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Jennifer Rubin focuses her bicoastal C-suite executive compensation practice on meeting the increasingly complex employment needs of executives of public and private corporations. When she isn’t negotiating employment, equity, and severance arrangements, Jen leverages her 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer to help clients craft business solutions to legal problems.

Blended families may be more common than organic ones these days and perhaps the same can be said about employees in corporate America.

The trend may emanate in part from the “acqui-hire” approach to building a business.  An “acqui-hire” happens when one business acquires another for its workforce, not for its products or services.  This is a particularly popular approach in the technology sector where buying a team of tech-savvy individuals who have a track record of creating value is a better business bet than money spent on beta testing a product or service that may or may not succeed in the marketplace.  In other words, don’t buy the product — buy the brains that make the product.

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Acqui-Hires: A Corporate Blended Family?

The trend toward local regulation of employment laws continues in California with three new local wage and hour enactments.

San Diego

On June 7, 2016, San Diego voters passed a ballot initiative containing two provisions for hourly workers. First, San Diego’s new minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour once the ballot results are confirmed, which is expected to be in mid-July.  Second, San Diego will have its own paid sick leave policy of five days (40 hours) – which is in excess of the state law that allows employers to limit use of accrued paid sick leave to three days (24 hours).

Like the state law, San Diego’s paid sick leave will accrue at one hour for every 30 hours worked and cannot be used until after 90 days of employment. Also like the state law, San Diego’s sick leave initiative allows accrued leave to be front loaded or accrued, and it must be carried over year to year.

Continue Reading Three California Municipalities Enact New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Laws

If you follow my corporate divorce series, you are familiar with my affinity for the employment-as-marriage metaphor.  I’ve already examined how employment relationships end or should end.  But I have yet to address an employment metaphor relevant to annulments.

Unlike divorce, which is the judicial dissolution of a legal marriage, an annulment is actually a judicial (and sometimes also religious) decree that the marriage was never valid in the first place.  Typically an annulment is based on a fundamental legal flaw, such as fraud or marrying close kin or some other core defect that goes to the heart of the marriage contract.  An annulment declares that the “marriage” is treated as if it never existed, provided a core reason exists to nullify it.

So what, if anything, annuls an employment contract?

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Do Fraudulent Credentials Annul Employment Contracts?

Being a headliner is great but nothing beats being tapped as the opening act. Join me and my panel of corporate counsel and human resources professionals as we warm up the audience at Mintz Levin’s Second Annual Employment Law Summit.

The warm up for our headliner, Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights (who will be addressing new protections and new initiatives in the New York City Human Rights Law), may have a swanky title (“Managing Workplace Policies in a Rapidly Changing Regulatory Environment”) but it will be grounded in practicality.

Today’s workforce is mobile, virtual, transient and litigious. What is a reasonable employer to do?  Should multi-jurisdictional employers practice “most-favored” diplomacy? Or should they continue to stitch together a patchwork of employment policies?

Join us in New York on January 28 as our panel tackles these and other challenging issues.  You can read more about these issues in advance of the seminar here.

If you’ve been following my corporate divorce series, you are familiar with my view about who owns what at the end of the employment relationship, who pays what to whom, and even how to end the relationship. But I have yet to address the notion of custody and whether my employment-as-marriage metaphor withstands an analogy to the post-employment solicitation of employees.

It is the employee’s relationship with fellow employees – and the employer’s attempt to insert itself into this relationship – that drives this discussion.

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Is Employee Solicitation A New Kind of Custody Dispute?

shutterstock_287173511Few of us can honestly say that our job never disappoints us and the same can probably be said of personal relationships.  But how do you know when you are in a failed employment relationship and what do you do about it?

Once again these questions lead to a discussion about extremes. A dysfunctional workplace (like a challenging relationship) is more likely to produce conflict than a compliant, well managed and properly administered one. But the focus here is not necessarily on conflict, but rather on illegal behavior.

So how out of bounds does an employer have to behave to make a bad employment relationship into an illegal one?

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: An Employment Relationship Fail

Corporate Divorce CheatingYou don’t have to have an Ashley Madison account to know that a spouse who strays into an affair is unfaithful to the marriage. Is there a similar adulterous line for employees when they consider leaving an existing job?

In one of my earlier corporate divorce posts, I focused on some of the mistakes terminated employees make after they are fired.  Part of my focus in that piece was the surprise (and, granted, the hurt, disappointment and insecurity) that accompanies an unexpected job loss.  Now I examine the flip side, which is relevant to most of us at some points in our lives: the employee who plans to leave one employer for another.

It may strike some as an oddity that there may be issues associated with voluntarily departing employment. But issues there are, thankfully from an employment lawyer’s perspective.

So let’s start with the obvious. Is even thinking about leaving a job a sign of infidelity? Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Your Cheatin’ Heart … Is Thinking About Leaving a Job Flirting or Infidelity?

The California Fair Pay Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016, prohibits employers from paying employees less than the rate paid to members of the opposite sex who perform “substantially similar” work.  Although current laws prohibit wage discrimination within the same establishment for the same work, the new law expands the geographic scope to include all of an employer’s locations (even outside of California) and expands the scope to include “substantially similar” work, not just “equal work.”  An example, as offered by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, is a female housekeeper who cleans hotel rooms at one location may challenge the higher wages paid to male janitors who clean the lobby and banquet halls at another location.  We summarize the law below.

Continue Reading California Expands Gender-Based Wage Protections by Adopting “Substantially Similar” Test and Requiring Employers to Justify Wage Discrepancies