US businesses expanding abroad, and international businesses moving into the United States, can find the differences between employment laws both unexpected and costly.

Companies of all sizes are eager to expand their businesses, and their workforce, into new markets. US employers already know that operating in multiple states can feel like operating in different countries because of state- and locality-specific employment laws. But if operating in California versus Wyoming is comparing pools to puddles, then operating in the United States versus other countries is comparing puddles to oceans.

US-based companies looking to expand abroad, and foreign companies opening their first US locations, must proceed with caution before jumping in. One error can commit a business to employing its workforce until retirement, cost months and a small fortune to terminate the employment relationship, or keep it embroiled for years in class action litigation.

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Creating a gender identity and/or expression inclusive workplace allows employers to attract and retain talented employees, boosts engagement and productivity, and mitigates risks of legal claims. In a presentation at the 37th Annual ISCEBS Employee Benefit Symposium, Todd Solomon creates a business case for transgender inclusion by exploring legal trends. He discusses best practices for workplace policies, such as introducing transgender employee benefits. Todd also provides practical steps for cultivating an inclusive work culture.

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Join us on Thursday, September 6 at 1:00 PM EDT for a webinar designed to address questions around the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (the Act), signed into law by Governor Baker on Friday, August 10. The Act, which takes effect on October 1, requires all employers doing business in Massachusetts to change the way they establish and structure noncompetition agreements and related forfeiture provisions under compensation arrangements.

Our panel of lawyers focused on litigation, employment and employee benefits law from Massachusetts and other states, will discuss key aspects of this legislation, strategies and best practices. Questions that will be addressed by the panel include:

  • What changes should be made to support noncompetition agreements going forward?
  • How can a noncompetition agreement be used in connection with providing severance benefits?
  • What is the status for existing non-competition agreements? When is grandfathering available?
  • Are there other available types of agreements that can adequately protect employers’ interests?
  • Might ERISA preempt the new Massachusetts noncompetition law as related to benefit plans?
  • How will the changes to Massachusetts law impact corporate transactions?
  • How will the changes in Massachusetts law affect restrictive covenant litigation in Massachusetts courts?
  • What approaches to address the Massachusetts changes will make sense for multi-state employers?

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The Massachusetts legislature’s recent approval of a comprehensive non-competition reform bill includes significant restrictions for employers seeking to impose non-compete obligations on Massachusetts workers. The Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act will become effective on October 1, 2018, leaving little time for employers to consider what actions to take to protect their business interests.

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Kevin Connelly said unions will face an adjustment period as they seek to implement more creative methods of trying to retain dues-paying members. “I wouldn’t underestimate the unions. If someone wants to say this is the end of the day for public-sector unions—nope, not true,” he said. “There will be consequences, but I think the unions that operate in that sector will be clever enough to make the appropriate adjustments.”

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Originally published by Law360, June 2018.

More companies are considering paying their employees in tokens such as Bitcoin. The Japanese GMO group and the German Digitalmagazin t3n, for example, have announced that they plan to pay their employees in Bitcoin. This trend gives rise to the question: Are there restrictions under German employment law that companies must take into account?

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Ron Holland, Ellen Bronchetti and Kevin Connelly presented on challenges California employers face in light of a stricter definition for independent contractors. They discuss the Dynamex presumption which places the burden on the hiring entity to establish that the worker is an independent contractor who was not intended to be included within the wage order’s coverage.

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The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on March 7, 2018, that workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The language of Title VII does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. However, the US EEOC has taken a broad approach to enforcing Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination, arguing that it includes both gender identity and sexual orientation.

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