Akin Gump’s Policy team shares its 2018 political law update, which details changes in state and federal lobbying, gift and campaign finance laws. Click here to see how you or your company might be affected.
Akin Gump has issued an alert on administration and congressional activity since President Trump’s inauguration. The report highlights key regulatory and legislative developments across a range of policy areas. This document also previews the policy agenda for the coming year and concludes with a political update and analysis of the 2018 congressional elections.
Managing five generations of employees
In the coming years, employers will face the unprecedented challenge of having five generations of employees in the workplace. This encompasses those from the Silent Generation, born before 1945, through Generation Z, those born after 2000 and about to enter the workforce, and the Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and oft-maligned Millennials in between. Having multiple generations in the workplace can result in tensions based on different priorities, workplace expectations and communication styles. Companies and their boards can help address these tensions by better understanding employee expectations, encouraging cross-generation mentorship, and setting an example of generational diversity with respect to company leadership and members of the board.
This week we highlight PWC’s report on How your board can be ready for crisis, addressing key challenges for directors during a crisis and discussing how being prepared gives a company better odds of bouncing back smoothly. This analysis reviews the elements of effective crisis management plans and the importance of an escalation plan between management and the board, among other issues.
This week we highlight a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers which explores the challenges that boards face when key risks are overlooked. It’s easy for boards to focus on financial and compliance risks, but strategic and operational risks are also important. Directors need to make sure they are focusing on the right risks, those that can result in success or failure of the company.
On Monday, April 27, 2015, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an important constitutional case that could dramatically limit the viability of class action lawsuits claiming millions or billions of dollars in statutory damages for technical violations of federal privacy, data breach and consumer protection laws. The Supreme Court took the case at the urging of a number of companies and groups—such as Facebook, Google, Trans Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Consumer Data Industry Association—with a strong stake in discouraging such abusive and costly class actions.
At issue in Spokeo v. Robins (No. 13-1339) is whether Congress can lawfully confer Article III standing on a plaintiff or group of plaintiffs for a bare violation of a federal statute and in the absence of any concrete harm (so-called “statutory injury”). The case arises from a dispute between Spokeo, Inc., an operator of a “people search engine” that generates search results based on publicly available information, and Thomas Robins, an individual who appeared in Spokeo’s search results. Robins filed suit against Spokeo in 2010 on behalf of a putative class of “millions of individuals” over allegedly willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Ninth Circuit held that Robins possessed Article III standing to bring suit based on Congress’ creation of a private right of action for willful FCRA violations—and that no further injury allegation was required.
After the employment relationship is terminated, employers should be aware of former employees’ social media activity to ensure continued compliance with any post-employment obligations, including nondisclosure of proprietary or confidential information. For example, if a former employee is subject to a nonsolicit of employees, that former employee may be within his or her rights to take to social media to tout how great their new employer is or how much he or she enjoys their new job, but taking that message one step further and encouraging his or her former employer’s employees to join them at the new employer would likely be an actionable breach of the nonsolicit.
As discussed previously (see Best Practices in Social Media for Employers Part 2), adopting a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)-compliant social media policy is the first step in ensuring that the policy can be enforced. However, employers should also be aware of the potential risks associated with disciplining employees for violations of such a policy.
If an employee is disciplined or terminated for misconduct on social media in violation of an employer’s policy, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the “Board”) is one of the few places the employee can turn to for recourse, since the employee’s termination is unlikely to fall under any of the more commonly known employment laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act. In recent years, employees, including nonunion employees, that have been terminated for violating social media policies have filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against their employers in the hope of obtaining damages or reinstatement of their employment.