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Emily Harbison is a partner in the Houston office and is a member of the Labor & Employment Practice Group. Ms. Harbison represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment litigation, counseling and traditional labor law. She has considerable experience defending employers in cases involving employment discrimination, federal contract compliance, ERISA, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, as well on a variety of other issues under state and federal laws governing the employment relationship. Ms. Harbison also has experience representing clients in traditional labor matters under both the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act.

The Transportation Security Administration has announced that by 3 AM EDT on March 25, 2017, passengers on flights to the United States from 10 specific airports will be required to check any electronic devices larger than a smartphone. The affected airports are all in North Africa and the Middle East, and include some of the most frequently used airports among international business travelers.  As a result, employees who might otherwise plan to work on the plane will be limited to those tasks that can be performed either from their phones or on paper.  Employers should communicate these restrictions to employees who travel internationally so they can be better prepared. Continue Reading Travel Warning: TSA Bans Large Electronic Devices on Certain Flights to the US

While no one knows exactly how Donald Trump’s election as President will impact labor and employment laws in the country, it is a safe bet that there will be changes. Because Trump was virtually silent on the campaign trail regarding the specifics of any employment law policies, we are left to speculate on any upcoming changes.  We provide a brief overview of our best educated guesses on what changes could be in store given the election results.  Given Trump’s position on government enforcement and his pro-business stance, there is an expectation of changes to several employment-related laws. Continue Reading What Trump’s Election Means for Employment Laws

As we’ve blogged about before (see here), the Department of Labor published a Final Rule with an effective date of December 1, 2016, which nearly doubled the minimum salary an employee must earn to qualify for a “white collar exemption.”  However, on November 22, 2016, a Texas federal court blocked the enactment of the amendments to the federal “white collar” exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees that were set to go into effect this week.  Notably, the court did not halt the proposed amendments for the highly compensated employee exemption.

You can read the entire Client Alert, which includes details about the court order and actions for employers, here.

On July 14, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) unveiled its amended proposal to collect summary pay data from U.S. employers with 100 or more employees.  Under the proposed amendments, employers who already file an Employer Information Report (EEO-1) will be required to also report pay by gender, race, and ethnicity, across 12 pay bands, by March 31, 2018.  Covered employers should start considering now how to adjust their pay, collection, and reporting processes.

To learn more on the proposed regulation’s impact on employers, click here.

There has been no slow down to the National Labor Relations Board’s attention to employer handbook policies that purportedly can discourage “protected concerted activity.”  We previously suggested five handbook provisions to update, but the continuous wave of Board decisions has expanded what language the NLRB considers to have a “chilling” effect on employees exercising their Section 7 rights to communicate about their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.  As with our previous post, this is true even for employers without a unionized workforce.  In light of the Board’s continued focus, the following handbook policies may deserve another look: Continue Reading The NLRB’s Relentless Attack on Handbooks: Four More Policies to Update

The following article, authored by my colleagues Susan F. Eandi, Louise Balsan and Caroline Burnett, examines the importance of global employment handbooks and why multinationals cannot simply rely on their domestic handbook as they expand abroad. The authors present three primary approaches for multinationals to consider as they prepare their global handbooks. Continue Reading Global Employment Handbooks: One Size Does Not Fit All

As companies today look for ways to reduce their costs, it is inevitable that they will look at their expat population.  Expatriate costs, such as premiums, assignment allowances, subsidies, tax assistance, family support, travel, shipping, and housing, are necessary, but quickly add up.  Expatriate costs can often be four times what they are for employees who work in their home country.

It is not surprising, then, that companies ask if there are savings to be garnered if long-term expatriates are brought home before the original term of their assignment ends.  When a company needs to “pull the plug” and find a way to bring the expatriate home as soon as possible, there are five things to consider. Continue Reading Terminating the Expat Assignment: 5 Things to Consider

Since the highly anticipated overtime rule was announced on May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor’s changes have been top of mind for employers across the U.S., and our clients have reached out to us with a number of questions regarding the Final Rule’s impact on their organizations. In this podcast, we address the most common questions clients have asked Baker & McKenzie, and we provide our recommendations for the steps employers should take to comply.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

As if oTexas Bar Today Top Tenil and gas companies didn’t already have enough to worry about, the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage and hour compliance initiative has targeted the oil and gas industry. Recently, numerous Texas-based oilfield services companies have been audited or sued, with several resulting in multi-million dollar payouts to employees misclassified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In light of the increased enforcement efforts, we discuss several misconceptions about exemption status and overtime pay.  Continue Reading Are Your Exempt Employees Really Exempt?

The shift toward shorter, project-based international assignments and the explosive growth of emerging markets have created a new breed of workers: the accidental expat.  Also called the extended business traveler and short-term assignee, accidental expats engage in many of the same activities as traditional expatriates, but they represent the highest compliance exposure.  Texas-based energy companies are no exception as they send employees abroad to explore and capitalize on new territories.

We’ve prepared an article called “The Accidental Expat: A Guideline for Employers on Employee Cross-Border Travel”, which highlights the risks of mobile employees and includes recommendations on how to manage an increasingly mobile workforce.  Please click here to view the article.