Companies often take extensive measures to avoid litigation, particularly with respect to employment issues. In particular, as the number of employment discrimination claims continues to rise, employers should be on their guard from the very beginning of the hiring process and remain vigilant in implementing measures to minimize potential claims.
Automated teller machine maker NCR Corp. has agreed to settle charges of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. sanctions violations. In 2012, a whistleblower accused the company's board members and executives of violating U.S. sanctions in Syria and bribing government officials in China and the Middle East. As part of the settlement, NCR Corp. will be required to strengthen its risk and compliance program, including increased compliance training for company employees and those who work with the company. It must also develop a China-specific supplement to chart the company’s gifts and entertainment expenditures within the country, and implement a process to monitor company-wide gift and entertainment expenditures.
The Second Circuit may have granted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a new weapon against insider trading. In SEC v. Contorinis, the court endorsed an expansive theory of disgorgement, allowing the SEC to require the defendant to disgorge funds over which he never had ownership or control.
Discrimination claims in FY 2013 fell by almost 6% from the previous fiscal year, according to new data released as a supplement to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal Year 2013. The new data — including the number of private sector charges received, federal lawsuits filed and monetary awards recovered — includes detailed charge breakdowns by claim type and state.
Federal fines for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may not exceed $1.5 million per incident per year. That's already a big number to think about — but employers also need to remember that state and regional governments may impose separate fines in addition to the federal ones, thus increasing the potential cost of privacy and security breaches. This fact became clear when the Puerto Rican Health Insurance Administration (HIA) fined Triple-S Management Corp. (Triple-S) an unprecedented $6.8 million for its alleged failure to properly respond to a breach of protected health information (PHI).
A recent decision by the Seventh Circuit in Zayas v. Rockford Memorial Hospital highlights for employers the importance of documenting disciplinary actions taken with employees. Despite the plaintiff's evidence of satisfactory job performance and discriminatory comments by co-workers, an employer successfully avoided liability for discrimination after firing the employee by providing documented evidence of a non-discriminatory reason for the termination.
Data breaches are increasingly common, with an estimated $11 billion in global credit-card fraud in 2012 alone. Yet according to a new report, many organizations still fail to take the necessary security measures to prevent the theft of payment card data by cybercriminals.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been increasingly aggressive in its scrutiny of immigration-related employment practices. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in 2012. Violations are also more expensive, with fines growing from $1 million to nearly $13 million between 2009 and 2012.
Sanctions have recently been a favorite tool of U.S. foreign policy makers seeking to financially coerce compliance with their national security and foreign policy goals. Accordingly, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has a bevy of powers at its disposal to enforce these sanctions, including freezing assets, barring access to the U.S. financial system and imposing hefty fines for non-compliance. As OFAC tracks money through the world financial system, those who violate U.S. sanctions face significant repercussions.
French bank BNP Paribas (BNP) recently announced it has set aside $1.1 billion to cover the anticipated cost of violations of US economic sanctions and anti-money laundering rules. The bank's own internal investigation revealed a large number of payments involving sanctioned countries. In addition, US investigators — including the Justice Department and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) — are focusing on whether BNP violated US laws by disguising transactions with Iran, Sudan and Cuba.