The American public is currently experiencing significant anxiety in the face of widespread news coverage of the 2014 Ebola epidemic — the largest in history according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the outbreak primarily affects certain countries in West Africa and the risk of contracting the disease is actually quite low, employers may naturally be alarmed if presented with an applicant or employee who has recently visited West Africa or has otherwise been exposed to Ebola. While such concern is certainly warranted, employers must take care to address such situations properly to avoid violations of employment laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued an industrial supply company, alleging age discrimination in recruiting and hiring in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The company agreed to pay $210,000 to settle the case, which came to the EEOC's attention when an internal recruiter for the company contacted the agency.
U.S. securities regulators recently announced a record-breaking $30 million payout to an anonymous whistleblower living abroad, an amount more than double the previous record of $14 million awarded in 2011. This marks the fourth award to a foreign whistleblower by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a fact the agency says demonstrates the "international breadth" of its whistleblower program formed under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The purpose of this national campaign is to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many contributions of America's workers with disabilities.
A new federal rule raises the minimum wage for employees working on federal contracts from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. The rule will affect employees working under contracts issued for solicitation starting on or after January 1, 2015.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently highlighted the importance of protecting health information at the Seventh Annual "Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance Through HIPAA Security" conference held in September 2014. Participants discussed the present state of health information security and suggested best practices for safeguarding protected health information (PHI) to enhance compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule.
The Obama Administration recently announced it will postpone enforcement of a new rule extending minimum-wage and overtime protections to the nation’s nearly two million home-care workers. Although still scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will not enforce the new rule for the first six months of 2015, and will carry out discretionary enforcement actions in the second six months of the year.
A Chinese court convicted a large British pharmaceutical company of corruption and bribery while doing business in China. As a result, the company must pay a record-breaking fine of $491 million while each of the implicated executives received suspended prison sentences.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is hoping to help financial institutions increase compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Noting that violations often stem from a poor culture of compliance, a recent FinCEN advisory offers guidelines for improving and strengthening an organization's BSA/AML compliance.
Following the loss of two high-profile insider trading cases, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hoping to improve its chances in future actions by taking advantage of expanded administrative powers under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Andrew Ceresney — the head of the SEC's Division of Enforcement — recently indicated the agency's intention to bypass federal courts and pursue more insider trading charges as administrative proceedings. The agency followed this announcement with the hiring oftwo administrative judges, three new attorneys and other staff, nearly doubling the size of its Office of Administrative Law Judges. Many are concerned these moves may afford the SEC a potential "home court advantage" since the procedural safeguards and rights guaranteed to defendants in federal courts are lacking in administrative proceedings.