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As the largest labor and employment law firm in the United States—with more than 950 attorneys, 56 locations, and a practice that extends into every area and sub-area of workplace law—Littler Mendelson has the ability to provide rapid, integrated solutions for any labor, employment, benefits or global migration issue.

Littler’s international experience is long-standing and diverse, positioning us to effectively assist employers with the significant challenges of managing employees in multiple countries. Our international employment law practice consists of 100+ lawyers—including lawyers practicing in our Mexico and Venezuela offices—who have worked on projects involving the employment laws of nations across the globe. Our attorneys are fluent in 20+ languages and are actively involved in various international associations, such as the U.S. Council on International Business and the International Bar Association.

Supporting Littler's international employment law practice is a well-established network of working relationships with pre-eminent employment lawyers around the world.

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Venezuela Minimum Wage Set to Increase on December 1, 2014

By Daniela Arevalo

money bag.jpgOn November 4, 2014, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced an increase of 15% of the minimum wage effective December 1, 2014. This announcement has not yet been published in the Official Gazette. The increase raises the minimum wage from 4,251.40 to 4,889.11 Bolivars (VEF) per month (equivalent to USD 776.03 at the official exchange rate of VEF 6.30 per USD 1).

This is the third minimum wage increase in 2014 in Venezuela, the first increase being a 10% boost in January and 30% in May. The measure aims to protect workers' salaries from the high inflation level running at nearly 60% this year. However, employers are only obliged to increase salaries of those workers earning minimum wages, unless otherwise agreed through a collective bargain agreement.

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Brazil: Highest Labor Court Clears Franchisor from Vicarious Liability for Employment Law Obligations

By Renata Neeser

gavel_coming_down_motion.jpgIn a recent decision, Brazil's Superior Labor Court ("Tribunal Superior do Trabalho" or "TST"), the highest labor court in the nation, unanimously held that a franchisor was not vicariously liable for the franchisee's alleged non-compliance with employment obligations.  This decision (docketed as Case No. TST-RR-1170-78.2011.5.03.0077) represents a decisive victory for employers.

Under Brazilian law (Law 8.955/94), a franchise is the system through which a franchisor assigns to a franchisee the right to use the trademark or patent, distribute exclusively or semi-exclusively the products and services, and use the technology of implementing and managing the business or the operational system developed or owned by the franchisor, with direct or indirect compensation, but without creating an employment relationship.  Franchising, therefore, allows for a shifting of the legal responsibility from the franchisor to the franchisee (i.e., the operator of the franchised business) where the franchisee exerts the control over the acts or omissions that allegedly caused the injury.

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U.S. Labor and Employment Law Updates

Capitol for Global.jpgNLRB General Counsel Acknowledges Legal Stumbling Block in Joint Employment Issue, Highlights Priorities
Speaking at a West Virginia University College of Law event last week, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. pointed out the pitfalls in his office's argument that franchisors should be named in unfair labor practice charge complaints as joint employers with their franchisees. In July, Griffin surprised many by announcing that his office intends to name a parent franchisor as a respondent in cases involving alleged unfair labor practices committed by franchisees if a settlement is not reached. This decision caused an uproar in the business community because it would make significant changes to the franchise model. Read the full post here.  (October 29, 2014)

Political Speech and Activity in the Workplace: The 2014 Midterms are Here
Election season can be a heated time.  In many contexts, this can mean arguments with friends, family, and acquaintances.  It can also mean added tension and disagreement in the workplace.  In some cases, employers may seek to minimize political discussions at work.  In others, employers themselves may try to introduce politics into the workplace.  Regardless of whether an employee may engage in political activity in the workplace, employees may have rights to conduct political activities outside of work, and to take time off from work, where needed, to vote in an election. Read the full ASAP here.  (October 29, 2014)

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U.S. Labor and Employment Law Updates

Capitol for Global.jpgNLRB General Counsel Acknowledges Legal Stumbling Block in Joint Employment Issue, Highlights Priorities
Speaking at a West Virginia University College of Law event last week, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. pointed out the pitfalls in his office's argument that franchisors should be named in unfair labor practice charge complaints as joint employers with their franchisees. In July, Griffin surprised many by announcing that his office intends to name a parent franchisor as a respondent in cases involving alleged unfair labor practices committed by franchisees if a settlement is not reached. This decision caused an uproar in the business community because it would make significant changes to the franchise model. Read the full post here.  (October 29, 2014)

Political Speech and Activity in the Workplace: The 2014 Midterms are Here
Election season can be a heated time.  In many contexts, this can mean arguments with friends, family, and acquaintances.  It can also mean added tension and disagreement in the workplace.  In some cases, employers may seek to minimize political discussions at work.  In others, employers themselves may try to introduce politics into the workplace.  Regardless of whether an employee may engage in political activity in the workplace, employees may have rights to conduct political activities outside of work, and to take time off from work, where needed, to vote in an election. Read the full ASAP here.  (October 29, 2014)

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Puerto Rico Enacts New Incentive Plan for Employers to Pay Outstanding Workers' Compensation Debt

By Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso

  iStock_000002651868XSmall_noBG_hand_holding_money copy.jpgOn October 16, 2014, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed Law No. 174, a new incentive plan for employers to become current and eliminate any arrears of any outstanding debt owed to the Puerto Rico State Insurance Fund Corporation ("SIFC") that oversees workers' compensation funds.  Law No. 174 grants a 20% discount of the SIFC debt as long as the employer pays the debt within 180 days from the date of the publication of the guidelines.

With its enactment, Law No. 174 amends Article 2 of Law No. 15 of January 3 of 2014.  Law No. 15 provides incentives, such as the elimination of interests, surcharges and administrative expenses of past due amounts owed to SIFC, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Chauffeurs Insurance Fund and the Non-Occupational Disability Insurance, as well as the creation of interest-free payment plans, among others. 

Law 174 further instructs the SIFC to adopt and publish the necessary regulations and guidance for implementing the incentive plan within 30 days of the law's enactment.  From the date the guidelines are published by the SIFC, employers will be required to pay their debt before the end of the 180-day window. 

Employers that need to ascertain the full amount of their debt with the various governmental agencies or establish a payment strategy should seek legal counsel. 

Puerto Rico Treasury Issues Further Guidance Clarifying the Prepayment Window Rules: Employers May Need to Take Immediate Action to Comply with the Rules

By Carlos J. Villafañe-Real and Ana María Bigas-Kennerley


On September 29, 2014, the Puerto Rico Treasury issued Tax Policy Circular Letter No. 14-02 ("CL 14-02") to provide answers to the most frequent questions made by plan sponsors and plan administrators of retirement plans in connection with the pre-payment rules and procedures originally established through Administrative Determination No. 14-16 of August 6, 2014 ("AD 14-16").  This new guidance overrides and clarifies prior understandings under AD 14-16 with respect to the discretion of the plan administrator or sponsor to recognize pre-payments under the plan.  As such, employers may be required to take new measures in order to comply with the new pre-payment rules. Continue reading this article here.

China: Supreme People's Court Issued New Rules On Work-Related Injury Insurance

By: Huan Xiong

worker falling2.JPGThe Rules on Certain Issues Concerning Administrative Cases Involving Work-related Injury Insurance ("Rules") issued by the Supreme People's Court of China came into effect on September 1, 2014.  The Rules are of guiding significance for resolving disputes on work-related injuries as they have clarified the standards and factors used to identify a work-related injury as set forth in the Regulation on Work-Related Injury Insurance (the "Regulation") enacted by the State Council of China in 2011. 

Pursuant to the Regulation, the three factors used to identify a work-related injury include whether the injury (1) occurs during working hours, (2) occurs at the workplace, and (3) has any relation to work.  Specifically, Article 14 of the Regulation provides that an employee's injury would be deemed as work-related if the employee is:

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EEOC and Mexican Consulates Team Up to Provide Guidance, Training, and Even Checks

By: Mel M.C. Cole


iStock_000016205425Small_monterrey_mexico.jpgWhat started as a local effort has now become a national endeavor, as the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially agree to join forces to create programs that will benefit both Mexican nationals working in the United States as well as their employers.

On August 29, Jacqueline Berrien, the Chair of the EEOC, and Eduardo Mora, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, signed a national Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), committed to strengthening outreach on workplace rights, as well as reducing violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008.  In particular, the MOU focuses on the harms addressed by the laws and regulations that are administered and enforced by the EEOC.

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U.S. Legislative Updates

Agencies Finalize Rule Governing Allowability of Contractor Whistleblower Costs

Capitol for Global.jpgThe Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have issued a final rule adopting, with some changes, an interim rule that establishes when a federal defense contractor or subcontractor can recover the amount of legal costs incurred in successfully defending against an employee's whistleblower action. Specifically, the rule amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 that addresses the allowability of such legal expenses.  The interim rule was published on September 30, 2013. Read the full post here.

Senate Committee Approves Bill Making ERISA Clarifications

On July 23, 2014, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously approved S. 2511, a measure that aims to clarify the definition of "substantial cessation of operations" under Section 4062(e) of ERISA.  According to a statement issued by the committee, "this legislation will bring clarity to the pension downsizing liability rules and will ensure that there is a workable mechanism to protect pension benefits when employers show symptoms of financial distress." Read the full post here.

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U.S. Immigration Update

Amendment to California Law Prohibiting Retaliation against Whistleblowers Who Lack Work Authorization

Immigration.jpgCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill No. 2751  (AB 2751) to amend a recently-enacted law that prohibits employers from retaliating against undocumented workers who engage in protected activity.  AB 2751 amends the recently-enacted Assembly Bill No. 263 (AB 263), which, among other things, restricted employers' ability to take disciplinary action against employees who had misrepresented their personal information, including their criminal history and immigration status. Read the full post here.