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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

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

A recent Court of Appeal decision in the UK (Tillman v Egon Zehnder Limited) found that a post-termination non-compete restriction was unreasonably wide (and therefore unenforceable) on the basis that there was no carve out for shareholdings in the typically broad restriction which provided that the employee could not “directly or indirectly engage or be concerned or interested in any business carried on in competition with” the employer.

The Tillman court declined to sever (or “blue pencil”) the offensive wording and enforce the remaining provisions. Instead, the court invalidated the entire agreement.

Lots of non-compete covenants are broadly drafted and include catchall phrases like “concerned or interested in” and often do not include an express carve-out for shareholdings. As such, we suggest a quick review of your non-compete covenants in the UK (and other Commonwealth jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada) to determine if they are at risk of being deemed invalid. Seeking to enforce an invalid restriction could have costly consequences. However, there are steps you can take now, to mitigate the risk of voiding a restriction, even with existing employees.

Reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.

On January 13, 2017, the US Supreme Court agreed to determine whether arbitration agreements that include class action waivers are legally enforceable under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In doing so, the Court granted the petitions for certiorari, and consolidated, three cases from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits.  While the Fifth Circuit has ruled that class action waivers are enforceable, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits have disagreed and held that class action waivers violate the NLRA.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has also continued to hold that class action waivers violate the NLRA and interfere with employees’ rights to engage in concerted activity.  A ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue should resolve the Circuit Court split, provide nationwide guidance, and end the patchwork approach that has been adopted by US employers who utilize arbitration and class waivers.  The Supreme Court’s decision is expected before the end of June 2017.

To read more, click here.

Since many Texas companies send employees on international assignment, they should be mindful that the U.S. federal income tax rules don’t apply to everyone in the same way.  A case in point is a recent Tax Court Memorandum decision, Qunell v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.  In that case, the Tax Court held that even though the taxpayer was employed in Afghanistan for 16 months, he was not entitled to exclude his income earned in Afghanistan for 2011 from U.S. tax because he was deemed to have a U.S. abode.  For those who have only a high-level understanding of the foreign earned income exclusion under Section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code (see previous post here), this result may not be obvious.  But the statute is clear that even if a taxpayer otherwise qualifies to exclude foreign earned income under Section 911, that exclusion is not available if the taxpayer has an abode within the United States.

So, what is an “abode”? Continue Reading Expatriate Taxation, Part II: Not All U.S. Expats Can Exclude Their Foreign Earned Income