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Is Your Company's Confidentiality Agreement Illegal?

If all confidentiality agreements were truly kept confidential, it would be hard to determine if they were legally binding.

That assertion underlies a basic reason that all confidentiality agreements are not, in fact, binding. Public policy and many laws prohibit confidentiality in various areas. Indeed, some laws mandate disclosure of information that cannot be kept confidential.

Here are three types of confidentiality agreements and related problems to avoid:

Companies Are Hiring More Autistic Workers

Autism might now look good on a resume, depending on how you look at it.

While most employers do not seek out workers who have an autism spectrum disorder, some leading companies are looking for them. Microsoft, for example, is recruiting autistic people for jobs in software engineering and data sciences.

"In order to build the best products for everyone, we need to have a diverse and inclusive workforce across all abilities," Microsoft says on its website. "For example, in the case for autism, we know there is an untapped pool of talent with skills aligned to the work we are doing every day at Microsoft."

6 Tips for Delegating Legal Work

There is no class on delegation in law school.

The closest thing is a lecture on the non-delegation doctrine, which teaches that Congress cannot delegate certain duties to administrative agencies. So what is an attorney to do when it comes to knowing how to delegate legal tasks?

Because developing delegation skills is not part of legal education, corporate counsel need to learn from other disciplines and mentors in the workplace. Charles A. Volkert, writing for Minority Corporate Counsel Association, says delegating offers distinct advantages for both managing counsel and the people they lead.

"By communicating a more holistic view of company goals and enhancing project- and team-management abilities, counsel can help their departments meet the complex challenges they face today," he says.

Here are some tips:

How Employment Visas Could Change Under Trump Administration

Immigration attorneys will have more work to do than usual, and not only the sole practitioners fighting for those foreigners yearning to breathe free. Corporate counsel are gearing up for changes that will affect American employers.

During his campaign, Trump said he would crack down on employers who abuse immigration laws to undercut American workers. He cited "outrageous practices" at companies like Disney in Florida "when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements."

"I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program," Trump said last March. "No exceptions."

With the holidays fast approaching, now is a good time to make sure your company has an office gift policy -- and to stick a copy of it in everyone's stocking.

While it's the season of giving, companies still need to set and enforce gift-giving guidelines, as overenthusiastic gift exchange has the possibility of resulting in compliance and tax violations.

Anti-Hacking Laws Get a Tighter Grip on the Workplace

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) became federal law recently, which gives employers more legal power to protect their trade secrets. This is good news and bad news for the workplace: The good news is that employers have more remedies when hackers get into their computer systems. The bad news is that employees are the usual suspects.

In addition to setting federal standards that have previously been left to the states, DTSA provides for money damages, injunctive relief, seizure of property to protect trade secrets from disclosure, punitive damages, and attorney fees.

Facebook Sued by Two Employees for Race Discrimination

According to a complaint filed against Facebook, a manager called employees "n****r" and "monkey." He also referred to one African-American as a "lazy n****r who wanted everything handed to him," the suit alleges. Robert Baron Duffy and Robert Louis Gary responded by filing racial discrimination claims against the company.

Duffy, a former operations manager at the company's North Carolina facility, and Gary, a night shift manager there, also claim they were paid less than their Caucasian colleagues. They allege the company failed to adequately address their discrimination and retaliation claims after they made internal complaints.

On December 1st, the Department of Labor was set to implement the largest expansion of overtime pay in decades. The DOL's new "white collar overtime" rule would more than double the income threshold for overtime pay, raising the exemption line from $23,660 a year to $47,892, with automatic increases every three years. The expansion would entitle millions of new workers to overtime.

But, it might not be happening. Last week, a federal district court in Texas enjoined the implementation of the rules nationwide, following a challenge from Nevada and 20 other states, along with a host of business interests. What does that mean for you?

As a Trump administration gets ready to take over the federal government, there are plenty of questions about what existing laws and regulations will remain intact and which will be jettisoned. For example, Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act are likely to be trimmed back, if not fully eliminated. The future of the Paris climate agreement is in doubt. Even Broadway musicals are facing a more contentious future.

President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal many of President Obama's signature laws and has committed his administration to a regulatory reform agenda based on "canceling overarching executive orders and a thorough review to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations." Which ones are most likely to go? Corporate Counsel's Rebekah Mintzer recently rounded up the five labor and employment laws that are likely to be repealed under a Trump administration. Here's a quick roundup.

Microsoft's Lawyer Diversity Program Is a Success

As the first black president, who is also a lawyer, exits the White House, another leader is working to ensure that minorities continue to move up the ranks in law firms across the nation.

Microsoft, which created a program to increase diversity in the law firms it retains, has announced measurable success at the end of the program's inaugural year. According to the company, its law firms have increased diversity representation in management committees by more than three percent and partnership composition by more than one percent.