Work-life balance — does it exist? In Episode 4 of the Hiring to Firing Podcast, Troutman Pepper Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sit down with Debbie Epstein Henry, best-selling author, public speaker, consultant, and host of the Inspiration Loves Company podcast, to discuss the hit TV show Severance and lessons learned about work-life balance. Tune in to hear a lively discussion about ways companies can help workers find work-life balance to increase happiness and satisfaction, while maximizing effectiveness.

Continue Reading What Can the Show Severance Teach Us About Work-Life Balance?

Why is confidentiality in the workplace so important? What employee information needs to be kept confidential? In Episode 3 of the Hiring to Firing Podcast, Troutman Pepper Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sit down with Richard Eskew, executive vice president, general counsel, and chief privacy officer of Accolade, Inc., to discuss the hit T.V. show Squid Game and lessons learned about confidentiality agreements and restrictive covenants. Tune in to hear a lively discussion about the balance between corporate confidentiality and employee engagement, different types of corporate confidential materials (and the methods used to maintain their secrecy), the risks of employees taking such materials, as well as what companies can do to protect themselves. Continue Reading What Can Squid Game Teach Us About Confidentiality Agreements and Restrictive Covenants?

Q. Have any courts addressed companies’ obligations under the WARN Act, particularly in light of COVID-19?

A. Yes. Since COVID-19 was first confirmed in the United States more than two years ago, employers have faced many challenges, including, in some cases, the difficult decision to lay off or furlough employees. This decision has not been without legal implications. For example, depending on a variety of factors, companies that lay off employees may be required to provide written notice of the layoff under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and similar state law. Specifically, the WARN Act requires employers to provide written notice to workers at least 60 calendar days ahead of “plant closings” or “mass layoffs.” The WARN Act defines a plant closing as the permanent or temporary shutdown of a single site of employment, or one or more facilities or operating units within a single site of employment, if the shutdown results in an employment loss at the single site of employment during any 30-day period for 50 or more employees (excluding part-time employees). The WARN Act defines a mass layoff as a reduction in force that does not result from a plant closing, and results in an employment loss at the single site of employment during any 30-day period for: (1) at least 50-499 employees if they represent at least 33% of the total active workforce (excluding part-time employees) or (2) 500 or more employees (excluding part-time employees).

Continue Reading WARNING: Fifth Circuit Concludes COVID-19 Does Not Meet “Natural-Disaster” Exception Under the WARN Act

Are you making the best hiring and firing decisions? Is improving employee engagement and retention a challenge? How can you use data to leverage and get the most out of your most valuable asset – your employees?

In Episode 2 of the Hiring to Firing Podcast, Troutman Pepper Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sit down with Spring International CEO Fiona Jamison to discuss the hit movie Moneyball and the use of people analytics in the workplace.

Continue Reading What Can Moneyball Teach Us About People Analytics?

Q: What is New York’s Adult Survivors Act?

On May 24, New York State enacted the Adult Survivors Act, which provides a one-year “revival window,” commencing on November 24, 2022, for adult victims of sexual abuse. Enactment of such “revival statutes” (a/k/a revival window or lookback period statutes) is the latest trend for #MeToo era legislatures grappling with shifting societal views of limitations periods for sexual abuse claims. Although the parameters of revival statutes can differ, essentially, they provide a limited period, usually at least one year, for sexual abuse victims to file civil claims that would otherwise be time-barred. Often these statutes also include prospective enlargements of civil and criminal limitations periods or otherwise expand the scope of potential liability going forward. In recent years, nearly half of U.S. state legislatures have passed laws opening revival windows for sexual abuse cases.

Continue Reading Widespread “Revival Statutes” Forcing Employers to Take Stock of Past Practices and Prepare for a Barrage of Sexual Misconduct Litigation: New York Becomes the Latest State to Enact Revival Legislation for Adult Victims

Q. What do companies with employees in Delaware need to know about Delaware’s paid family leave law?

A. On May 10, Governor Carney signed the Healthy Delaware Families Act into law, making Delaware the eleventh state in the country to offer paid family leave when the law goes into effect in 2026. The law will provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave and six weeks of paid medical, family caregiving, and military leave to eligible Delaware employees through a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program.

Continue Reading Delaware Passes Paid Family Leave Law

Q: In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that employers who do not act promptly to invoke an arbitration clause may be held to waive arbitration. What does this mean for my company?

A: As noted in our colleagues’ blog post, on May 23, in a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that employers who do not act promptly to invoke an arbitration clause may be held to waive arbitration. In so holding, the Court resolved a circuit court split over whether a party arguing waiver had to demonstrate prejudice. The Court held that prejudice was not a requirement. The Court’s holding departs from its generally pro-arbitration holdings over the last 15 years.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Resolves Circuit Split: A Showing of Prejudice Not Required to “Waive” Right to Arbitration

Q: What types of damages are available when a former employee breaches a restrictive covenant barring solicitation of his or her former employer’s customers?

A: While parties often focus on the possibility to enjoin a former employee from soliciting a company’s customers, it is possible to recoup lost profits as well, particularly where they are significant. For example, a Massachusetts federal court found a sales representative liable for over $1.6 million in damages for breaching a nonsolicitation clause that prohibited him from procuring business from his former employer’s customers.

Continue Reading Court Awards Employer Over $1 Million for Former Employee’s Breach of Nonsolicitation Clause

In Episode 1 of the Hiring to Firing Podcast, Troutman Pepper Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sit down with European Metal Recycling VP of People and Deputy General Counsel Kate Puccio to discuss the hit show Emily in Paris and the lessons learned about national origin based on events from the show. This episode blends pop culture and fashion into a discussion about important and contemporary legal issues in the workplace.

Continue Reading Lessons Learned on National Origin Discrimination from Emily in Paris

Q. There have been lots of recent headlines about workers unionizing, but is labor activity actually increasing — and what’s on the horizon for employers?

A. Although union membership declined slightly between 2020 and 2021, labor organizing now appears to be on the rise. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) announced this month that union election petitions increased by 57% in the first half of the federal fiscal year, which began in October 2021. At this pace, the nation is on track this year to see the highest levels of union election petitions in at least a decade, according to the NLRB.

Continue Reading Is Labor Activity Increasing? What’s on the Horizon for Employers?