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DOJ Announces Transgender Discrimination Prohibited under Title VII

According to a memo released by Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now interpret federal law — specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — to prohibit workplace harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender status.

Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage Expected this Summer

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it will rule on the legality of same-sex marriage and issue what is expected to be a historic decision with a widespread impact on American culture. Consolidating appeals from four separate states, the Court narrowed its inquiry to two issues: does the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process forbid states from restricting marriage to heterosexual couples, and can states refuse to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states?

2014 Corruption Perceptions Index Highlights Need for Greater International Cooperation

Following the release of Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the international watchdog group urges greater international cooperation to stem corruption and abuses of power that undermine economic development and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Twitter Moves to Combat Online Harassment

A recent Pew Research study found 40% of adult internet users have experienced online harassment. Given that 66% of online harassment occurs on social networking websites, it is significant that Twitter has decided to take steps to protect its users from harassment with changes aimed at not only making it easier for victims to report harassment, but to block those who participate in such behavior.

Media Company Charged with Frat House Atmosphere in Sexual Harassment Suit

A nationwide media company is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit claiming the "adult frat house" culture of its southern California office contributed to multiple instances of sexual harassment by male employees against female coworkers. Shortly thereafter, the company announced the termination of an employee based on misconduct revealed by an internal investigation, while defending its commitment to a safe and comfortable work environment.

Fifth Circuit Rules Revealing Whistleblower's Identity Is Materially Adverse Action

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a notice revealing a whistleblower's identity to other employees can be considered a "materially adverse" action and violates the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). The court upheld an award of $30,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress and reputational harm previously issued by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Administrative Review Board (ARB).

FTC Head Claims Antitrust Enforcement Supports Affordable Care Act

Edith Ramirez, head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), recently defended antitrust enforcement efforts in the healthcare industry against claims that such regulation undermines efforts to contain costs through provider collaboration and contradicts the goals the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Her article in the New England Journal of Medicine claims that antitrust enforcement is essential to support the goals of the ACA and the overall function of the healthcare market.

EEOC to Offer Guidance on Wellness Programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced it will soon issue guidance on EEOC compliance when encouraging employees to participate in employer-sponsored wellness programs. The guidance — to be released next month — is expected to address both the relationship between federal health care laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to incentive-based wellness programs, as well as the meaning of "voluntary" under the ADA.

Cosmetics Giant Puts Up $135 Million for FCPA Violations

The Chinese subsidiary of a major U.S. cosmetics company recently pleaded guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and agreed to pay $67.7 million to settle criminal charges with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The company will pay an additional $67.35 million to settle the civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allowing its employees to hand out $8 million in gifts to Chinese government officials in exchange for business benefits.

IT Maintenance Crucial for HIPAA Compliance

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced an agreement with a medical center to settle charges stemming from the center’s failure to prevent malware from infecting its computers. The malicious programming breached the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of 2,743 individuals in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

ACC Alliance Partner
Thomson Reuters