Employment law 5 in 5: February 2024

27 February 2024 3 min read

By Cassie Boyle and Sarah Hellewell

At a glance

  • New working time requirements.
  • Focus on data privacy.
  • Monitor changes on employment status.
  • Prepare for increasing whistleblower risk.
  • Join our global expansion and operation webinar series.

New working time requirements

Employers are facing new risks related to working time obligations. Amendments to the Danish Act on Working Time take effect on 1 July 2024, and require employers to implement an ‘objective, reliable, and accessible’ system for recording working hours. Employers in Germany are awaiting a final bill on the amendment of the German Working Time Act. In the US, the California Supreme Court is expected to address the validity of time rounding in view of technological advances that allow employers to track time precisely and review various working time issues. These decisions could have enormous implications with respect to employer timekeeping practices.

Request a copy of our guide on Recording working hours: Requirements across the European Union here.

Focus: Data privacy

The Italian Data Protection Authority imposed a significant change in employee email metadata retention policies; German employers are reviewing their data protection documentation in view of a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice.

In the US, a California Court of Appeals decision lifted a lower court decision staying enforcement of California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) regulations and rejected a one-year enforcement delay of future regulations, including those related to automated decision-making technology. A petition for review is pending. In addition, effective 1 January 2024, AB 947 amends the CCPA to tighten regulation of personal information that reveals immigration status.

Monitor: Employment status

Developments in relation to employment status continue across the globe. In Australia, a new definition of casual employment will come into effect on 1 July 2024; changes have come into effect in the Czech Republic to enhance the rights of contract workers; and the highest court in Hungary has issued a significant decision on platform work. 

In the US, the DOL’s final rule defining independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (under legal challenge) is expected to make it more difficult for employers to classify workers as contractors. Listen to our Coast to Coast episode discussing the final rule. 

Expectations that the terms of the EU Platform Work Directive would be finalised in February were thwarted due to insufficient votes within the European Council. Monitor the status of EU Directives with workforce implications on our EU Directive Tracker. To provide feedback on our new GENIE site, please complete our short survey.

Prepare: Increasing whistleblower risk

The trend of increasing whistleblower protections and enforcement activity shows no signs of abating. In Norway, the Supreme Court held that an e-mail sent from an employee representative to a manager constituted whistleblowing.

In the US, the US Supreme Court held that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act does not require a whistleblower to prove that their employer acted with retaliatory intent. Rather, the employee need only show that the protected activity was a ‘contributing factor in the unfavourable personnel action’. Meanwhile, under the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive, an employer that takes detrimental measures must prove this was based on justified grounds.

Join: Global expansion and operation webinar series

Our global expansion and operation webinar series is designed to help companies in expansion mode. Our first webinar is focused on the key issues to consider when expanding internationally. Stay tuned for details on our next session, which will focus on employment and equity issues. Subscribe to the series here.