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

In the last two weeks, New York state and city legislatures each passed groundbreaking legislation that would require most private employers to provide sexual harassment training to their workforces every year. No other US jurisdiction requires annual harassment training for all employees, making this legislation – if signed into law – the most expansive in the country. (California requires training for supervisors and managers only, see more HERE.)

Continue Reading Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Comes To New York

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker v. Superior Court unleashed a flood of single-plaintiff and class-action lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. Under California law, employees are entitled to take at least one 30-minute uninterrupted, off-duty meal break no later than the end of their 5th hour of work. If employees work over 10 hours, they must be provided a second 30-minute meal period. Similarly, employees must also receive 10-minute rest periods for each 4 hour-period worked or major fraction thereof.

Continue Reading Take A Break To Remember Your Meal And Rest Period Obligations Under California Law

On April 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Rizo v. Yovino and affirmed that prior salary, alone or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential between male and female employees. Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who died unexpectedly in late March, authored the  ruling. Known as the “Liberal Lion” of the federal judiciary in California, Judge Reinhardt also overturned bans on same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide and declared prison overcrowding unconstitutional.

Continue Reading The “Liberal Lion’s” Last Opinion Says Salary History Can’t Justify Wage Differentials

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.

Embracing mediation as a way to avoid litigation is not a sure-fire solution as one employer recently learned. See Unite Here Local 30 v. Volume Services, Inc., No. 16-55528 (9th Cir. January 26, 2018). Mediation is often employed as an alternative method of dispute resolution for its perceived advantages over traditional lawsuits (e.g. it can be quicker, less expensive and less formal than a court-driven process). For these reasons and others, many labor unions and employers frequently choose mediation as an alternative to arbitration.

Continue Reading Mediation Agreement In CBA Leads To Litigation

Is your HR team struggling with how to manage a diverse workforce in the #metoo era? Join us and representatives from the EEOC and NLRB for a complimentary seminar on April 12th to discuss the agencies views on these topics and more, including:

  • The Evolving Workplace and Where We Stand With the New Administration
  • The EEOC’s perspective: Sexual Harassment, Mandated Training, Civility Rules and Confidentiality (featuring Greg Gochanour, EEOC Supervising Trial Attorney
  • The NLRB’s Perspective: The New Standard for Evaluating Work Rules and What it Means for Employee Handbooks, Confidentiality and Civility in the Workplace (featuring Paul Hitterman, NLRB Regional Attorney, Region 13)
  • Ethics CLE: Rule 37 (ESI), Spoliation and Litigation Holds

When: 8:30 AM CST – 11AM CST (The seminar kicks off with registration and a networking breakfast, and the program begins at 9AM)

Where: Hyatt Regency Deerfield (1750 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield, IL 60015)

Click here for more information on the seminar, including featured speakers. To register, click here.

Robin Samuel has joined Baker McKenzie as a Partner in its North America Employment & Compensation Practice, bringing more than 20 years of experience in a range of employment litigation and counseling matters.

Based in the Firm’s new Los Angeles office, Robin handles all aspects of California and federal employment law, helping clients with complex wage and hour, discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, M&A, employee raiding, and trade secret theft litigation, investigations and transactions. Robin has significant experience handling employment class actions. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Robin served as Office Administrative Partner for Hogan Lovell’s Los Angeles office and chaired the firm’s California Diversity Committee.

Baker McKenzie’s Global Employment & Compensation group is one of the world’s largest and most recognized employment practices, with more than 700 lawyers globally and more than 130 attorneys in North America focused on employment law. A recent BTI Consulting survey of corporate counsel named Baker McKenzie a “standout” law firm for complex employment litigation. In addition, Chambers Global has recognized the Firm’s employment practice with a Band 1 ranking for eight consecutive years.

In recent months, Baker McKenzie has also added experienced employment litigators Mike Brewer, Todd Boyer, Bill Dugan and Meredith Kaufman to its North America Employment & Compensation Practice.

Robin received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

It’s no secret that a diverse and inclusive workplace has become critical for success. Clients, investors and talent are increasingly attracted to companies with socially responsible values and progressive workplace polices – with good reason. Diversity and inclusion have been linked to innovation, financial results and employee engagement.

Yet many organizations have long struggled to create impactful diversity and inclusion programs, particularly when it comes to increasing diversity at senior levels. While there is no silver bullet to eliminate bias, you can advance your diversity and inclusion program by making it a core component of your corporate culture and implementing practical strategies to update your initiative.

Click here to read the entire article, originally published on Ethisphere.com.