Nike and Coca-Cola join Apple on a growing list of US companies lobbying to weaken he Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a bill that would ban Chinese imports made using forced labor from the Muslim minority group. The Act would require companies to closely scrutinize their Chinese supply chains. Further, the Act seeks to ban products made in Xinjiang, China (home to Uyghur forced labor camps), unless a company proves the product is free of forced labor. The New York Times reports that many large multi-national corporations, including Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce, are lobbying to water down the Act’s requirements. They seek, among other things, to relax the disclosure requirements. While these companies have denied using any forced labor, reports suggest that many, including Apple and Nike, have used Uyghur labor in their supply chains. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed the House with an overwhelming majority in September and has bipartisan support in the Senate.
A proposed federal rule aimed at limiting asset managers’ abilities to vote on retirement plans is currently under final White House review, Bloomberg Law reports. The Department of Labor rule is designed to prevent fiduciaries and other asset managers from proxy voting on a retirement plan or pension unless the matter affects the plan’s financial interest. The purpose of the rule is to prevent use of plan assets for financially unrelated political or social ends. The rule was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget and is expected to be approved before the end of the Trump Administration.
Comcast Corp.’s dispute resolution process was held valid and enforceable after a former employee unsuccessfully challenged the program in federal court. The plaintiff, who was terminated after taking medical leave, sought to invalidate his Comcast arbitration clause as unconscionable. He argued that Comcast’s arbitration procedures unreasonably favored Comcast over the employee. The court rejected this argument and reaffirmed the use of arbitration clauses in Pennsylvania employment contracts. This was not the first time Comcast’s arbitration process was unsuccessfully challenged in court.
And finally, a federal court in Wisconsin denied Walmart’s challenges to a jury award for a former employee who was denied accommodations and terminated due to his disabilities. The former employee filed an EEOC action against he company after a manager questioned his need for a disability job coach before effectively terminating the employee. The EEOC secured a jury award of over $5,000,000 in damages and back pay for the employee. Earlier this year, Walmart challenged the award and sought a new trial. The court recently agreed with Walmart that the jury awarded excessive damages. However, the court refused to grant Walmart a new trial.