On December 3, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced its Final Rule implementing Executive Order (EO) 13672 prohibiting federal government contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although originally intended to be issued without notice and comment, on December 8, 2014, the agency published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on the new regulations for a 60-day period. It is unclear what impact such comments will have on the Final Rule, however, since the agency only opened up the rule to comments in response to congressional criticism of the agency’s rulemaking process.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained a record $5.69 billion from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending September 30. This marks the first year the DOJ recovered more than $5 billion under the False Claims Act (FCA) and brings the total amount recovered since 2009 to $22.75 billion, representing more than half of all recoveries under the FCA in the past 28 years.
Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned U.S. businesses to be alert for a malicious software bug capable of erasing hard drives and crashing networks. Although not specifically mentioned, cybersecurity experts say the alert appears to describe the malware used to shut down the worldwide computer systems of a major U.S. entertainment company earlier this month.
Despite concerns regarding data security issues and potential compliance burdens, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently notified more than 2,500 entities of upcoming audits that will be subject to new data reporting requirements.
According to the annual report issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), fiscal year 2014 was a "historic" one for the whistleblower program initiated pursuant to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. In addition to the largest number of tips ever received — more than 3,600 — both the number and amounts of whistleblower awards also broke records.
According to a recent report issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international efforts to tackle bribery have increased dramatically since the implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Anti-Bribery Convention) in 1997. The OECD's report on its analysis of more than 400 cases in 41 countries highlights these efforts with insights into how, where and to whom bribes are being paid and how such crimes are being sanctioned.
Information sharing allows for better insight into existing threats and vulnerabilities and alerts organizations to the existence of important data that can help prevent cyberattacks and mitigate the effects of ongoing attacks. Yet, concerns about civil liability or the use of such information by government regulators often prevents organizations from sharing data when an attack occurs. As data breaches grow more common and cybercriminals become more sophisticated, however, many organizations are putting aside such concerns and collaborating with others to develop methods that allow them to safely share information and use it against cybercriminals.
In a clear example of what not to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a simple and avoidable mistake turned into almost $1 million in liability for an employer accused of firing an employee for sleeping on the job. A federal jury recently awarded $921,657 to a former police officer, who previously was diagnosed with sleep apnea, after his city employer fired him for insubordination, unprofessional behavior and other non-discriminatory reasons. Unfortunately, the city also cited the officer's disability as one of the reasons for his termination.
The recent arrest of a New York restaurant owner for failing to pay her employees minimum wage and overtime pay highlights the aggressive efforts currently used to enforce employment laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Both state and federal regulators have been increasingly willing to add jail time for employers who seek to cut costs by avoiding overtime requirements or misclassifying employees.
Irregular accounting practices and a corresponding £263 million — approximately $423 million — in overstated profits were recently revealed at one of Britain's largest supermarket chains, sending company shares plummeting and prompting an investigation by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Brought to light by a whistleblower in the company's accounting department, the scandal has many questioning the quality of the retailer's governance and pointing to an improper culture under the company's former chief executive.