France: Code of Conduct Compliance Breach Not Automatically a Sufficient Reason for Employee Termination - Employers Should be Cautious of Proper Local Implementation of Compliance Guidelines

Reed Smith's Global Regulatory Enforcement blog features a post on a December 2012 French Supreme Court ruling in a case involving a French Director in a health care company who had been dismissed on the grounds of a clear breach of health care compliance obligations as set forth in the French Public Health Code. The outcome: even though a company is acting in a highly regulated environment such as health care, compliance breaches must be integrated in the employer-employee relationship if they are to justify termination in France. As Reed Smith Partner Daniel Kadar notes, this case serves as a reminder to any international health care organization that the worldwide adoption of compliance guidelines and of a Code of Conduct is not in itself a sufficient protection against compliance breaches – everything depends on how these tools are implemented locally.

New Regulations Expand Mental Health Parity Requirements for Group Health Plans

This post was written by Rachel Cutler Shim, John D. Martini, Dennis R. Bonessa, William H. Nichols and Laurie S. DuChateau.

On January 29, 2010, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury jointly issued interim final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 ("MHPAEA"). The MHPAEA, as implemented by the interim final regulations, greatly expands the parity standards of its predecessor, the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 ("MHPA 1996").

The MHPAEA, as implemented by the interim final regulations, expands on the requirements of the MHPA 1996 and introduces new rules that prohibit group health plans from creating disparities between medical/surgical benefits and mental health benefits, as well as substance-use disorder benefits. To learn more about how MHPAEA impacts group health plans, read our full alert.

For more information, please contact one of the authors: Rachel Cutler Shim, John D. Martini, Dennis R. Bonessa, William H. Nichols and Laurie S. DuChateau.

Health Care Facilities Targeted in Wage and Hour Lawsuits

Across the country, plaintiffs’ attorneys are targeting health care facilities over their alleged failure to comply with meal break rules. These suits claim that employers have automatically deducted 30 to 60 minutes of time for employees’ meal periods, even if employees never took the breaks. Because employees can recover for violations that took place as many as three years before suit is filed, damages in these cases can be substantial.

For more information, including steps you can take to minimize exposure to these types of lawsuits, please see Reed Smith’s Employment Watch Blog.