Financial Daily Dose 1.13.2020 | Top Story: Labor Dept. Issues Stricter Joint Employer Test in New Rules

columns of courthouse or government building

Sunday’s release of a long-awaited Labor Department final rule on joint employment spells trouble for workers hoping to “sue large companies for wrongdoing by contractors or franchisees.” The rule reverses Obama-era policies by redefining (and increasing) the amount of control a company must have over workers to be considered a joint employer – NYTimes and Law360 and WSJ and MarketWatch

A look back at another bad week for Boeing—this time featuring the release of devastating emails in which employees’ damning messages about the 737Max help shed light on a truly damaged culture at the plane-making giant – NYTimes and WSJ

Which makes ex-CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s $60-80 million exit package that much tougher to swallow – NYTimes and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Meet Greg Kelly, the American ex-Nissan top legal officer and Carlos-Ghosn chief-of-staff somewhat lost in the shuffle (and still awaiting trial in Japan) while his former boss has skipped the country in favor of Lebanon while doing his best James Bond impersonation – NYTimes

New York AG Letitia James revealed on Friday that her office won’t appeal Exxon Mobil’s bench trial win in the “state court case accusing the energy behemoth of deceiving investors about climate change-related risks to its business” – Law360

Add a struggle to update aging tech systems to its spate of recent public challenges at Wells Fargo. The bank, an early leader in online banking, has fallen behind peers in its digital and technology know-how, with regulators noting major issues in 2018 across its “tech operations, including software vulnerabilities, cybersecurity concerns and risk-management inconsistencies” – WSJ

And while we’re at it, how about a $102 million jury verdict after a finding that Wells “willfully infringed mobile deposit patents owned by” USAA—the second such result related to USAA patents in the past 3 months. Total damages for the breaches with trebling due to Wells Fargo’s willfulness could hit just shy of $1 billion – Law360

Alphabet’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, is stepping down “amid an investigation into his relationships with woman who worked at the company.” Drummond’s departure “comes more than a year after 20,000 Google employees protested the company’s handling of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace relationships” – NYTimes and Law360

With Google on the brain, let’s check in, shall we, on the company’s health care ambitions—including recently disclosed partnerships with health systems (including the Mayo Clinic) that will give Google access to tens of millions of health records in the U.S. – WSJ

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has opened a probe into “authorized corporate directors”—who “seek to ensure funds abide by rules and serve investors’ best interests—after Neil Woodford’s flagship investment fund collapsed in mid-October – Bloomberg

Mattress-in-a-box start-up Casper is hoping for sweet dreams from an otherwise sleepy 2020 IPO market, filing on Friday to go public and “setting itself up as a potential bellwether for companies aiming to begin trading this year” – WSJ

In a pretty audacious display of cheek, General Motors will move forward with plans to “revive its polarizing Hummer brand, this time as an electric truck instead of an emblem of gasoline consumption” – Bloomberg

Given the staggering reach of the cosmos, it’s rare when we humans Earth can observe marked changes in the night sky. And yet, in the past few months, even amateur stargazers will have noticed a mysterious dimming of Betelgeuse, the star that “marks the armpit of Orion the hunter.” While most scientists agree the dimming probably doesn’t mark its end, they’re not passing up the chance to consider what will happen when it actually does go supernova – NYTimes


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