Several recent guilty pleas in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) case gave prosecutors a “rare victory following a string of defeats in similar bribery investigations,” according to the National Law Journal. The case involved a California-based company, Control Components Inc. (CCI), which designs and manufactures valves for the worldwide nuclear, gas and oil industries. Federal prosecutors charged several of CCI’s executives with paying $4.9 million in bribes to officials in various countries, including China, Malaysia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, in order to get contracts for CCI.
Federal law prohibits treating job applicants and employees differently based on their citizenship status, as long as the applicants and employees are authorized to work in the United States. The Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas casino, alleging that it required non-citizen employees to produce more — or different — documents and information than the law required them to produce. The lawsuit also alleges that the casino required employees who were lawful permanent residents to undergo unnecessary reverification procedures. The suit asks for “full remedial relief to work-authorized non-U.S. citizen employees for the losses they have suffered, including back pay and reinstatement,” as well as an unspecified fine.
Companies with valuable intellectual property have to protect their assets, in part by keeping up with the changing domestic and international laws that regulate copyrights, trademarks and patents. In a recent lawsuit ,TF1, a popular French television station, sued Google in a French court. The lawsuit hinged on the question of who was responsible for copyright-infringing material posted on the Internet. TF1 claimed that Google should be liable for copyright infringement for copies of its television shows that users had posted on YouTube, which Google owns. The court, however, found in Google’s favor and dismissed the television company’s claims. TF1 is considering an appeal, calling the decision “surprising in several respects.”
New York's at-will employment doctrine survived scrutiny by the state's highest court in a case that affirmed the termination of the chief compliance officer of a hedge fund. J. Sullivan was fired after he confronted the company's CEO about the timing of stock trades made in the accounts of the CEO and his relatives. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the circumstances of Sullivan's termination did not meet New York's narrow exception to the at-will employment rule.
Liking a Facebook page can get employees in trouble at work, and clicking the "like" button isn't the only social-media move that's off limits for employees. Increasingly, employers are adopting social-media policies that set boundaries for employees' online behavior. For those who don't, employees may push those boundaries to their limits.
Which employees are most at risk of becoming victims of violent attacks? The first answers that spring to mind might be employees who work in high-crime neighborhoods; those who work with violent or unstable people, such as prison populations; those who work directly with the public; or those who transport or guard valuable items. While employees who work in those situations are certainly at risk of on-the-job violence, they are not the only ones. Among the most common perpetrators of violence against employees are other employees, according to a recent study by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) of federal government workers.
New advances in technology for smartphones, tablets and computers, while eagerly embraced by users, often bring new risks of data breaches or loss of data privacy. Companies that allow their employees to use their own personal devices for work-related purposes may be especially vulnerable. Because of these risks, IBM recently decided to ban the use of Siri — the powerful voice-recognition software on the new iPhone — on employees’ phones.
Employers already know that embracing diversity in the workplace can help attract top talent. Now, a new study shows that it may also increase individual workers’ feelings of satisfaction with their jobs.
It's crucial that sensitive information stored on computers be handled correctly in order to help defend against hackers who are eager to exploit any weakness in a system. In a recent example, hackers stole hundreds of thousands of online medical records from Utah state computers — a debacle that led to the resignation of the head of the state’s Department of Technology Services.
If it passes, a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives in May will require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. The proposed legislation, called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, would also prohibit employers from requiring pregnant employees to take leave when the employer could offer a reasonable accommodation instead, or requiring pregnant employees to accept accommodations they don’t want to take.