Economists have estimated that the blizzard that essentially shut down New York City this past January cost the U.S. more than a billion dollars. These losses come from a variety of sources, including loss of consumerism, loss of employee work time, as well as loss of goods transportation, among other business losses. Indeed, a simple snowstorm can wreak havoc on a city and its businesses. This begs the question: could any of these losses have been avoided? While natural disasters and other unexpected events are usually unavoidable, companies can certainly prepare for them. Yet, there is often insufficient warning to enact preparations prior to such an event taking place. Thus, prudent companies should have comprehensive business continuity plans in place, which can be called into action as soon as an unexpected event occurs.
After a four-year legal battle, a Chicago-area staffing company has reached an agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over two separate discrimination suits, alleging multiple violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The agreement will set the company back $800,000 and require it to take various proactive measures towards preventing future discrimination or harassment.
On May 26, 2015, the IRS announced that hackers had gained access to over 100,000 tax accounts. The data breach involved the “Get Transcript” application, which allows individuals to request transcripts of their past tax returns. The system did require a multi-step authentication process, though, so the IRS is convinced this is not the work of amateurs.
Most employers are aware that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits discrimination against people age 40 and older, but how age discrimination may occur in practice is sometimes more difficult to recognize. One area where employers need to be cautious is in their recruiting, as recruitment limited to only a certain age category can constitute an ADEA violation.
While the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) became law in 2010, it has been slowly transitioning to implementation, with 2015 being the first year of required reportings. For anyone not familiar with the Act, FATCA aims to prevent tax non-compliance among U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts by requiring U.S. taxpayers to report their foreign assets while also requiring Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) to report financial accounts and entities held by U.S. taxpayers.
The FLSA requires employers pay employees the minimum wage, as well as overtime at 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay, to those who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. These requirements apply to all employees — including commissioned employees —unless the employee falls within one of the statutory exemptions and thus does not qualify for minimum wage or overtime pay.
Settlement is often the prudent choice when the odds seem stacked against you, and that may be the case for a city which recently settled with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ alleged sexual discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the allegations appeared to suggest a fairly extreme pattern of sexual harassment which was mishandled by the city in various ways.
The case involved an African American cocktail waitress who claimed she was called a “porch monkey” by another employee twice within a 24 hour period. Shortly after reporting the incidents, her employment was terminated. She sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), claiming a hostile work environment and retaliation.
A major for-profit education corporation is facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because of allegedly fraudulent activity by the company’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer. Since the complaint wasn’t accompanied by a settlement, the SEC seems to believe this alleged fraud to be especially egregious, which may be indicative of the SEC’s austere attitude toward the kind of scheme alleged in the complaint.
The international community has made significant strides in combating corruption, with a proliferation of anti-bribery laws putting companies under pressure to ensure they — and their business partners — are able to detect and/or avoid corrupt behavior in their transactions. According to global advisory firm AlixPartners, more companies are meeting this challenge and making effective anti-corruption training programs a top priority.