U.S. regulators signaled their intention to continue aggressive enforcement of anti-money laundering (AML) laws by using the Bank Secrecy Act — a law generally used to target large banks and financial institutions — to charge the owners of two companies that sell fake-hair products with AML violations. Shake-N-Go Fashion and Model Hair Fashion, which share the same owners, agreed to pay $15 million to settle allegations that they allowed customers to structure payments in a way that avoided federal reporting requirements.
Employers should re-examine their parental-leave policies in light of changing views of the father's role in the family. When considering such policies and whether they are unlawfully discriminatory, it is important to appreciate the difference between time off related to pregnancy and related medical conditions, on the one hand, and time off related to childcare on the other.
Survey data and federal statistics suggest that employers and employees are becoming less tolerant and accommodating of religious differences. The trend, if borne out, will have important legal implications for employers, especially those with diverse workforces.
Last year was a busy one for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to a report by the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP. During the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, the EEOC sharpened its focus on cases involving systemic discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, the agency achieved mixed results in litigation and monetary penalties were down slightly from 2012.
Target's recent data breach affected some 40 million shoppers, highlighting the growing risk for businesses in a digital world. Computer failures, human error, employee wrongdoing and theft all can cause data breaches that compromise customer and company data. It is imperative that businesses adopt or update their data security measures and corresponding data breach response plans. Failure to do so can lead to lost customers and revenue, significant fines and costly litigation.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced settlement of charges against Accretive Health, Inc. The FTC had alleged that Accretive engaged in an unfair business practice when it failed "to employ reasonable and appropriate measures to protect personal information against unauthorized access."
Three law firms — Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Shearman & Sterling — recently issued reports in which they anticipated vigorous enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) higher criminal penalties, increased international cooperation and a continued focus on prosecution of individuals in 2014. The firms' review of the government's 2013 FCPA activity found a commitment to crack down on egregious bribery practices to obtain overseas business and the use of more innovative methods in investigating and prosecuting violations. Despite a drop in the number of FCPA cases filed in 2013, these efforts resulted in a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions.
Many companies establish a Code of Conduct as either a matter of course in connection with their compliance program, or because they are legally required to implement one. However, not much value is gained from a code implemented simply to satisfy regulators or stakeholders. Rather, a code's effectiveness is more tangible if created to make an organization's values and expectations an integral part of its culture. Implementing a code of conduct on this basis allows an organization not only to demonstrate integrity, but gain the trust of shareholders, partners, customers and the government.
The person who said "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" did not have to contend with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Although bribery is an integral part of daily life in many countries and can seem a prerequisite to obtaining or advancing any project, the perils awaiting foreigners who adapt to corrupt cultural norms are substantial.
In 2014, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will continue to ramp up its Title IX enforcement efforts. Accordingly, universities should carefully review their anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures to make sure they comply with the law. OCR investigations may be lengthy and broad in scope, often lasting months and extending beyond one particular incident of alleged sexual misconduct. In a typical investigation, the OCR delves into all sexual misconduct complaints filed with a university over an extended period of time and reviews the effectiveness of the university’s Title IX policies.