President-elect Trump rode a wave of American worker discontent all the way to the White House. A frequent refrain during his boisterous campaign rallies was that a Trump presidency would "make America great again" by bringing back well-paying jobs.
As noted by Vogue Magazine, August marked the 23rd anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Though considered landmark legislation at the time, the law only provides for unpaid leave, and does not apply to a large percentage of Americans employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees. Seeking to correct this situation, four states - California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York - now have paid leave laws. Even in those states, however, there remain gaps, particularly when it comes to job protection.
After years of study and training to become highly educated health professionals, female doctors often find they don't earn the same as their male colleagues. Unfortunately, that's not a new revelation, but data spotlighting the pay disparity has been difficult to collect and routinely challenged as flawed by critics and defense lawyers. Until now.
Over recent weeks, several banks that we are aware of have handed to thousands of their FINRA-regulated employees onerous new clawback agreements with the condition that if they do not sign them they will not receive their 2012 bonuses. This is only the beginning of the bad news. These new clawback agreements contain provisions that allow the bank to clawback part of an employee's earned and paid cash bonus merely because the employee resigns during the ensuing two or three years. Thus, for example, a bank can clawback part of the 2012 bonus (already paid and taxed in 2013) if the employee leaves during 2015.
Most employees in the financial services industry work all year long to earn an annual bonus, which often represents a major portion of their total compensation for the year. Unfortunately, employees not protected by a contract or an offer letter that specifically calls for a bonus payment if and when terminated (even if before year end), will likely be out of luck this season, even if they worked an entire fiscal year.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 righted an injustice to employees whose discriminatory compensation results from numerous, cumulative and small decisions that are not seperately actionable under Title VII and other statutes. By that Act, Congress abrogated the unpopular 5-4 decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618, 622 (2007), placing a short deadline on filing such claims. But the Act is not a cure-all for everything ailing employees, as two decisions this week by the Second and Tenth Circuits demonstrate.
In the past few years China has taken steps in its legislation that have made it more expensive for foreign employers and employees to do business there. The passing of the new PRC Social Insurance Law, which took effect on July 1, 2011 is just one of those steps. The new PRC Social Insurance Law requires expatriates working in China to pay a heavy tax burden to ensure that all employees in the PRC are insured with health and welfare benefits. However, since most international assignments do not last longer than an average of three years, these foreign employees may never reap the benefits of this insurance.
This author is pleased to announce the return of Daily Developments in EEO Law to its new platform. I will continue to report on the comings-and-goings of federal equal employment opportunity law in this space - concentrating, as before, on developments in the U.S. Courts of Appeals - and will be joined before very long by other, extraordinary attorneys from Outten & Golden LLP, contributing in their areas of expertise.