Unpaid internships traditionally allow new and inexperienced workers to get the hands-on knowledge needed to gain entry into their field. The number of unpaid internships offered in recent years has mushroomed as employers attempt to minimize costs in a slow economy. Such cost-cutting tactics, however, are starting to turn against employers. Many unpaid internship programs require long hours or offer non-educational menial work lacking in any practical experience. Former interns instituted legal action against large employers like the Charlie Rose Show, Fox Searchlight Pictures and the Hearst Corporation in response to such programs. They also attracted the attention of the Department of Labor (DOL) and similar governmental agencies.
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the case of Vance v. Ball State University that an employee is only a “supervisor” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act if his or her employer has granted the employee authority to take tangible employment actions against the victim of harassment — such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassigning an employee to a position with significantly different responsibilities and making a decision that causes a significant change in benefits. This new standard significantly redefines when an employer can be held vicariously liable for race-based harassment committed by its employees.
Employees who sue their employers for unlawful retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act will have a more difficult time proving their cases under the U.S. Supreme Court decision issued earlier this week in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.
Employees returning from medical leave are often in a weakened emotional and physical state. Human kindness is not the only reason for keeping that in mind, according to a federal court in Illinois. An employer’s knowledge of an employee’s weakened emotional or physical state is a factor relevant to whether the employer is liable for damages arising from “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” the court ruled.
Americans who are up in arms over the heretofore-secret U.S. government surveillance program have one thing they can still be grateful for: They’re not Christopher Finazzo.
The SEC's Division of Corporation Finance recently issued an interpretive guide concerning conflict minerals disclosure requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The following points highlight the issues addressed in the guide.
There's been a recent wave of student activism and federal complaints at colleges and universities campuses nationwide, according to campus observers. Increasingly, students are speaking up — and reporting harassment, rapes and assaults on campus.
Technology companies with ties to the healthcare industry now face stricter compliance requirements after recent amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations became effective. An expanded definition of “business associate” now encompasses any entity responsible for creating, receiving, maintaining or transmitting protected health information (PHI).
Firing an employee because she is lactating or expressing milk is sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month.
A recent study by the Ponemon Institute revealed glaring weaknesses in the data-security practices of many U.S. companies. The participants — consisting of 471 privacy and compliance professionals — each answered a series of questions about their company’s preparedness for a data breach. The responses led to some shocking results, among which was a lack of security protocols for mobile devices. Approximately 58% of respondents either admitted that devices were not tested before connecting to company networks or were unsure if this was a requirement, even though 78% indicated that their employer permits personal mobile devices in the workplace.