With thanks to our colleagues Lois Rodriquez (Baker McKenzie Madrid) and Nadège Dallais (Baker McKenzie Paris):

US companies expanding in Europe for the first time are often surprised to learn of the significant employee protections afforded to European employees (e.g. for example, employment at-will, for the most part, does not translate outside the US). An emerging “right to disconnect” is a new trend US multinationals should watch out for.

Spanish lawmakers recently passed a new act recognizing for the first time ever an employee’s right to digital disconnection. Under this new regulation, all companies with employees in Spain (regardless of headcount) must establish detailed internal policies regulating the right to disconnect after work hours. These policies must apply to all employees, even management and home-based workers.

Continue Reading Outside The US, Countries Are Increasingly Recognizing An Employee Right To Disconnect

From our talented Global Immigration & Mobility team:

On December 3, 2018, the USCIS published for comment a proposed final rule that, if implemented, will dramatically change the H-1B Cap Process for US employers.

Continue Reading USCIS Seeks To Implement Significant Change To H-1B Cap Process For Employers

This month California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing released an updated Sexual Harassment Poster and Brochure.

Either the poster or the brochure can be distributed to employees to meet legal requirements.

For more on new obligations for California employers with respect to sexual harassment prevention, click here.

Many viewed the highly anticipated coming into force of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018 as the “finish line” for the marathon efforts towards privacy compliance that took place in the months running up to this date. In reality, however, this date should be treated instead as a “starting line” from which to launch mandatory organizational protections for the personal data of individuals in the EU and elsewhere going forward.

Most companies with European operations have spent at least two years preparing for the GPDR. These often extensive ‐ and expensive ‐ efforts were typically led by companies’ legal, compliance, IT and security departments, and/or privacy offices, if any, and were supported by outside counsel and privacy consultants. The efforts often prioritized commercial or business data processed by the companies (through the websites, products, business contracts, etc.) instead of the data of employment candidates, employees, and other workers, such as temporary agency workers and independent contractors (collectively, “HR data”).

Click here to read the entire article (originally published by Bloomberg Law) which focuses on how companies should continue to focus on HR data compliance post-GDPR.

The UK Cabinet and EU leaders have now approved a draft withdrawal agreement setting out the terms of UK withdrawal from the EU. With the agreement still to be approved by the European and UK parliaments, our London Employment & Compensation team recently released a report analyzing the potential people implications of a “deal” verse “no deal” scenario. Click here to access.

For more Brexit-related news, please visit our Brexit blog or our central Brexit information hub.

As we previously discussed here, the United States Supreme Court’s May 2018 decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis was a clear win for employers that seek to avoid the expense and disruption of class litigation by resolving disputes individually through binding arbitration. As explained by the Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, “[i]n bilateral arbitration, parties forego the procedural rigor and appellate review of the courts in order to realize the benefits of private dispute resolution: lower costs, greater efficiency and speed, and the ability to choose expert adjudicators to resolve specialized disputes.”

For employers looking to take advantage of the benefits of individual arbitration, there are several drafting nuances to consider before rolling out or updating existing arbitration agreements.

Continue Reading You Had Me At “Class Action Waiver”

For many companies, their compensation plan year coincides with the calendar year. So, as we approach the end of 2018, it’s a holly, jolly time to review, revise and plan for implementation of commission and bonus compensation plans for 2019. (And, for those companies on non-calendar year comp cycles, it’s a good time to start on that New Year’s resolution and get ahead.)

We are decking the halls with requests for commission and bonus compensation plan reviews to make it before the ball drops on December 31.

Continue Reading Do You Hear What I Hear? It’s Comp Plan Review Season Everywhere

The Department of Labor’s newly issued opinion letter provides good news for employers who use tipped workers. On November 8th, the DOL reversed its previous “80/20” guidance on use of the tip credit. The tip credit permits employers to pay employees in tip-based positions, such as bartenders and waiters, a lower hourly wage than the federally mandated minimum wage (with the thought that earned tips will make up the difference). Under the previous “80/20” rule, employers were barred from paying the lower cash wage to tipped employees who spent more than 20% of their time performing non-tip generating duties such as setting tables or cutting lemons.

Continue Reading DOL Eliminates “80/20” Tip Credit Rule

In the wake of the #HeForShe movement, California recently became the first US state to require companies to put female directors on their corporate boards.

Supporters of the law make a convincing business case for gender diversity, citing rigorous research findings showing companies where women are represented at board or top-management levels are also the companies that perform best financially. Beyond the business case however, there is also a sense that increased representation is critical to discussions and decisions affecting corporate culture and ensuring workplace respect and dignity.

Now is the time to focus on building a strong corporate culture of equality and respect. California is advancing a trend started in Australia and a number of European countries in recognizing the importance of gender-balanced corporate boards. Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all have initiatives in place to boost corporate board representation.

Baker McKenzie is uniquely positioned to guide companies in developing globally compliant corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives, including board compliance issues. Click here for more information on board level D&I initiatives around the globe, and how we can help.

California courts mostly take a no prisoners approach to Business and Professions Code section 16600, the statute prohibiting illegal restraints on trade. Courts broadly interpret Section 16600, which states that “every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void,” to invalidate most post-employment non-competes and customer non-solicits, including covenants preventing former employees or their new employers from “hiring” employees of a former employer (so-called “no hire agreements”). But Section 16600 does not bar all post-employment covenants–just those that “restrain” trade.

Continue Reading Familiarity Breeds Contempt—And [Litigation Over Employee Non-Solicits]