The National Law Review is hiring!

national law review hiringThe National Law Review is one of the highest volume online-legal publications in the country. Founded in 1888, the National Law Review revolutionize publishing and this cutting-edge tradition continues today. We’re looking for an executive assistant project coordinator and a web content specialist to join our team. Below is a brief summary of the positions. For more information and to apply, go to the career page on our website.

Executive Assistant Project Coordinator (part-time – Western Springs, IL – partially remote)

The National Law Review publishes articles and regulatory alerts from the nation’s premier law firms, law schools, regulatory agencies and professional associations and we also cross promote several legal and other professional events per month. We are one of the highest volume legal websites in the United States and we are looking for an office coordinator to help keep all the things we have going on moving forward and to provide exceptional client-focused and proactive service for both internal and external clients.

Job description

  • We work with very large law firms so you must have an incredible eye for detail and be a consummate professional.
  • We’re a website – so excellent computer skills are non-negotiable. Need demonstrable proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive, Quick Books and Constant Contact and a CRM system. You MUST have these skills coming in the door and have used them recently.
  • Strong organizational skills, self-motivation, resourcefulness and a positive, can-do attitude. Wonderful communication skills, both written and oral with both team members and clients.
  • Capacity to manage multiple concurrent projects and work well under pressure, adapt quickly, to changing requests, have pride in your work and get along with others.

Click here for more information.

Web Content Specialist (part-time – Western Springs, IL – mostly remote)

The National Law Review publishes articles and regulatory alerts from the nation’s premier law firms, law schools, regulatory agencies and professional associations and we also cross promote several legal and other professional events per month. We are one of the highest volume legal websites in the United States and we are looking for an additional publication specialist who will format, classify and upload articles, videos and events, relating to business legal news. We publish around the clock, so we have flexibility in scheduling but require a minimum of a three day a week commitment.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Upload, format and classify legal news articles, videos and events and create new author profiles as needed.
  • Develop and send daily subject area email newsletters.
  • Maintain and update contacts in bulk email system.
  • Work with other team members to further develop website and add additional features and content to website.
  • Other duties as may be assigned.

Click here for more information.

What Was Your Prior Salary? No Longer Question You Can Ask When Hiring in New York City

Last month, the New York City Council approved legislation that bars employers from asking prospective hires to disclose their past salary. In passing the measure, New York City joins Massachusetts (see our post here), Puerto Rico and the city of Philadelphia in banning the question from job interviews and on applications. (Also see our post here regarding a recent Ninth Circuit decision addressing pay history.) The law, known as Introduction 1253-A, makes it illegal for any employer or employment agency in New York City to ask about an applicant’s salary history, including benefits, or search any publicly available records to obtain any such information. The measure, aimed at tackling pay inequity, is intended to stop perpetuating any discrimination that women or people of color may have faced in the past and to end wage disparities between men and women. A study released earlier this month by the National Partnership for Women & Families, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, shows that women in New York State earn 89 cents for every dollar that men are paid. The pay gap is wider among minority women, the study found. African American women in New York earn 66 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men. Latina women earn 56 cents for every dollar.

Labor Law HiringThe measure only applies to new hires, not to internal job candidates applying for a transfer or promotion given that their salary information may already be on file. It also excludes public employees whose salaries are determined by collective bargaining agreements. There are certain exceptions built into the bill whereby employers can consider salary history, including the hiring of internal candidates for different positions, workers who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or employees who voluntarily give their salary history during an interview.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who co-sponsored the bill last year, said the primary focus of the bill is to promote greater transparency in the hiring process. Although it doesn’t require employers to do so, James said the bill suggests to businesses that they post salaries for jobs instead of relying on workers’ past salary.

The City’s Commission on Human Rights will investigate and enforce the measure, imposing a civil penalty of no more than $125 for an unintentional violation or up to $250,000 for an intentional malicious violation. Those figures are in line with other forms of discrimination — including race, disability and sexual orientation bias — for which the commission issues fines.

Fatima Goss Graves, president-elect of the National Women’s Law Center, said in an email that the measure “stands to transform the way that companies operate around the country,” she said. “So many companies operate in multiple jurisdictions. If a company changes its practices in New York, it is likely to also make changes around the country.” I think what we’ll see is companies that do business in New York City just eliminate that from their applications entirely,” she said. “This will have wide-ranging influence.” Meanwhile, nearly 20 states, the District of Columbia and two cities (San Francisco and Pittsburgh) have introduced legislation that includes a provision against salary history information, according to data from the NWLC.

The new legislation is expected to go into effect later this year, or 180 days after Mayor de Blasio signs the bill.  Employers in New York City need to review their applications and standard job questions to ensure they remove any questions about past salaries.

European Union Adopts Brexit Negotiation Guidelines

Brexit Bull HornOn April 29, a Special European Council, meeting as 27 member states (as opposed to the full 28 member states, as would usually be present), adopted the Article 50 guidelines (Guidelines) to formally define the EU’s position in Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom. This follows the resolution of the European Parliament on key principles and conditions for the negotiations, adopted on April 5 (for further information, see the April 7 issue of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest).

The Guidelines are set out under six headings covering:

  • core principles;
  • a phased approach to the negotiations;
  • agreement on arrangements for an orderly withdrawal;
  • preliminary and preparatory discussions on a framework for the EU-UK future relationship;
  • the principle of sincere cooperation; and
  • the procedural arrangements for negotiations under Article 50.

On May 22, the EU General Affairs Council is expected to authorize the opening of the negotiations, nominate the European Commission as the EU negotiator and adopt negotiating directives.

The Guidelines are available here.

Proceed with Caution: Pay Differential Based on Prior Salary Can Be Lawful

pay differentialEqual Pay litigation continues to cause angst for employers doing business in California. In addition to the federal Equal Pay Act, employers operating in California must comply with laws requiring equal pay for men and women for substantially similar work unless a statutory defense applies. The landscape of the equal pay protections is ever-changing, having been recently expanded in California to include not only sex but also race and ethnicity. Additionally, the new amendments to the California Fair Pay Act preclude employers from using prior salary as the sole justification for a pay differential. State and local jurisdictions are also considering and passing more legislation prohibiting prospective employers from even asking applicants about salary history as a way to minimize historical pay disparities.

Despite legislative efforts to curb inquiries into salary history, employers may be feeling more confident after a recent win in Rizo v. Yovino, where the Ninth Circuit confirmed that prior salary can be a “factor other than sex” under the Equal Pay Act for pay differences, provided that the employer shows that prior salary “effectuate[s] some business policy” and the employer uses prior salary “reasonably in light of [its] stated purposes as well as other practices.” However, the employer has the burden of proof on this defense. They also must exercise caution on whether they can inquire about prospective or current employees’ prior salaries depending on the application of local and/or state laws that preclude such an examination. And under California’s amended Fair Pay Act, relying on prior salary history alone to justify a pay differential is prohibited.

In Rizo v. Yovino, a female math consultant for a school district sued the superintendent, claiming a violation of the Equal Pay Act because she was paid less than the other math consultants in the School District, all of whom were male. The superintendent argued that the School District’s pay schedule was based on the previous salaries of the employees, and the difference in pay between Rizo and her male counterparts was based on a factor other than sex. The District Court denied the superintendent’s Motion for Summary Judgment and concluded that “when an employer bases a pay structure ‘exclusively on prior wages,’ any resulting pay differential between men and women is not based on any other factor other than sex.”

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit found that the superintendent offered four business reasons for using a standard pay structure that was based primarily on salary history. Indeed, the superintendent contended the policy to use prior salary (1) was objective; (2) encouraged candidates to seek employment with the County because they would receive a 5% pay increase over current salary; (3) prevented favoritism and ensured consistency in application; and (4) was a judicious use of taxpayer dollars. Upon remand, the superintendent would have the burden of proving the business reasons articulated and that the use of prior salary was reasonable.

Despite this recent ruling in Rizo v. Yovino, employers doing business in California should continue to be vigilant in their compensation practices to ensure that they are not paying employees differently based on sex, race, or ethnicity, or basing the new compensation solely on prior salary. Keeping up to date on the hot issue of whether and how employers can ask about and use prior salary information is critical to compliance.

ARTICLE BY Anne Cherry Barnett & Michele Haydel Gehrke of Polsinelli PC

Trade Secret Misappropriation: What To Do When You Hire A Thief

trade secret misappropriationEmployers victimized by trade secret misappropriation appropriately express righteous outrage, both at the offending ex-employee and sometimes at the new employer. However, on another day the roles can reverse: That same employer may unwittingly — or worse, intentionally — have hired someone who has stolen trade secrets or confidential information. Failure to take appropriate precautions or implement sufficient remedial measures can expose the hiring employer to a variety of civil, and even potentially criminal, claims. Burying your head in the sand is not a winning strategy, especially given how easy technology has made it to copy and take confidential information.

The following tips can eliminate or minimize this risk and/or mitigate the consequences of having hired an individual who has misappropriated trade secrets. Prospective prevention steps include:

  • asking all potential hires if they are subject to a non-compete or restrictive covenant that could impact their duties in the proposed position, and potentially restructuring their job duties or whom they interact with, depending upon the circumstances;

  • reminding new hires, preferably in writing, that they are not to take, disclose, or use another company’s confidential and proprietary information — this should occur before they leave their current employer and before they start with you; and

  • educating employees, and especially hiring managers, on the company’s policy to respect the trade secrets rights of others.

What if despite these preventative measures, you discover that a new hire, who is now on your payroll, has taken the confidential information of a prior employer? The following steps can help mitigate the consequences to your company in such a circumstance.

  • Act immediately to preclude the use or disclosure of the information, including the quarantining of such information. Work with your information technology department or outside consultants to ensure that the steps you take are thorough and effective.

  • Investigate and assess what happened, the sensitivity of the information taken, and the culpability of the employee and others, especially when the matter involves a high-level employee, and consider retaining an attorney to conduct the investigation, to foster independence and obtain the benefits of attorney-client privilege.

  • Discipline or terminate the offending employee, depending on the circumstances.

  • Generally cooperate with the previous employer when confronted. Such cooperation could include anything from information sharing to a computer forensic review and agreed-upon deletion; this cooperation must be carefully managed to protect your trade secrets and bring closure to the situation.

All of this can be tremendously complex, nuanced, and important. Therefore, carefully consider each action and involve a multidisciplinary team, including Management, Human Resources, Information Technology and, Legal.

© 2017 Foley & Lardner LLP

American Health Care Act – House Passes ACA Replacement Bill

american health care actOn May 4, 2017, House Republicans passed the latest version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repeals most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes including the employer and individual mandate penalties.  No Democratic representatives voted for the bill, which narrowly passed with a vote of 217-213.  The Senate will now take up the “repeal and replace” task started by House Republicans.

Large employers should continue efforts to comply with the ACA, including maintaining appropriate records to comply with the Form 1095-C and Form 1094-C reporting requirements for 2017, until legislation is enacted.  Any developments regarding the repeal, replacement or amendment of the ACA will be reported in For Your Benefit.

© Copyright 2017 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved

President Trump Closes 100 Days in Office with Trade EOs, Debate of NAFTA Withdrawal

Trade NaFTAUnder pressure to make good on campaign promises as his first 100 days in office drew to a close, President Donald Trump considered a number of new trade-related actions last week, highlighting the importance of stakeholder engagement with his Administration on trade matters.

On Wednesday, April 26, reports emerged that President Trump was seriously considering withdrawing the US from NAFTA. The action reportedly came as a surprise to many stakeholders, who were expecting trade developments ahead of President Trump 100th day in office but not NAFTA withdrawal.  President Trump ultimately decided to shelve the draft executive action following conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, calls from Members of Congress, and outreach by private stakeholders, as well as meetings with his most senior advisors.

In remarks the following day, President Trump confirmed that he had been seriously considering withdrawing the US from NAFTA, reiterating his promise to pursue the strongest deal possible and pledging to terminate the agreement “if we do not reach a fair deal for all.”

On Saturday, April 29, President Trump went on to sign two trade-related Executive Orders (EO).

The first EO states that the policy of the United States will be to negotiate agreements that benefit American workers, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers; protect intellectual property (IP) rights; and encourage domestic research & development.  It is also states that the policy of the United States will be to renegotiate any existing trade agreement, investment agreement, or trade relation that, on net, harms the U.S. economic, businesses, IP rights, and “innovation rate,” or the American people.

The EO directs the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative – working with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the newly-established Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director – to conduct comprehensive performance reviews of:

  • All bilateral, plurilateral, and multilateral trade agreements and investment agreements to which the United States is a party; and

  • All trade relations with countries governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with which the United States does not have free trade agreements, but with which the United States runs significant trade deficits in goods.

The second EO establishes the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (OTMP) within the White House.  The OTMP’s stated mission is “to defend and serve American workers and domestic manufacturers while advising the President on policies to increase economic growth, decrease the trade deficit, and strengthen the United States manufacturing and defense industrial bases.”  Peter Navarro, previously Director of the White House National Trade Council, will serve as OTMP Director.

Last week’s developments provided the strongest indications yet that President Trump is ready to put his trade promises into action.  International stakeholders must be prepared to engage with the Administration, to emphasize the importance of trade in the Western Hemisphere for the US economy and American jobs and businesses.  The performance reviews mandated by the President’s April 29 EO – which are expected to help direct further policy-making efforts – will also provide Latin American stakeholders a chance to formally comment on the importance of existing trade relations and help to influence new policies going forward.

© Copyright 2017 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP