Many are up in arms following a memorandum issued by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) authorizing employees of a national restaurant chain to argue that the franchisor is jointly responsible with the franchisee for unfair labor practices. Many find this less restrictive "joint employer" standard disturbing as it was not only overturned by the Board almost 30 years ago, but could make corporate franchisors, parent companies and those who use contract workers liable in worker lawsuits, and potentially responsible in any collective bargaining activity.
Employers often take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, ADA compliance efforts may be useless in situations where an accommodation request or disability is not readily apparent. For this reason it is crucial that human resources professionals are able to recognize and effectively address accommodation requests.
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.