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Executive Order Authorizes Sanctions against Cybercriminals

Citing cyberthreats as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the U.S., President Obama recently issued an executive order (EO) authorizing the use of economic sanctions against those who maliciously engage in cyberespionage. This is the latest in a number of administration efforts to address America's lack of a unified federal cybersecurity framework in the face of increased public pressure to make cybersecurity a priority.

SEC Invalidates Confidentiality Agreement for Stifling Whistleblowers

Protecting employee rights while also protecting the employer can be a balancing act, but a necessary one in order to maintain a successful and compliant business. One such challenge is maintaining data protection and confidentiality while simultaneously respecting whistleblower protections. And, the importance of remaining diligent in this area of compliance is obvious, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed suit against a company with a confidentiality agreement that allegedly violated whistleblower regulations.

$58 Million Antitrust Settlement Approved for Performing Rights Organization Accused of Monopolization

A nationwide class of local television broadcasters recently celebrated when a federal judge approved a settlement agreement in its antitrust lawsuit against one of the three U.S. performance rights organizations (PROs). In addition to ending five years of vigorous litigation, the deal nets the plaintiffs and its attorneys $58 million and binds the organization to observe the same conduct practices observed by the other two U.S. PROs since 1941.

EEOC Roundup: March 2015

Employment is heavily regulated in the U.S., where it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because he or she made a discrimination complaint, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment-discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

New Volcker Rule FAQ Allows Non-U.S. Banks to Make Certain Investments Despite Offerings to U.S. Residents

Federal regulators recently issued a new interpretation of Title VI of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — commonly referred to as the "Volcker Rule" — that makes it significantly easier for non-U.S. banking entities to invest directly in third-party private equity funds, hedge funds and other private funds. According to the new FAQ from U.S. financial regulatory agencies, foreign banks can invest in third-party funds even if they market and sell ownership interests to U.S. residents.

New OSHA Guidelines Underscore Workplace Violence Risks Faced by Healthcare and Social Service Workers

Workers in the healthcare and social service fields face a significant risk of job-related violence. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), while the number of days away from work due to workplace violence for the entire private sector in 2013 were only around 3 per 10,000 full-time workers, this number is somewhere in the range of 13 to 36 per 10,000 workers for healthcare and social assistance facilities. Faced with this reality, and in recognition of the month of April being “National Workplace Violence Prevention Month,” OSHA has released an updated Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers. While these guidelines create no new legal or regulatory requirements, they do offer important insight into how employers in healthcare and social service industries can minimize workplace violence.

NLRB Provides Comprehensive Rules for Employee Handbook Policies

Employers now have a set of guidelines to keep their employee handbook policies from violating federal labor law. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a comprehensive set of rules outlining what types of policies it considers legal — and illegal — under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Applicable to both union and non-union companies, these rules aim to minimize potential violations of Section 7 caused by policies that infringe on the ability of employees to exercise their right to engage in group activity aimed at improving their terms and conditions of employment.

Supervisor’s “Smoking Gun” Comments Keep ADA Claim Alive

A recent case out of New York reminds employers of the serious impact that off-the-cuff comments can have, especially when they take place during an employee’s termination. A couple of statements uttered by a supervisor, likely without much thought, were the “smoking gun” that kept a former employee’s lawsuit alive.

$1.1 Million Judgment Offers Email Marketers Insight into Canada's Anti-Spam Law

Email marketers had mixed reactions to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) recent announcement of a $1.1 million judgment against a Quebec company for violations of Canada's new Anti-Spam Law (CASL). As the first enforcement action since the CASL went into effect on July 1, 2014, the judgment not only proves Canada's commitment to preventing spam, it offers email marketers insight into how the CRTC will interpret and enforce the law's requirements of implied and express consent.

SEC Looks to Increase Focus on Enforcement of FCPA Accounting Provisions

Government enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) typically involves both criminal charges pursued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), and civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Last fall, however, DOJ began distancing itself from SEC FCPA enforcement efforts — either by declining to prosecute, or by settling the matter through a non-prosecution agreement — leading experts to believe the SEC is increasing its focus on review and enforcement of the FCPA's accounting provisions.


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