August 1, 2016, marks the date that increased penalties for various immigration-related violations go into effect. The increases are the result of separate rules recently published by the Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice. According to the agencies, the increased amounts are required adjustments for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index.
On June 23, 2016, in a hotly contested referendum, British voters chose to leave the European Union in a contest dubbed “Brexit” (for “British exit”). It will take some time before the full implications of this decision become apparent to employers with operations in the UK.
In the United States, the debate over protections for transgender employees continues, even as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, some courts, and the U.S. Justice Department take the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides employment protection for transgender employees on a national level. In addition, many states, counties and municipalities have enacted their own laws protecting transgender employees in the workplace. Although many countries outside of the United States do not prohibit discrimination against transgender employees, U.S. citizens living and working overseas may be protected under U.S. law from transgender discrimination and harassment, and U.S. employers may also have a duty to protect transgender employees traveling on company business from violence and harassment in the host country.
The UK Modern Slavery Act, which was signed into law on March 26, 2015, is now in effect. In addition to setting forth muscular penalties and enforcement mechanisms to address practices including “slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour” and “human trafficking”, the Act requires qualifying commercial organizations to publically disclose what actions they have taken to eliminate prohibited practices from their businesses and supply chains—or to disclose that they have taken no action. According to guidance published by Home Secretary Rt Hon Teresa May MP, the disclosure requirement is intended to “require businesses to be transparent about what they are doing and will increase competition to drive up standards” in this area of human rights.
The United States has long been referred to as a melting pot. But, some commentators challenge this notion, offering instead that the United States is more akin to a meal of separate and diverse ingredients; an orchestra of individual musicians who together create a symphony. While members of the United States’ many ethnic groups still engage in some assimilation – namely the adoption of the English language – they need not totally abandon their cultural heritage in order to fit into the framework of today’s America. This is multiculturalism.
On March 3, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a pilot program called “Known Employer” to streamline the process by which employers who sponsor foreign national workers send documents and information to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The program utilizes an online platform that allows certain employers who regularly file petitions with the agency to submit one set of corporate documentation and information about the employer’s business for preliminary adjudication by the agency, thereby eliminating the need to submit the same set of documents for each application. The pilot program is currently only open to certain preselected employers. If successful after the scheduled one-year trial period, DHS may expand the program.
This article is the third in a series which provides an overview of the basics of employment law in Austria and will focus on the legal requirements applicable to employee termination procedures.
Britain and the EU have traditionally had a distant relationship, with Britain often choosing to keep an arm’s length from its continental partners. This inclination may soon become a political reality when the UK votes on whether to stay in the EU this June. In spite of this historical distance, many labor and employment laws in the UK such as those relating to maternity and paternity leave, discrimination, and work time bear the imprimatur of EU directives. Given Britain’s history with the European Union, it might appear that if the UK leaves the EU, changes in this area of the law will be broad and swift. However, the reality is that despite grumbling of bureaucratic red tape from Brussels, many of these laws have become integrated into British life, and should a “Brexit” occur, changes are likely to be gradual and narrowly tailored.
Starting May 10, 2016, a new regulation published last month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) takes effect which increases the work authorization extension period from 17 to 24 months for F-1 students holding U.S. degrees in a designated Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field.
On Monday, March 28, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published notice in the Federal Register to allow an additional 30 days for public comment on its proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The public has until April 27, 2016 to provide any additional comments.