HK’s Carmen Plaza de Jennings and Jayne Chipman Discuss Cultivating Labor Peace with Adjunct Faculty in “The Higher Education Workplace”

Employment Law Alliance member firm Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP Partner Carmen Plaza de Jennings and attorney Jayne Benz Chipman authored The Higher Education Workplace magazine article “Cultivating Labor Peace with Adjunct Faculty.” The Higher Education Workplace is a publication of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

The full text of the article is available by clicking here.

Natasha Baker Comments on Law360 Regarding SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP Partner Natasha J. Baker is quoted in the Law360 article “Lawyers Weigh In On High Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling,” recapping the high court’s decision in the case Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Baker offered the following:

The court’s ruling in Schuette, upholding Michigan’s ban on consideration of race as a factor in admissions, impacts the integrity of the political process and diversity in higher education. Its impact on the political process is the mathematically obvious problem that the minority can never overcome the majority of voters, which is permissible in a democracy, unless the legislation burdens only a racial minority. Rejection of this doctrine erodes this critical limitation. Its impact on diversity in higher education can be predicted by the immediate and sustained decrease in minority admissions following California’s passage of comparable legislation in 1996.

Considerations when Sending Faculty or Students Abroad — a United States Perspective

Bruce R. Alper of Vedder Price P.C. and James Erwin of Pierce Atwood LLP discuss considerations for colleges and universities when sending faculty or students abroad, offering a United States perspective.

La Formation des Salariés au Cœur des Enjeux de Compétitivité et D’employabilité

2013 aura été l’année de la flexi-sécurité à la française, mêlant davantage de flexibilité pour les employeurs en contrepartie de leur responsabilité accrue en terme d’employabilité des travailleurs sur le marché du travail.

La loi du 14 juin 2013 dite de « sécurisation de l’emploi » modifie en profondeur notre modèle social, notamment en ce qu’elle réduit le périmètre d’intervention du régime du licenciement économique et des procédures (lourdes) afférentes. Cette réduction s’opère au profit d’une extension de celui des mesures de Gestion Prévisionnelle des Emplois et des Compétences (GPEC).

La GPEC vise à réduire les écarts entre ressources internes et les besoins en compétences de l’entreprise, notamment au travers de politiques de mobilité professionnelle et géographique. La mobilité fonctionnelle implique donc la formation professionnelle, qui apparaît plus que jamais située au cœur de la relation de travail. Elle devient également un outil de levier incontournable dans l’employabilité de chaque salarié.

La loi de sécurisation de l’emploi développe des dispositifs qui constituent autant de mesures alternatives au licenciement économique, qui seront complétés par une réforme du système de la formation professionnelle à venir début 2014.

A cette occasion, il nous a semblé opportun d’exposer brièvement le système de la formation professionnelle en France, à savoir l’obligation de formation des salariés qui repose sur l’employeur. Par ailleurs et dans le cadre de leur responsabilité sociale, les entreprises sont de plus en plus incitées à contribuer à la politique d’insertion des chômeurs et des jeunes entrant sur le marché du travail.

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Le système de la formation professionnelle repose sur trois piliers :

–       un outil de RH et de RSE utilisé afin de rechercher un équilibre permanent entre les objectifs de compétitivité des entreprises et la responsabilité de l’employeur s’agissant de l’employabilité des salariés ;

–       une obligation de financement et de formation incombant aux entreprises employant des salariés en France ;

–       une gestion paritaire des fonds de la formation professionnelle qui place les branches professionnelles au cœur des politiques de la formation.

« Former ou payer » qui devient « former de toute façon »

Le droit français de la formation professionnelle est régi par un adage : « former ou payer ». Le système de la formation professionnelle français est conçu de telle sorte que l’entreprise a l’obligation de contribuer financièrement à la formation de ses salariés.

Le montant de la participation de l’employeur au financement de la formation professionnelle est égal à un pourcentage de la masse salariale de l’entreprise, qui diffère selon son effectif:

– 0,55% pour les entreprises jusqu’à 9 salariés;

– 1,05% pour les entreprises de 10 à 19 salariés;

– 1,6% pour les entreprises de 20 salariés et plus.

Depuis la fin des années 1990, l’obligation de formation s’est “autonomisée” de l’obligation de paiement pour devenir une véritable obligation de l’employeur  de former chacun de ses salariés. Le droit à la formation professionnelle est un droit individuel du salarié, comme le rappelle régulièrement la chambre sociale de la Cour de cassation, notamment dans un arrêt récent en date du 5 juin 2013.

Les acteurs

Afin de mener leurs politiques de formation, les entreprises doivent coordonner leurs actions avec la branche à laquelle elles appartiennent, ainsi qu’avec les pouvoirs publics. La matière nécessite donc une bonne compréhension des enjeux de pouvoirs (jeux d’acteur) et l’identification du bon interlocuteur.

La formation, outil de compétitivité des entreprises et d’employabilité

Ainsi, la formation professionnelle implique des entreprises une bonne maîtrise du système, face à la consécration d’une véritable obligation de formation de leurs salariés, indépendamment même de leur obligation de contribution financière, et ce, dans un contexte économique et social de plus en plus difficile. Dans le même temps, la maîtrise de sa politique de formation par l’entreprise est déterminante de sa capacité à mettre en place des mesures alternatives au licenciement économique, alors que l’acceptabilité par le corps social des licenciements de masse est de plus en plus contestée.

Les entreprises sont amenées à consacrer de plus en plus de ressources à la formation professionnelle, qu’elles soient humaines ou financières, expliquant la création d’un Pôle de la Formation Professionnelle au sein du cabinet Fromont Briens, dans la mesure où la compétitivité des entreprises et leur responsabilité en termes d’employabilité des salariés passe plus que jamais par la formation professionnelle.

Vocational Training at the Heart of Companies’ Challenges in Terms of Competitiveness and Employability

By: Sophie Pelicier Loevenbruck
Fromont Briens

2013 was the year of flexi-curity à la française, combining greater flexibility for employers in return for their increased responsibility in terms of employability of the workers in the labour market.

The June 14th, 2013 statute on employment securing significantly modifies our social model, especially in the sense that it reduces the scope of intervention of the regime of redundancy on economic grounds and related (cumbersome) procedures. Such a reduction was done in favour of an extension of the measures of jobs and skills management (“Gestion Prévisionnelle des Emplois et des Compétences”, also known as “GPEC”).

GPEC aims at reducing the gap between internal resources and the company’s needs, through occupational and geographical mobility measures. Therefore, occupational mobility is closely linked to vocational training, which appears to be more than ever at the heart of the employment relationship. It has also become a tool to leverage the employability of every single employee.

The statute on employment securing develops tools that constitute alternatives to redundancy that will be complemented by a reform of vocational training to come early 2014.

On this occasion, it appears interesting to briefly outline the system of vocational training in France, namely the employer’s obligation to train the workers that have already entered the labour market. Moreover, and as a part of their social responsibility, companies have been increasingly encouraged to participate to the integration of unemployed and young workers to the labour market.

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The current French vocational training system is based on three pillars:

–       a HR and Corporate Social Responsibility tool used to balance the companies’ competitiveness objectives and the employer’s goal of ensuring the employee’s employability ;

–       a training and financing obligation due by national and foreign companies based on a contribution of fiscal nature ;

–       a joint management (“gestion paritaire”) of vocational training funds, which places employers and trade unions from both the professional branches and interprofessional levels at the heart of training policies.

« Train or pay » that has become « train anyway »

The French vocational training law is governed by the following saying: “train or pay”. The vocational training system is designed so that the company has an obligation to contribute financially to the worker’s vocational training.

The amount of the employer’s participation in the financing of vocational training is equal to a percentage of the payroll of the company, which varies with the size of its workforce:

– 0.55% for companies with up to 9 employees;

– 1.05% for companies with 10 to 19 employees;

– 1.6% for companies with 20 employees and more.

Since the late 1990s, the training requirement has clearly separated from the obligation to pay to become a real obligation of the employer to train each of his employees. The right to vocational training is an individual right for the employee, as is regularly pointed out by the social chamber of the French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation”), most recently in its judgment dated June 5th, 2013.

Actors

To carry out their vocational training policies, companies need to coordinate their actions with the activity branch to which they belong, as well as with the State. The matter thus requires a good understanding of the power issues as well as in terms of identifying the right interlocutor.

Vocational training, a tool for business competitiveness and employability

Vocational training in France therefore requires the companies to have a solid knowledge of the system, as they were faced with the consecration of a real obligation to train their employees, clearly distinct from their mandatory financial contribution, in a more and more difficult economic and social context. At the same time, the company’s control of its training policy is critical to its ability to develop alternatives to redundancy based on economic grounds, at a time where the acceptability of collective redundancies is being increasingly challenged by the society.

Today, companies are known to devote more and more resources to training, whether human or financial, explaining the creation of a Vocational Training Department here at Fromont Briens, insofar as the competitiveness of enterprises and the workers’ employability are more than ever linked to the workers’ training, which is now placed at the heart of the companies’ strategic challenges.

Impact of Unions on Private Colleges in Egypt

By:  Mona O. Abdel Hafiz and Dr. Mohamed Ramadan 
Ibrachy & Dermarkar Law Firm
Giza, Egypt

The following explores the issue of unions for private universities in Egypt. Public universities are governed by Public Law, and therefore not addressed.

  1. Labor Strikes

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantees the right to strike and the International Labor Organization conventions also protects this right. The Egyptian Labor Law No. 12 of year 2003 recognizes the employees right to strike that allows employees to stop work voluntarily and collectively in order to pressure employers to accede their demands, however, there are vital issues that should be taken into consideration such as the fact that labor union’s representatives should have labor negotiation skills in addition to the need of counseling to employees.

On one side, labor strikes are a healthy sign of a free economy. To severally limit the right to strike would also mean introducing other restrictions to protect employees. The psychological effects of a strike should also not be ignored. It is often a way for employees to get rid of the resentment built up over a period of time. It helps to build working relationships and to achieve more realism and moderation in both demand and supply of labor.

On the other side, Labor Strikes have a negative impact on the profits of the entities. Employees tend to view strikes in entities as an investment- a giving up on current resources in the hope of gaining larger returns in the future. While strikes make front-page news, peaceful settlements are less frequently covered in the media.

Therefore, two precautionary measures that employers should adopt to prevent or have a lower chance of labor strikes.

a)       Labor Negotiation Skills:

Labor and collective bargaining lack basic negotiating skills. The basic tact and art of negotiation is getting eroded within organizations.

Deadlocks and failures to come to a negotiated agreement hurt all sides involved and the end result is that neither party wins – both sides lose. We must focus on the common interests in any labor situation that should take into account the particular needs of labor unions and corporate interests and puts them at the forefront of all discussions. Meeting the needs of labor negotiations should involve the following:

  • Understand the concerns of each side during labor negotiations.
  • Place greater emphasis on planning and strategy.
  • Plan for negotiations with employees before disagreements lead to strikes and walkouts.
  • Handle negotiations in person.
  • Minimize possible conflict via principled negotiation strategies.
  • Strengthen internal cooperation during negotiations.
  • Establish rapport and build chemistry.
  • Focus on interests and issues that lead to common agreement.
  • Apply questioning skills to determine situations, priorities and demands.
  • Adjust a negotiations approach based on verbal cues and behavior.
  • Identify areas of concern and recommend appropriate solutions
  • Recognize and disarm dishonest negotiation tactics.
  • Handle negotiations in an ethical manner that strengthens relationships.
  • Protect constituent interests during labor negotiations.

… by providing counsel, training and assistance prior to or within the framework of the strike.

b)       Group Psychology:

1)      Psychological factors leading up to strikes

Social, political and economic factors can help to explain the actions of the employees in an entity that would lead to a strike. The roots of group violence, like individual violence, can often be found in historical relationships which provide a reservoir for hostility. There are a number of violence-promoting factors that can be identified in strikes such as “Deprivation, Frustration and Aggression”.

Frustration is a basic prerequisite for anger. It is associated with, but not always linked to, the expression of aggression and violence. Under certain circumstances frustration may lead to aggression. Leonard Berkowitz, is an American social psychologist best known for his research on human aggression defines deprivation and frustration in the following manner:

“I would say a person is deprived if he lacks a goal object people generally regard as attractive and desirable, but is frustrated only when he had been anticipating the pleasure to be gotten from this object and then cannot fulfill this expectation”  

2)      Group Counseling/Psychological Services

There are socio-cultural challenges for psychologists in Egypt. There are also common myths and misconceptions about the public image of psychology, including, but not limited to the following:

  • A belief that mental illness is a sign of weakness in the faith;
  • A belief that people in need of psychiatric care should be locked away in special institutions, as mentally-ill people are often considered to be dangerous to society;
  • A belief that people with mental disorders must work low-level jobs, because they are not competent for important or responsible jobs; and,
  • A belief that mental disease is mainly due to demon whispers or demon possession, so they need a spiritual kind of treatment and not medical treatment, e.g., in the case of epilepsy.

In general, the mission of introducing the Counseling and Psychological Services in the Egyptian Law is to support and promote the emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual health and wellness of the employees. The psychology of employee motivation at the workplace is extremely important, such as:

  • Physiological needs: Physiological needs are usually associated with money. People use money to satisfy basic motivations. If employees don’t earn enough money to comfortably meet basic financial needs such as rent, healthcare, etc., it is difficult to focus on creating value in the workplace.
  • Safety Needs: Not in the sense of an assurance of a lifetime employment, since in today’s economy, there are no guarantees. However, an employer can meet employees’ needs on this level by keeping them informed of the company’s financial position and keeping them in the loop on the company matters that affect them.
  • Social Needs: If the satisfaction of social needs is hindered, employees may become apathetic, uncooperative, and even aggressive towards their managers. Learning to provide opportunities for socialization through staff meetings, employee luncheons and even venting with one another between calls would help understand the social needs of the employees and how to satisfy such needs.
  • Esteem or Ego Needs: Esteem needs relate to individuals’ achieving the confidence and respect they desire in themselves and want to be recognized by others. These needs include the desire for recognition, promotion, achievement and accomplishment. Failure to meet these needs can result in apathetic behavior and substandard work.

Tips of what psychologists should do with the employees of an entity;

  • Supervisory training on site.
  • A weekly meeting with the employees.