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EEOC Roundup: October 2014

Employment is heavily regulated in the U.S., where it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because he or she made a discrimination complaint, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment-discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

OSHA Launches National Dialogue to Update Hazardous Substance Standards

The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently launched a national dialogue aimed at revising its permissible exposure limits (PELs) to more effectively prevent the adverse effects of working with hazardous substances. As the first step in this discussion, the agency called on relevant stakeholders to provide information on their current management practices for hazardous chemical exposure in the workplace and suggested strategies for updating OSHA's PELs.

10 Tips for Using Social Media during the Hiring Process

Many human resource professionals go beyond the use of traditional resumes, references and face-to-face interviews and turn to social media to gain additional insight into a candidate's qualifications and personality. However, while these websites may appear to be a quick and easy resource for assessing job applicants, they also contain information that — if used improperly — can lead to violations of state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Therefore, employers may find that the potential legal risks far outweigh the convenience of using social media to evaluate job applicants.

SEC Charges Ex-Compliance Officer with Altering Documents

Government regulators have been increasingly willing to hold individuals personally liable for their role in compliance failures. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently brought charges against a former bank employee for her failure to properly detect and report insider trading violations while acting as the bank's compliance officer. In fact, the SEC claims the officer not only overlooked suspicious activity, but attempted to conceal her mistake by altering a document before submitting it to the agency during an insider trading investigation.

OFCCP Looks to Eradicate Pay Discrimination with Proposed Pay Transparency Rule

On September 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in connection with the mandates set forth in Executive Order 13665 (EO 13665). If adopted, the proposed rule would prohibit a federal contractor or subcontractor from maintaining what are known as "pay secrecy" policies banning the discussion of compensation among employees.

SEC Obtains Over $4 Billion for Securities Violations in 2014

Following the end of its fiscal year on September 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported that FY 2014 was notable not only for the record number of enforcement actions filed, but for the wide range of matters covered, many of which were addressed for the first time ever.

Controversial Head Scarf Issue Heads to the Supreme Court

Image often plays a significant role in a company’s ability to market its products or services. But does maintaining that image justify violating a person’s civil rights? That's the question the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take on in a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against a large national retailer who felt that a job applicant's religious head scarf would damage its reputation.

Bank to Make $850,000 Payout for 2012 Data Breach

A major national bank will pay $850,000 for allowing a data breach to compromise the personal information of 260,000 of its customers. Nine states — Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont — will share in the payout following a collaborative investigative effort into the bank's loss of unencrypted back-up tapes in Massachusetts.

Being Rude is Not an ADA Disability, Ninth Circuit Says

In a recent case, a police officer sued his employer, claiming that his inability to get along with co-workers was actually a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The officer, who was fired for intimidating and demeaning behavior, claimed that his interpersonal problems were caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Therefore, he alleged, he was fired for his disability, which is illegal under the ADA.

Top 4 Benefits of Self-Reporting FCPA Violations

Violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) can lead to significant fines and serious consequences, leaving many to wonder why an organization would opt to voluntarily disclose violations. This is exactly what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) encourage, however, claiming that such disclosures play a significant role in their enforcement decisions, a point repeatedly emphasized in their joint FCPA Guidance issued in 2012. Despite these assurances, the obvious risks require that organizations carefully evaluate the pros and cons of voluntary disclosure when FCPA violations are discovered.

ACC Alliance Partner
Thomson Reuters