #MeToo movement. Some legislators believe that mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims silences harassment victims and perpetuates harassment.

Continue Reading #MeToo Breaks Silence, Legislators Follow: Arbitration Agreements

Baker McKenzie partner Susan Eandi introduces Chris Burkett from Toronto to talk about employment laws in Canada and give an overview of what’s changed in 2017 as well as what we can expect in 2018.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Employers must review their workplace health and safety policies to ensure that anti-harassment polices are up to date and that training is in place, particularly around sexual harassment.
  2. Review termination clauses in employment agreements to ensure compliance with ESA and clarity of language and intent.
  3. Implement the minimum wage and equal pay obligations that are now in force.
  4. Be proactive in managing the use of cannabis in the workplace, particularly where accommodation requests come into play.
  5. Prepare for expanding supply chain + ESG transparency and global corporate human rights obligations. If operating globally, ensure you have a policy and due diligence program in place to mitigate adverse human rights impacts and lower risk of exposure to human rights lawsuits and reputational damage.

Download now on iTunes | Android | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play.

In our latest podcast, Baker McKenzie partner Joe Deng introduces Tomohisa Muranushi to discuss employment laws in Japan and give an overview of what changed in 2017 as well as what we can expect for the year ahead.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Reduce excessive overtime
  2. Encourage greater female participation
  3. Watch out for developments regarding fixed term contracts

Download now on iTunes | Android | Stitcher | TuneInGoogle Play.

Our Baker McKenzie colleagues in our London office just shared their January 2018 Employment Law Update. Find it HERE.

Highlights include:

  • Increases to statutory payments for time off work
  • Tribunal claims: volume of claims increasing following abolition of tribunal fees
  • Brexit: proposed technical changes to employment laws published
  • Gender pay gap reporting: pressure on employers increases as government indicates that it will publish details of employers who have not yet registered on the government website

For more information, please contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer.

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

Last week, we discussed 5 executive agreement provisions to consider now to help avoid future risk. This week, we are back with our second installment.

As with the previous 5 provisions, companies should pay close attention when drafting the following executive agreement terms so as to best position itself in the event of future disputes.

6.  Trade Secret – Last year, the Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed and created a federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. However, to recover exemplary damages and/or attorneys’ fees under the Act, companies must provide explicit notice to employees that identifies the Act’s immunity provisions for certain types of trade secret disclosure, such as when a trade secret is disclosed through the reporting of a violation of law to federal, state, or local government officials. To maximize their recovery potential, companies should include the relevant notice in their executive agreements.

7.  Tax Code § 409A – The Internal Revenue Code includes significant tax penalties for certain deferred compensation arrangements. Under IRC Section 409A, there could be penalties if an executive agreement allows for payments to be made to the executive more than 2.5 months after the tax year in which the executive acquires a legal right to the compensation. This could apply to contract provisions regarding bonuses, severance payments, equity payments, change in control, terminations, and other compensation and benefits provisions. Given the intricacies surrounding these rules and exceptions, companies should engage in a specific review of all executive agreements for compliance to avoid these risks. For more information and updates on 409A in light of recent US tax reform, visit The Compensation Connection.

Continue Reading Executive Agreement Litigation – Part 2 of The Top 10 Agreement Provisions To Consider Now To Avoid Future Risk

In recent years, disputes surrounding executive employment agreements have increased significantly.

This is no surprise given the amounts at stake, whether it is the compensation and incentives arguably owed to the executive, or threats to the company’s business itself through unlawful competition, trade secret theft, or unauthorized use of confidential information.

While impossible to safeguard against all risk of course, pay close attention to the following provisions when drafting executive employment agreements. By doing so, the company will be better prepared to defend itself in future litigation, if necessary.

Continue Reading Executive Agreement Litigation – Top 10 Agreement Provisions To Consider Now To Avoid Future Risk, Part 1 of 2