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In brief

While businesses progress their recovery and renewal strategies amid the disruption of the global pandemic, there is more change in store for 2021, as US president Joe Biden takes office and the UK and EU adjust to their formal separation. Below we outline the latest employment considerations surrounding US and UK politics and how they will impact the global workforce.​

How the Biden administration will change the workplace

President Biden’s campaign promised to strengthen workers’ rights and organizing efforts, including pledged support for “provisions in” the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which contains punitive financial penalties for companies that interfere with workers’ organizing efforts. President Biden’s nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (a former construction union leader) for labor secretary – i.e. to run the Department of Labor – is a definitive step in what we expect to be an administration that will mandate employers to adopt employee-friendly policies, and tip the scales to favor union organizing and collective bargaining. The Labor Department’s aggressive enforcement of workers’ rights, and increases in companies’ obligations to their employees, is now a near certainty.

For the key takeaways of how the Biden administration may impact union organizing, OSHA protections, independent contractor classifications, wages and benefits and more, see our recent Labor and Employment report in the paper, “Looking Ahead: How Will US Law and Policy Change Under the Biden Administration” along with our blog posts on his immediate actions regarding diversity policies, “Biden and D&I in the Workplace: A New Direction” and other executive orders impacting the workplace, “Biden and the Workplace: Early Days, Major Changes,” and “New DOL Final Rule on Independent Contractors is (Likely) no More

The Brexit deal – Key implications for employers

Brexit constitutes a major change for any company that has operations – directly or indirectly – in the UK as well as in the EU. Companies are still analyzing the short, medium and long-term impact and how to best mitigate the risks posed and capitalize on new opportunities that may arise.

To review the key immigration and employment concerns affected by the end of the transition period and practical considerations to minimize the impact to your business, see our Brexit Deal Checklist.


William (Bill) Dugan is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Employment and Compensation Practice Group, residing in Chicago and New York, chair of the US Disputes Employment Group, co-chair of the North American Employment Disputes Group, and a member of the Steering Committee for the North American Employment and Compensation Practice. Bill has been recognized as a leader in labor and employment law by Chambers, he has been repeatedly recognized for his superior litigation defense in Super Lawyers, and Legal 500 has stated that Bill is a “master in the art of defending corporations in litigation.” Bill represents management in complex litigation in federal and state courts and other tribunals throughout the United States, including trade secret and restrictive covenant matters, class and collective actions, and labor arbitrations. Bill also counsels employers on a wide range of Labor and Employment issues.


Susan Eandi is the head of Baker McKenzie's Global Employment and Labor Law practice group for North America, and chair of the California Labor & Employment practice group. She speaks regularly for organizations including ACC, Bloomberg, and M&A Counsel. Susan has been published extensively in various external legal publications in addition to handbooks/magazines published by the Firm. Susan has been recognized as a leader in employment law by The Daily Journal, Legal 500, PLC and is a Chambers ranked attorney.


Stephen Ratcliffe is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Employment and Benefits practice in London. He has more than 14 years of legal experience and was recognized as an "Associate to Watch" by Chambers & Partners in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before his promotion to partnership. Stephen has been described as "very precise, technically excellent, but also very practical."


Tony Haque is a senior associate with over 20 years' experience advising in all areas of UK immigration and nationality work, and related European Union law. He is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Global Labor Employment and Employee Benefits Practice Group, where he advises on related corporate, tax and labor law issues, and leads the Firm's Global Immigration & Mobility department in London. Tony is an appointed member of the Law Society's Immigration Law Committee which provides expert guidance to practitioners and seeks to influence the direction of policy. He is recognized as a leader in his field by all of the main UK legal directories including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Legal Experts, Global Counsel 3000 and A Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.


Anne-Marie Davies is an Associate in Baker McKenzie London office.