A new federal rule raises the minimum wage for employees working on federal contracts from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. The rule will affect employees working under contracts issued for solicitation starting on or after January 1, 2015.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently highlighted the importance of protecting health information at the Seventh Annual "Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance Through HIPAA Security" conference held in September 2014. Participants discussed the present state of health information security and suggested best practices for safeguarding protected health information (PHI) to enhance compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule.
The Obama Administration recently announced it will postpone enforcement of a new rule extending minimum-wage and overtime protections to the nation’s nearly two million home-care workers. Although still scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will not enforce the new rule for the first six months of 2015, and will carry out discretionary enforcement actions in the second six months of the year.
A Chinese court convicted a large British pharmaceutical company of corruption and bribery while doing business in China. As a result, the company must pay a record-breaking fine of $491 million while each of the implicated executives received suspended prison sentences.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is hoping to help financial institutions increase compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Noting that violations often stem from a poor culture of compliance, a recent FinCEN advisory offers guidelines for improving and strengthening an organization's BSA/AML compliance.
Following the loss of two high-profile insider trading cases, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hoping to improve its chances in future actions by taking advantage of expanded administrative powers under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Andrew Ceresney — the head of the SEC's Division of Enforcement — recently indicated the agency's intention to bypass federal courts and pursue more insider trading charges as administrative proceedings. The agency followed this announcement with the hiring oftwo administrative judges, three new attorneys and other staff, nearly doubling the size of its Office of Administrative Law Judges. Many are concerned these moves may afford the SEC a potential "home court advantage" since the procedural safeguards and rights guaranteed to defendants in federal courts are lacking in administrative proceedings.
Although it might seem strange to suggest that a firefighter's fear of entering a burning building is a disability, that's exactly what a Texas jury decided. In the end, however, the Texas Supreme Court overturned the jury's decision and determined that the firefighter’s fear of fire was not a condition that could be reasonably accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As the relationship between the American public and computers continues to evolve, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promotes safe and secure Internet use each October during National Cyber Security Awareness Month. While 30 years ago only 8.2% of U.S. households owned a computer, today, Americans are connecting to the Internet from home, work and/or school and using multiple devices to perform a variety of tasks online. Unfortunately, this provides criminals with new opportunities as incidents of online identity theft, fraud and/or abuse become increasingly more common and expensive to address.
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor prompted many businesses to review and revise their employee benefit plans. However, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently reminded businesses that employee benefits are not the only area of concern they face following Windsor. According to guidance issued by its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) those considered covered entities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must also ensure Windsor is properly applied under HIPAA's Privacy Rule.
Third-party arrangements continue to proliferate despite increased regulatory scrutiny meant to boost compliance with a variety of complex laws and regulations, making third-party risk management more important than ever. While generally this onerous task is undertaken by regulated institutions, a recent white paper urges third-party businesses to be more proactive partners in the compliance process.