In California, training supervisors to prevent workplace bullying is now required by law, even though bullying itself is generally not unlawful in California unless it involves a protected characteristic or constitutes legally prohibited discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
The potential success of a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act (FCA) is significantly reduced when the government fails to intervene because such cases are often assumed to lack merit. However, a plaintiff recently proved this is not always the case. He chose to pursue his claim after the government declined to intercede and now stands to share in a $5.12 million settlement with his former employer to settle a lawsuit alleging the company violated both the federal FCA and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS).
Employers can sometimes lawfully fire employees for posting critical comments about their jobs on social media, even if employees post the comments on their own time and on their own equipment. However, that's not always the case.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is typically committed by a supervisor or co-worker. However, employers may be liable for sex discrimination if the harasser is a client or customer. Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a retail warehouse chain, alleging that the company failed to take steps to protect an employee when she was repeatedly stalked by a customer. The company's failure, the EEOC claimed, created a sexually hostile work environment, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits sex discrimination.
In the past 20 years, considerable progress has been made in developing corporate anti-corruption programs, as companies recognize the damaging effects of bribery and corruption on business, reputations and the global economy. Preventing corruption is an ongoing process, requiring organizations to keep their policies and procedures up to date with business, economic and technological changes. This includes having a verification process in place to access and verify the effectiveness of their anti-corruption programs to deter, detect and remediate corruption.
Compensation of at least $14 million apparently wasn't enough for the former executive of a national specialty retailer recently sentenced to eight years in prison. Instead, he garnered an additional $25 million in kickbacks while defrauding his employer over the course of ten years, providing a perfect example of a "malicious insider" using his position to steal from his employer.
Conflicts of interest arise in any relationship where a duty of care or trust exists between two or more parties. For financial services companies the identification and management of conflicts of interest must be a core competency.
The question of whether employers should pay interns remains a difficult one. While in some fields it is traditional to hire college students and recent graduates as unpaid interns, this can become a costly mistake if a government agency or a court in a private lawsuit finds that the interns should have been classified as regular paid employees subject to federal or state minimum-wage and overtime laws.
Recent events in Ukraine and the Middle East have expanded sanctions placed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against certain foreign financial institutions and individuals. This makes it particularly important for companies operating overseas to understand who is involved in a transaction and recognize situations that present a risk of sanctions violations.
Despite workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives, religious discrimination complaints continue to be an issue for employers. This makes it more important than ever for organizations to be prepared to respond to religious-accommodation requests, in accordance with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.