Protecting the Rights of LGBT Employees in the United States and Abroad

Gay Flag Circle Striped StickerOn July 21, President Obama issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal government contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) employees. The President directed the U.S. Department of Labor to propose implementing regulations within 90 days.

The order amends Executive Order 11246, originally issued by President Johnson, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” The new order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.

President… More

A Conference on Law and Corporate Social Responsibility

International Bar Association Conference on Law and Corporate Social ResponsibilityIt used to be that the links between corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) and the law were not so clear. Practitioners in the field were few and far between and often faced considerable challenges in defining their roles and expertise to both internal and external stakeholders.

It is clear that times are changing. On September 19, many practitioners in the field of CSR and the law will gather in London for a conference hosted by the International Bar Association on “The… More

Alien Tort Case Developments: Fourth and Eleventh Circuits Apply Kiobel’s “Touch and Concern” Standard

In the lastAlien Tort Gavel month, two federal appellate courts have issued decisions in cases filed against U.S.-based corporations pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). Both courts applied the “touch and concern” standard established by the Supreme Court in its 2012 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum with one court finding that jurisdiction was proper and the other court finding that “there is no jurisdiction” because all relevant conduct took place outside the United States.

As previously discussed, in Kiobel, the Supreme Court held that the presumption against… More

Transparency and Human Trafficking: Is Your Company Prepared?

iStock_000030023406SmallCompanies increasingly face expectations that they will “know and show” that they are taking appropriate steps to manage the human rights impacts associated with their business activities. New transparency requirements on issues ranging from conflict minerals to investments in Burma reflect this trend.

With respect to human trafficking, existing statutes such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and proposed statutes such as the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act require companies to report on their efforts to conduct due diligence on their supply… More

H.R. 4842: New Bill Calls for Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery in Corporate Supply Chains

SlaveryOn June 11, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R. 4842, the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2014. The bill, if passed, would require companies to file annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) disclosing their efforts to identify and address specific human rights risks in their supply chains.

The proposed federal legislation, co-sponsored by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), would only apply to companies with annual worldwide gross receipts exceeding one hundred million dollars. If enacted, the legislation would require the… More

U.S. Labor Law and Child Labor in Corporate Supply Chains

iStock_000000713748SmallHuman Rights Watch‘s recent report, Tobacco’s Hidden Children – Hazardous Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming, seeks to draw attention to the presence of child labor on American tobacco farms and to the significant health and safety risks faced by young workers, including widespread acute nicotine poisoning. More generally, the report highlights key challenges for those concerned about human rights and corporate supply chains.

When considering whether adverse human rights impacts may be linked to their operations, many companies do not focus on potential risks associated… More

European Court Establishes “Right to be Forgotten” Online

Flag_of_Europe.svgToday’s decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that individuals enjoy the right to have truthful yet unflattering information about them “forgotten” from online search results is generating a great deal of controversy in Europe and beyond. In a case brought by Spanish national Mario Costeja Gonzalez against Google demanding that the search giant remove results referring to a years-old newspaper notice of a tax auction of his property, the European Union’s highest judicial body held that an individual’s privacy rights:

override, as a rule, not only the economic… More

SDNY Applies Kiobel II and Holds Corporations May Be Liable under the Alien Tort Statute

South AfricaIn a mid-April decision in the In re: South African Apartheid Litigation, the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) has tackled one of the most pressing legal questions left unanswered by the Supreme Court last year in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (“Kiobel II”):  Can corporations be held liable under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) for violations of “the law of nations”?

The SDNY answered this question in the affirmative, and called upon the parties to brief the second: What acts might sufficiently “touch and concern” the… More

European Union Moves Closer to Mandatory Social and Environmental Reporting

Flag_of_Europe.svgThe European Union took another step toward requiring large companies to publish social and environmental performance reports when the European Parliament approved amendments to a draft directive by a 599-55 majority last week. All that now remains for the measure to come into force is for the leaders of the 28 EU member states to approve the directive by a qualified majority at their next meeting, currently scheduled for late June.

Now that the European Parliament has essentially finalized the text of the non-financial reporting directive, the scope of its requirements… More

D.C. Circuit Largely Upholds SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule But Supports First Amendment Challenge

iStock_000013609814XSmall-e1374781449214On April 14, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in National Association of Manufacturers v. SEC, a case that sought to challenge the conflict minerals rule released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in August 2012.

The Court largely rejected the plaintiffs’ challenges, holding that the SEC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in adopting the due diligence and disclosure requirements of the rule and in deciding not to include a de minimis exception. The Court also stated that it “did not… More