The Global Workplace Report is a monthly summary of our most popular blog articles from our Global Workplace Insider blog. This report provides concise commentary and insight essential for employers that want to stay current on the legal and business developments and trends impacting employment and labor matters globally.
Global employment and labor trends
For decades, state laws have governed employers’ trade secret claims against employees in the U.S., even though federal law has largely controlled employers’ patent and copyright claims. With the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), signed into law May 11, 2016, that is about to change. The DTSA will not preempt state trade secret related claims. But it does create a federal claim for trade secret misappropriation, allowing employers to sue in federal court for an employee’s theft of a trade secret “related to a product or service used, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.” It further permits court-ordered ex parte seizure of property in “extraordinary circumstances” to prevent “dissemination of the trade secret.” However, the DTSA does not only benefit employers, because it has safeguards for employees, including whistleblowing and immunity protections. The prudent employer will study the DTSA to understand its new federal rights and to consider how to make its trade secret related employment contracts and policies ultimately comply with the new DTSA.
Global employment and labor developments
- Scents and sensibility in Canadian workplaces by John Mastoras
Discriminated against in the workplace because of odors?
- Innocent until proven guilty in the workplace? Criminal charges may not justify termination for cause by John Mastoras
Employers should understand that they may be held liable for reasonable notice (and potential punitive damages if the termination is handled improperly) if cause can’t be proven and should consider alternatives including placing the employee on leave pending the outcome of a criminal case.
- Is it possible for employers to change the terms of employment contracts in the UK? by Claire Darbourne
An employment contract is no different than a common law contract – an employer can only change its terms if the contract allows or if the employee agrees to the changes.
- Vicarious liability – When does it arise? By Amanda Sanders
In the UK an employer can be held liable for the tortious acts committed by an employee in the course of their employment. Courts will consider whether there is a relationship between the wrongdoer and the defendant which is capable of giving rise to vicarious liability and whether the employment is sufficiently connected with the wrongful act or omission.
- Dutch Senate passes Act House for whistleblowers by Annette van Beers and Maartje Govaert
We all remember the tale of the three little pigs and the wolf that blew some of the houses down except the ones made of brick. The new Act would be the brick protecting the House for Whistleblowers. The Act defines wrongdoing as an act or omission that puts public interests at stake. This could be the case due to threats to public health, the safety of individuals, the environment or the functioning of public service institutions and companies.
- The CCMA’s jurisdiction may extend beyond SA borders by Karen Ainslie
South African employers expanding outside of South Africa’s borders should take note that if their operations abroad are seen as a mere extension of the South African undertaking, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA) may still apply to their employees working abroad.