As the season of corporate gift giving approaches, compliance officers should be aware of the provision in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials for their business. Specifically, businesses cannot corruptly offer, promise, or give anything of value, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Thus, corporate gifts should be carefully considered to ensure they do not appear to violate these prohibitions.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) established the Office of the Whistleblower in 2010 to administer the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Since then, the Office has received a daily flood of information from tipsters, who range from former spouses to current and former employees to corporate compliance officers. All hope to receive payouts of 30% of monetary sanctions over $1 million for qualified tips of corporate fraud.
The seventh edition of the Kroll Global Fraud Report found that corporate corruption is again on the rise after seeing lower numbers in its previous survey in 2012. The report found that 70% of responding companies were affected by fraud in the past 12 months, up from 61% in 2012. Researchers believe these statistics may be more connected to perception, however, than any true increase in fraud, pointing to a heightened awareness of the issue.
Medical records contain some of the most intimate details about a person’s life, from physical and mental health, social behaviors and personal relationships to financial status. Security breaches involving this information can result in damage ranging from social or psychological harm to financial repercussions such as loss of a job, health insurance or housing. The danger of identity theft always exists if such information falls into the wrong hands. Not surprisingly, medical privacy is a major concern for many Americans.
Employers and employees often find themselves looking to the courts for an interpretation of what is considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, when a disabled employee requests a change in supervisors, the courts have made it clear such a request does not qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
For the second consecutive year, survey results show that companies are ignoring the risks to company data posed by employee use of mobile devices. Coalfire, an independent information technology governance, risk and compliance firm, surveyed individuals in a cross-section of industries across North America; survey participants did not work in their company's IT departments. The survey responses indicate that companies are not educating employees on the necessary security measures for mobile devices in connection with work-related activities.
A Tennessee company will be paying almost $144,000 in back wages and penalties for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Sitel Operating Corp. has agreed to pay 486 employees $68,901 in back wages and pay civil money penalties of $74,900, for repeat violations of the FLSA uncovered in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Money laundering — the practice of disguising the true origin and ownership of cash through legitimate ventures — appears to be alive and well in at least one of America's fast-food destinations. Federal investigators recently accused the owner of three McDonald's franchises of using the restaurants launder drug money.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination based on employees' disabilities. In doing so, it requires that employers provide "reasonable accommodations" — modifications to the workplace or the job — to allow employees with disabilities to perform their jobs. Generally, the ADA has been interpreted to require that employers provide only those accommodations with a connection to the essential functions an employee's job. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling with a much broader interpretation of "reasonable accommodation" that should have employers taking a closer look at accommodation requests.
More and more employers are taking workplace violence seriously and making changes in human-resource policies and employee training to address possible workplace violence. Yet in states that have passed so-called "Bring Your Gun to Work" laws, employers may find themselves in the middle of the gun debate when they attempt to ban firearms on the work site. While these laws vary by state, they essentially allow employers to prohibit employees from bringing firearms into the office or factory, but do not allow employers to ban firearms from workplace parking areas. This year Illinois became the latest state — bringing the total to 23 — to pass this type of law.