Legal Report Resources April 2016
Recording. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that it is unlawful for an employer to implement a work rule that prohibits employees from recording company meetings or conversations with coworkers without a legal or business justification. The decision was in response to a challenge of two Whole Foods Market General Information Guide rules that prohibited recording in the workplace.
Liability. The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) can punish compliance officers and other individuals for their company's anti-money laundering control failures, a federal district judge ruled. The decision stems from a civil penalty issued by FinCEN against Thomas Haider, former chief compliance officer for MoneyGram International Inc.
Clearances. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that reforms how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security manages its security clearance process. The bill (H.R. 3505) requires the designation of the sensitivity level of national security positions be conducted in a consistent manner in all DHS components and offices, compliant with federal guidelines.
Screening. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that requires the FBI to ensure that select individuals applying for U.S. refugee admission receive full background investigations before being admitted to the country. H.R. 4038 calls for the FBI to perform investigations on nationals or residents from Iraq or Syria, individuals who no nationality whose last residence was in Iraq or Syria, and on individuals present in Iraq and Syria at any time on or after March 1, 2011.
Encryption. A New York assemblyman reintroduced a bill that would require smartphone manufacturers to be able to decrypt their products. Under the bill (A.B. 8093), "any smartphone that is manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, and sold or leased in New York, shall be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider."
Discrimination. A Roman Catholic girls' high school violated a man's rights when it revoked an employment offer after he revealed he was married to another man. Matthew Barret was offered a position at Fontbonne Academy as a director of food services, but when he filled out new hire paperwork listing his husband as his emergency contact, the academy rescinded the job offer.
Marijuana. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree fully legalizing medical marijuana in the country, clarifying a previously grey area. The decree allows individuals who wish to grow marijuana to apply to the National Narcotics Council for a license. It can then be sold for medical and scientific use.
Data Breaches. Casino operator Affinity Gaming filed suit against cybersecurity firm Trustwave for failing to contain a data breach it was hired to shut down. Affinity, which operates 11 casinos in four U.S. states, hired Trustwave to investigate a breach that exposed up to 300,000 customers' credit card details. While Trustwave was investigating, Affinity claimed it was hacked again without Trustwave's knowledge.
Discrimination. Hillshire Brands Company (formerly Sara Lee Corporation) will pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that 74 African-American former employees were subjected to a hostile work environment at a former Sara Lee facility in Paris, Texas. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claimed that the employees were subjected to racist graffiti on the walls of bathrooms and a locker room, among other complaints.
Bathrooms. South Dakota's State Senate passed legislation that prohibits students at public elementary and secondary schools from using bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms that do not match their biological sex. If enacted, South Dakota would become the first state in the United States to have such restrictions.
Bribery. Two subsidiaries of a Massachusetts software company will pay $14.5 million to resolve a government investigation into whether it funded Chinese government officials' travel in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Sexual harassment. Mint Julep Restaurant Operations, LLC, will pay $450,000 and other relief to 15 individuals to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit stemming from allegations that it permitted a hostile work environment where sexual conversations and jokes were permitted.
Transportation. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would create private sector application capabilities to expand the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program to increase public enrollment access.