Government regulators have been increasingly willing to hold individuals personally liable for their role in compliance failures. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently brought charges against a former bank employee for her failure to properly detect and report insider trading violations while acting as the bank's compliance officer. In fact, the SEC claims the officer not only overlooked suspicious activity, but attempted to conceal her mistake by altering a document before submitting it to the agency during an insider trading investigation.
On September 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in connection with the mandates set forth in Executive Order 13665 (EO 13665). If adopted, the proposed rule would prohibit a federal contractor or subcontractor from maintaining what are known as "pay secrecy" policies banning the discussion of compensation among employees.
Following the end of its fiscal year on September 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported that FY 2014 was notable not only for the record number of enforcement actions filed, but for the wide range of matters covered, many of which were addressed for the first time ever.
Image often plays a significant role in a company’s ability to market its products or services. But does maintaining that image justify violating a person’s civil rights? That's the question the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take on in a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against a large national retailer who felt that a job applicant's religious head scarf would damage its reputation.
A major national bank will pay $850,000 for allowing a data breach to compromise the personal information of 260,000 of its customers. Nine states — Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont — will share in the payout following a collaborative investigative effort into the bank's loss of unencrypted back-up tapes in Massachusetts.
In a recent case, a police officer sued his employer, claiming that his inability to get along with co-workers was actually a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The officer, who was fired for intimidating and demeaning behavior, claimed that his interpersonal problems were caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Therefore, he alleged, he was fired for his disability, which is illegal under the ADA.
Violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) can lead to significant fines and serious consequences, leaving many to wonder why an organization would opt to voluntarily disclose violations. This is exactly what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) encourage, however, claiming that such disclosures play a significant role in their enforcement decisions, a point repeatedly emphasized in their joint FCPA Guidance issued in 2012. Despite these assurances, the obvious risks require that organizations carefully evaluate the pros and cons of voluntary disclosure when FCPA violations are discovered.
A company that operates 146 skilled nursing facilities agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to settle allegations brought under the False Claims Act (FCA). This settlement, brought about by the Justice Department in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), is the government's largest failure of care settlement ever reached with a skilled nursing facility chain.
The American public is currently experiencing significant anxiety in the face of widespread news coverage of the 2014 Ebola epidemic — the largest in history according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the outbreak primarily affects certain countries in West Africa and the risk of contracting the disease is actually quite low, employers may naturally be alarmed if presented with an applicant or employee who has recently visited West Africa or has otherwise been exposed to Ebola. While such concern is certainly warranted, employers must take care to address such situations properly to avoid violations of employment laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued an industrial supply company, alleging age discrimination in recruiting and hiring in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The company agreed to pay $210,000 to settle the case, which came to the EEOC's attention when an internal recruiter for the company contacted the agency.