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Employer Violates Public Policy by Retaliating against "Perceived" Whistleblower

A recent California court decision highlighted the importance of getting your facts straight before taking action against an employee. The ruling stemmed from a retaliation lawsuit brought by a woman whose former employer terminated her for reporting state regulatory violations. The only problem: she wasn't the one who reported the alleged violations.

$15 Million Awarded to Former Employees For Harassment and Discrimination

A trucking and ground support services company is paying dearly for alleged employee discrimination and harassment. Last month, a jury awarded nearly $15 million to seven former employees who sued the company over practices in their Commerce City, Colorado, warehouse. The award included $318,000 in back pay, $680,000 for emotional distress, and $13 million in punitive damages, in addition to plaintiffs’ attorney fees.

Settlement Reminds Employers Probationary Periods Are Not Immune to the ADA

Many employers reserve the right to terminate a new employee at any time during a "probationary period" if they find a new hire is not suited for the job. All too often, this gives employers a false sense of security in the belief they can terminate an employee for any reason during that period. However, a pipe-fitting manufacturer recently discovered this can be a costly mistake after it agreed to a $65,000 settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Top Compliance Trends for 2015

Compliance professionals must remain vigilant in keeping up-to-date on regulatory changes that may affect their compliance programs. Learn what key trends are developing in the compliance landscape for 2015. Please click on the image for a larger view.

Company Updates Code of Conduct after Ousting CEO for Sexual Harassment

Unethical leadership can be devastating for a company. For a large apparel company, the sexual misconduct of its ex-CEO has it scrambling to repair its image and prove it will no longer tolerate such behavior. The company recently made an important move towards this goal by demonstrating its commitment to moving in a new direction with a revised code of conduct for its workforce.

FMLA Offers Employers No Protection against Changes in Essential Job Functions or Undue Hardship

A federal district court recently ruled that an inability to perform essential job functions plays no role in determining whether an employee qualifies for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Unlike the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this means employers must provide FMLA leave, even if it would permanently remove an essential function of the employee's job.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Online Threats Are Illegal

As the internet continues to swiftly transform the way we do business, shop and socialize, it also offers a new platform for those with more criminal or malicious intentions. While some of these activities are clearly prohibited, the legality of others is more ambiguous as lawmakers and regulators struggle to apply traditional rules and legal theories to online activities. The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments involving one such gray area — online harassment — and will soon rule on how the law should differentiate between illegal online threats and those that are protected by the First Amendment.

Sentencing of CEO Highlights Importance of a Good "Tone at the Top"

Highlighting the peril of unethical business leadership, a judge recently sentenced the former CEO of a bankrupt cash-management firm to 14 years in prison for defrauding more than 70 customers of more than $665 million before the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2007. The judge also sentenced the firm's former head trader to eight years for his role in the fraudulent scheme and ordered both defendants to pay restitution totaling $665,923,451.

Paid Sick Leave Laws on the Rise

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama revealed his plans to expand on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections by guaranteeing paid sick time for employees. Obama will start this initiative with federal government employees, but plans to move towards expansion across sectors. In his speech, the President pointed to the public support Massachusetts received in passing its paid sick leave ballot measure in November.

NLRB Does an About-Face: Yes, Employees Can Use Company Email Systems

In 2007, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that employees have no right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to use their company’s email system for union organizing and other concerted activities protected by Section 7 of the Act. The NLRB recently reconsidered that position, however, and — reflecting on the changing role of technology in our society since its previous decision — changed its mind. Citing the importance of email as a form of communication in the 21st century, the Board ruled that the NRLA does give employees the right to use company email systems during their "nonworking time."

ACC Alliance Partner
Thomson Reuters