The Supreme Court has been showing a tendency towards increasing whistleblower protections. The most recent installment of this trend was a recently decided case in which the Court granted whistleblower status to an Air Marshal who directly violated Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations.
The Supreme Court's historic ruling in United States v. Windsor was a big win for advocates of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. Declaring the federal government's restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples unconstitutional opened up a wide variety of federal benefits for married LGBT couples that were previously unavailable. Nearly two years later, one of those benefits will soon include the right to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Companies and institutions hoping for clarification on how to protect themselves from potential antitrust claims or consumer fraud violations recently participated in a symposium sponsored by law firm Baker & Hostetler. The event focused on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) enforcement of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (Act), a provision subject to vigorous debate given its vague prohibition on "unfair methods of competition" and "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."
Businesses are recognizing the need for new approaches to data security as high-profile cybersecurity incidents reveal the true impact a data breach can have on an organization. One of the biggest realizations is that IT solutions are no longer enough in a technologically focused age where nearly everyone is online — both at home and at work — and cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to ply their trade. Rather, cybersecurity is a business problem organizations must address from the top down, with every department invested in a collaborative data protection plan.
Even almost five years after its enactment, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act continues to add new features to the legal landscape. The most recent such regulation comes from Section 342 of the Act, entitled “Office of Minority and Women Inclusion” (OMWI). As may be surmised from its title, Section 342 aims to impose diversity and inclusion requirements in the financial industry. The law seeks to effectuate this through the establishment of respective OMWIs within each of the nine agencies that enforce Dodd-Frank. All nine agencies have established their own OMWI.
Congressional Hearing Highlights Concerns Over President's New Federal Contractor Reporting Requirements
Republicans and business groups continued to criticize the aggressive regulatory initiatives in President Obama's Executive Order 13673 (EO13673) at a recent House joint subcommittee meeting last month. The testimony heard by the House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions generally echoed concerns previously expressed by business groups shortly after the president issued EO 13673. These include claims that EO13673 imposes unreasonable burdens, harsh penalties and adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy on the federal procurement process.
Women have made tremendous strides in the last few decades moving into jobs and occupations previously only engaged in by men. Nonetheless, a high profile lawsuit scrutinizing the overwhelmingly male world of venture capital and recent criticism of the technology industry's mostly male workforce highlight the need for further improvement.
One would assume that a non-profit organization that provides behavioral, rehabilitative and social support services would be adept at complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But, this does not seem to be the case for a recently-sued social services organization. According to a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a former employee, the organization was both non-accommodating and retaliatory towards an employee with a disability.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld a $185 million judgment against a national retailer for state wage-and-hour violations, highlighting the risks employers face when they try to maximize profits at the expense of their employees. While the evidence showed the retailer's attempt to increase earnings with understaffed stores and overworked employees, this a strategy that clearly backfired. Not only is the retailer liable to the nearly 188,000 past and present employees in the class action lawsuit, news of the court's decision caused its earnings to drop four percent.
A national bank discovered it doesn't always pay to keep certain clients happy after paying a $67 million civil judgment against it for its role in helping a customer operate a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $1.2 billion. The bank recently paid the judgment three years after a jury found it guilty of activities that also led to $52.5 million in federal regulatory penalties and more than $600 million in restitution to investors impacted by the investment fraud. While such civil liability is rare, it does highlight the role banks play in these elaborate schemes and the vigilance required to avoid a similar fate.