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Shareholder proposal highlights employment challenge in big way

Seasoned attorneys at any business law firm know intimately well the broad-based challenges that their diverse clients routinely face as they seek to profitably run their commercial operations.

"People doing business know how complex it is," we flatly note on our website at the proven commercial law firm of Berdon, Young & Margolis in New Haven.

Given that complexity, our client representation focuses upon matters ranging widely from formation issues, financing and contract negotiation/execution to IP protections, tax considerations and dispute resolution.

And, as we additionally note, employment policies, which, given the regulatory overlay of local, state and federal rules and guidelines, can be exceedingly challenging matters for many businesses.

A recent article discussing global coffee chain Starbucks readily bears that out, noting the glaring spotlight that company principals are presently staring out at as they face a harsh inquiry from a prominent shareholder.

That investor questions the company's stated commitment to core values that enhance employees' lives, with its recently presented proposal asking Starbucks to radically rethink its current family paid-leave policy.

Notably, that policy provides for the differentiated treatment of workers, with employees situated in the corporate realm receiving significantly more time off following childbirth than what is granted to baristas and other retail workers.

Starbucks officials tout the company's time-off policies, saying that Starbucks has "pioneered innovative benefits for full-and part-time employees."

Naysayers don't see it that way, noting instead the chasm between company offerings made to corporate and retail workers, respectively.

It is likely that the proposal will yield some change even if it does not come to a formal vote within the company. A recent article discussing the matter notes that a number of employment-centered proposals made at other major American companies have resulted in material changes without coming to a vote.

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