When hiring new employees, many factors are considered. This may include conducting a criminal background check. And, if a background check comes back showing a criminal history, employers may be tempted to simply throw that application in the trash. Yet, a company can find itself facing legal violations if applicants with criminal histories are dismissed too frivolously.
The February 4, 2015 announcement of a data breach at a national health insurer highlighted the need for tighter cybersecurity measures in an industry entrusted with the security of large amounts of sensitive personal information often targeted by criminals. Four days later, New York State's Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced it would not wait on insurers to take action, but intended to implement new, targeted measures to strengthen cybersecurity in the insurance industry.
A religious accommodation case that we previously touched on had its oral arguments heard before the Supreme Court on February 25, 2015. The case, which involves the issue of religious accommodation in the workplace, has the potential to change the dynamic of job interviews. While religion is a topic often considered taboo in employment interviews, it could become purposefully discussed in the hiring process in order to prevent discrimination. Whether it will be up to the employer or the interviewee to begin the discussion is yet to be determined, and we will learn later this spring where the Court feels the burden should lie.
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)
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.
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."
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.