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If the US Federal Trade Commission’s final rule on noncompetes comes into effect (despite ongoing legal challenges), it will impose a nationwide, nearly complete ban on worker noncompete agreements. This ties in with a broader trend which sees global antitrust regulators closely monitoring HR practices. Specifically, antitrust regulators are now looking beyond competition among companies offering similar products and services, to the competition between employers as they vie to attract and retain employees.

In the past few years, enforcement against restrictive labor market agreements has become a priority for many competition authorities worldwide. As a result, certain HR practices are in the spotlight of antitrust enforcers and may result in significant fines or even criminal liability. For more information, please read our briefing document, International Antitrust Onslaught against HR practices: Act now to stay ahead of the game.

On 21 March 2024, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/78/L.49 on “Seizing the opportunities of safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems for sustainable development”. This marks the first-ever resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) on the matter of artificial intelligence (AI) and is therefore a milestone in its governance. Although the resolution has no immediate binding effect, its content will further guide the regulatory development of AI technologies on the national and international level in the years to come and marks a step in the “race to AI regulation”.

The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA), enacted on 14 December 2023, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, establishes criminal liability for foreign officials soliciting or accepting bribes from specific US entities. FEPA criminalizes corrupt demands by foreign officials and carries potential penalties of up to USD 250,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment. Aligned with international anti-corruption conventions, FEPA reinforces the Biden Administration’s national security priority to combat corruption, and may impact FCPA investigations.

Welcome to the next edition of our quarterly HR Privacy newsletter designed to keep you updated with key cases, legal developments, trends and news relating to employment / HR data privacy matters, which is brought to you by the Baker McKenzie EMEA Employment and Compensation practice group.
This edition explores high-profile case-law decisions and new consultations and guidance in the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Spain markets.

Countries are approaching plastics regulation in different ways. Measures that have been proposed and adopted vary and include imposing plastic taxes, bans on single-use plastics, microbead bans, deposit return schemes, and consumer charges to discourage consumption (e.g., carrier bag charges). At an international level, in 2022, a UN resolution was endorsed to end plastic pollution and propose an international legally binding agreement by 2024.

PE investors need to be attuned to antitrust issues, particularly on the sell side, when investing in technology given the current US Federal Trade Commission’s aggressive approach to enforcement and focus on big tech. National security concerns and data security also loom large. Download the full PEI Keynote Interview to understand how antitrust, national security and data protection issues are key to PE firms when executing deals in the technology industry.

The United Kingdom just hosted the first-ever global Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit on 1 and 2 November 2023, an event that brought international attention to the regulation of Artificial Intelligence. UK Prime Minister Sunak underscored the urgency for global collaboration in the governance of AI, a technology that defies national boundaries and demands a collective regulatory approach. The summit’s outcome was the Bletchley Declaration, a commitment signed by leading nations, including Germany, the United States, and China, to enhance cooperation in the development and regulatory oversight of AI technologies.

Cybersecurity threats and risks are increasing each day, and cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated in their attacks. Companies need to ensure that their data security measures keep up with ever-changing regulations and that they have protocols in place to deal with cyber threats, breaches, and ransomware attacks. Retail brands recognize that in an increasingly connected world, cybersecurity should remain a top priority.

On 3 October 2023, the OECD published the Multilateral Convention to Facilitate the Implementation of Pillar Two’s Subject to Tax Rule (STTR). As a reminder, the STTR is an integral part of the Pillar Two package, which consists of domestic rules (the GloBE rules) and a treaty-based rule, the STTR. One of the key differences compared to the GloBE rules is that the STTR is not limited to MNE groups with a consolidated turnover exceeding the EUR 750 million threshold.