The operator of a chain of Taco Bells agreed to pay $27,000 to resolve a lawsuit brought by the EEOC, which alleged the company engaged in religious discrimination by firing an employee for refusing to cut his hair.
Federal authorities have adopted a new enforcement strategy to put pressure on Medicare fraudsters. The new practice, known as "Medicare payment suspension," played a key role in a recent government strike force involving an alleged $452 million in Medicare fraud.
The Department of Labor reached an agreement with Wal-Mart – and issued a stern warning to other companies -- after finding that Wal-Mart violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by misclassifying more than 4,500 employees as exempt from overtime pay.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission sued a Florida union, the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, alleging that the union engaged in intentional racial discrimination by negotiating, in collective bargaining, in favor of promotional exams that had a disparate impact against African-American candidates.
Small-practice doctors and solo practitioners beware: The small size of your practice won't save you from being fined for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy and Security Rules. The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services recently imposed a $100,000 civil penalty against a five-physician cardiac-surgery practice in Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona for HIPAA violations.
A new directive from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses workplace violence, calling it “a recognized hazard in nursing and residential care facilities.” OSHA officials who inspect these facilities are instructed to “investigate for the potential or existence” of incidents of workplace violence during their regular investigations. This instruction also applies to worksites in other industries that have a high incidence of workplace violence.
Companies that have invested in information security systems that quarantine viruses and detect intruders have discovered a new threat: their employees' personal mobile devices. Increasingly, companies have been letting office workers use their personal smartphones and tablets on the job. It seemed like a win-win solution: Employers gained no-cost access to expensive productivity tools, and employees got to use their preferred mobile devices.
With the arrest of former BP engineer Kurt Mix, federal prosecutors sent a strong message about a company's duty to preserve records when it is under a federal criminal investigation. Authorities charged Mix with obstruction of justice for deleting text messages about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster from his iPhone. He was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond hours after his arrest.
The federal government is waging a new, high-tech war against healthcare fraud, and the message from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to criminals thinking about committing Medicare fraud is “don’t even try.”
A Burger King franchisee agreed to pay $150,000 to a former employee to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the lawsuit, a supervisor repeatedly harassed a teenage crew member. The crew member complained to management but, according to the lawsuit, her complaints were ignored. She finally quit in order to protect herself.