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Dodd-Frank Splits Courts on Granting Whistleblower Protections

As more claimants take advantage of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) whistleblower program created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, courts have increasingly been called upon to decipher the law's provisions protecting claimants from retaliation. In particular, the issue of whether Dodd-Frank requires an informant to make a complaint directly to the SEC in order to qualify as a whistleblower — and thus be protected from retaliation — has become more divisive and could eventually be left to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.

Anti-Corruption Enforcement Targets Financial Service Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently made enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) a top priority, second only to terrorism. While an overall increase in enforcement puts all industries on alert, the financial services industry — already facing heightened regulatory scrutiny in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis — should be particularly concerned. While historically not a sector that has seen much FCPA enforcement action, the financial services industry should prepare for increased enforcement of anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws not only in the U.S., but around the world.

Oklahoma, Louisiana and Rhode Island Continue Trend Enacting New Password-Protection Laws

In 2012, Maryland became the first state to prohibit employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide passwords to their personal social media accounts. Since then, the trend for states to limit employers' access to personal online content has been accelerating. There are now 17 states that have enacted such laws, with at least 11 more and the federal government considering doing the same.

OSHA To Refer Untimely Whistleblower Complaints to the NLRB

Whistleblower complaints filed under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) that might previously have been dismissed because they exceed the 30-day statute of limitations may find new life as unfair labor-practices claims filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

6 Tips for Creating an Effective Workplace-Violence Prevention Program

A medical center faces $78,000 in fines for failing to protect its employees against workplace violence, following an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The investigation revealed that, despite approximately 40 incidents of workplace violence against employees within a two-month period, the medical center failed to take any effective measures to prevent such assaults. According to OSHA, employees were subject to threats, verbal and physical assaults by patients and visitors and injuries while breaking up altercations between patients. The most serious incident resulted in severe brain injuries sustained by a nurse following an attack at work.

EEOC Roundup: July 2014

Employment is heavily regulated in the U.S., where it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because he or she made a discrimination complaint, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment-discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Worker-Classification Lawsuit Claims Drivers Are Employees, Not Independent Contractors

A class-action suit recently filed in Massachusetts against an on-demand car service alleges the company misclassified its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. As a result, according to the complaint, the drivers have to bear the burden of expenses that the company should be paying, including the costs of owning or leasing their vehicles, gas and insurance.

Survey Shows Cybersecurity Danger Worse than Most Retailers Think

There's a huge gap between retailers' perceptions and reality when it comes to cyberattacks and preventing data breaches, according to a new study from Dimensional Research and Tripwire. When asked how quickly their organizations could detect a data breach of critical systems, 60% thought that the breach would be discovered within 72 hours. Only 20% expressed doubt that their organizations would be able to discover the breaches quickly.

Antitrust Enforcement Set for Record Year of Fines

Global antitrust enforcement is on pace to set record-level fines in 2014, as the Antitrust Division (Division) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the European Commission (EC) undertake particularly aggressive enforcement efforts, according to a 2014 mid-year cartel report by law firm Allen & Overy. U.S. authorities have issued $709 million in fines in the first half of the 2014 fiscal year — a number three times higher than penalties levied the first half of fiscal year 2013. European Union (EU) efforts total $1.95 billion worth of fines so far. These numbers are expected to rise as authorities traditionally post their biggest fines at the end of the year.

Court Upholds Employer’s Inflexible Leave Policy

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a number of lawsuits against companies with inflexible leave policies, claiming the policies are discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ACC Alliance Partner
Thomson Reuters