Tracking and complying with federal, state, and local wage and hour requirements has long been top of mind for employer as wage and hour liability continues to be one of the most expense employment law risks. Indeed, in 2022, the 10 largest reported settlements for wage and hour actions totaled $574 million.

Currently, in

Special thanks to Geoff Martin and Maria Piontkovska.

On March 3, 2023, the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) published details of a three year Pilot Program Regarding Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks (the “Compensation Pilot Program”). The Compensation Pilot Program is effective March 15, 2023 and from that date it will be applicable to all corporate criminal matters handled by the DOJ Criminal Division. At the same time, DOJ also updated its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance document to reflect the criteria introduced by the Compensation Pilot Program, among other updates.
 
Background and Objectives of the Compensation Pilot Program

The concept of incentivizing corporate compliance by structuring compensation programs to reward compliant behaviors and punish non-compliant ones, is nothing new. For example, prior editions of the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs addressed appropriate incentives for company management and executives to promote good governance and compliance, and expectations about the consistent application of discipline against employees found to be involved in misconduct.

However, in a September 2022 memo to DOJ prosecutors titled: “Further Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies Following Discussions with Corporate Crime Advisory Group“, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco indicated that DOJ intended to go further on this particular topic. In the memo, Monaco indicated that DOJ would expect companies to design compensation structures not only to incentivize and reward good compliance practices, but also to financially penalize individual employees found to have been engaged in misconduct, including by clawing back compensation after the fact.

DOJ’s objective in this initiative is to encourage companies to redistribute some of the cost and penalties associated with individuals’ criminal conduct away from the company (and its shareholders) and onto the individuals themselves. Because misconduct is often discovered after the fact, measures that enable retroactive discipline and clawback of compensation already paid, are of particular importance to DOJ. These measures also reinforce DOJ’s continued focus on individual accountability which has been another of DOJ’s recent areas of focus in addressing corporate criminal matters.

Six months after Monaco’s memo, the Compensation Pilot Program now puts concrete DOJ policy in place to implement those objectives. At the end of the three year pilot period, DOJ will determine whether the Compensation Pilot Program will be extended or modified. If it is deemed a success, we can expect the Compensation Pilot Program to be fully adopted by DOJ. Continue Reading Practical Considerations When Addressing New DOJ Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks Program

Implementation status and background to the directive 

The European Whistleblowing Directive (WBD) was supposed to be implemented by the European Union’s 27 member states by no later than December 17, 2021, impacting employers with operations in those jurisdictions.

One year on from this deadline, despite the European Commission (EC) commencing infringement procedures against those countries

Though the COVID-19 pandemic put in-person classes, business operations, and vacation plans on hold, there has been no pause of the duties of boards of directors to their respective companies. Board members should keep their fiduciary duties and the practical steps they can take to meet those duties top-of-mind as they guide their companies through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have highlighted board members’ duties and some practical tips boards of directors can take to meet their obligations to their companies during the pandemic.

Board Duties and the Business Judgment Rule: A Refresher

Under Delaware law-which most jurisdictions widely follow when it comes to directors’ duties-directors have a duty of care and duty of loyalty.

  • The duty of care requires directors to make informed and deliberative decisions based on all material information they have reasonably available to them.
  • The duty of loyalty requires directors to act (or decide not to act) in a disinterested and independent manner, with the honest belief that the action or inaction is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. How will decisions made by board members be evaluated by courts if those decisions are challenged? Courts evaluating board decisions under Delaware law first look to the “business judgment rule,” which allows a rebuttable presumption that directors satisfied their fiduciary duties in making business decisions.
  • If the presumption is rebutted-such as in cases of related party transactions or lack of director independence-Delaware courts apply the more exacting “entire fairness” standard, which normally shifts the burden to directors to prove the fairness of a challenged corporate transaction or decision.
  • As part of the duty of care and duty of loyalty, directors have the duty of good faith, oversight and disclosure. They have to act in good faith, be diligent in overseeing the company, and disclose any conflicts of interest as well as anything that is in the best interest of the company to know.

Continue Reading Board of Directors’ Duties: One of the Few Things Not Put on Hold During the Pandemic

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

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

On July 24, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – the investigative agency within the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement responsible for Form I-9 Compliance – announced that it served I-9 audit notices to more than 5,200 employer since January as part of a two-phase nationwide worksite enforcement operation.

Last week, HSI served 2,738 Notices of

While immigration debates, policies and rules make the news seemingly every day, very few new laws or regulations have actually been implemented for employment-based immigration. Behind the scenes, however, strict new interpretations of existing laws and under-the-radar changes in enforcement have significantly impacted the ability of companies to transfer, hire and keep foreign employees in

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