International Law Update: “France Implements New Right-To-Disconnect Law”

Effective January 1, 2017, France has implemented a “right to disconnect” law for French companies. Under the law, French companies with 50 employees or more are now required to ensure that they have taken specific steps to ensure that their employees have a right to “disconnect” from work-related technologies that potentially invade the worker’s personal time. The law is intended to combat the “on-call” trend impacting workers across a variety of roles and industries as technological tools and improvements continue to evolve.   The law, in effect, allows for employees to be able to “ignore” after-work emails without facing professional consequences. The language of the law also dictates that qualifying French companies must “engage in negotiations” with their employees in order to determine ways and methods to reduce disturbance when workers are away from the workplace. In the event that the aforementioned negotiations are not productive, a company may establish its’ own standards. Some companies, for example, have limited the available times that meetings may be scheduled; others have imposed rules about how many e-mails may be sent on weekends and what situations call for e-mail communication in off-hours. One company shared that they have put parameters on the email system so that any emails after 7 PM receive an automatic response and are not sent out until the start of the next workday.  “The law is intended to ensure the respect of rest, time and vacation, as well as personal and family life,” the French government said in an official statement. The new law has been critiqued by those who say it is yet another example of the...

U.S. Appellate Court Upholds Ruling Mandating Bottled Water Delivery and In-Home Filtration to Affected Michigan Residents

A U.S. appellate panel ruled on December 16 to uphold a court order stating that the State of Michigan is required to deliver either bottled water or provide a mechanism for home filtration for any qualifying residents in and around the Flint area. Over the past year, lead contamination in the region’s tap water has dominated headlines and sparked outrage from citizens. The State of Michigan has argued against the court’s earlier ruling, contending that the requirements are too costly and are therefore unreasonable. The ruling dictates that all qualifying households are to receive door to door deliveries of bottled water; however, the state countered that the operation of bottled water distribution sites operated by the government should be sufficient. Furthermore, the state of Michigan projected that the cost for home deliveries would cost approximately $10 million per month, a projection disputed by the court. The appeals court responded to the cost projection as “disingenuous.” The 2-1 ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the third decision by a federal court mandating the water deliveries, originally imposed on Nov. 10 by U.S. District Judge David Lawson. Lawson’s court order mandated that government officials at the state and local level must provide either an in-home filtration system (if one is not already present) or deliver four cases of bottled water per household per week in the qualifying areas. Residents may also opt out if they wish. Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, released a statement claiming that bottled water deliveries had already been in place for months to residents actively requesting it and that to furnish additional to households...