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Sharing of Passwords Under Certain Circumstances Unlawful

Many companies have experienced the departure of an employee and the elimination of that former employees access to the company’s computers and networks. In the recent case of USA v. Nosal, D.C. No. 3:08-cr-00237-EMC-1 (July 5, 2016), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with the following facts: Nosal, a former employee of Korn/Ferry departed and launched a competitive entity.

Back to School Special: School-Related Leave Issues [requirements by State]

It is that time of year. School buses are gleaming, pencils are sharpened and children everywhere are eager to charge back through the schoolhouse doors.

Telecommuting, Flexible Schedules More Important Than Salary for Many Parents, Survey Finds

More than eight out of 10 parents of school-age kids said the opportunity to telecommute or work according to a flexible schedule was among the most important factors they look at when considering a potential job.

Consistent Enforcement of Drug Policies Key to Avoiding Disparate Treatment Claims

Following termination stemming from a positive drug test for marijuana, a Native American female, appearing pro se, filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, Mohave County’s Public Works Department. She alleged discrimination based on race and/or ancestry, a violation of her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and a violation of due process rights. On July 19, 2016, Senior U.S. District Judge for the District of Arizona, James A. Teilborg, issued an order granting summary judgment for the defendant Mohave County on all claims. Yazzie v. County of Mohave, No. CV-14-08153 (July 19, 2016).

BUG OFF! Six tips for dealing with Zika questions and concerns.

As of August 17, 2016, and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are 2260 cases of Zika virus in the United States, 14 of which were “locally acquired mosquito-borne cases” (all 14 of those are in Florida), and the remainder of which are “travel associated.” The CDC also reports 8035 cases of the virus in U.S. Territories; of those, 8000 are locally acquired, with the remaining 35 labeled as travel associated.

2016 U.S. SUPREME COURT ROUNDUP-Part 2

We continue below with brief summaries of the U.S. Supreme Court’s key employment law opinions. We also preview the cases that Court has accepted for review for the upcoming Term.

Sometimes a Complaint is Just a Complaint: Eighth Circuit Applies Reasonableness Standard to Reject Employee’s SOX Retaliation Claim

Earlier this summer, in Beacom v. Oracle, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment dismissing the SOX and Dodd Frank Act claims of an employee who was fired from his Vice President position after he says that he complained about changes in his employer’s financial forecasting. The Court upheld dismissal of that claim based on the standard that a SOX plaintiff must prove that he “subjectively believe[d] the employer’s conduct violated a law relating to fraud against shareholders, and the employee’s belief must be objectively reasonable” (Emphasis added.) According to the Minnesota District Court that initially heard and dismissed Beacom’s claim and the Court of Appeals that affirmed, the plaintiff in this case could do neither.

Severance, Confidentiality Agreements Must Not Limit Whistleblower Awards, SEC Orders

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease and desist order targeting provisions in severance agreements that limit an employee's ability to cash in on a whistleblower award.

SEC Fines Company $265,000 for Severance Agreements that Potentially Chilled Whistleblowers

Company agreements with employees continue to be under fire. In the latest example, the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a cease-and-desist order against BlueLinx Holdings Inc. over the use of severance agreements the agency found improperly interfered with the rights of potential whistleblowers to obtain monetary rewards for reporting suspected illegal activity. The August 10, 2016, Order included a $265,000 fine and other specific non-monetary remedies against the company.

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Q&A

Last month, the European Union and U.S. officials announced final approval of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Privacy Shield), replacing the Safe Harbor which was invalidated by the Court of Justice of the European Union in October 2015. Like it predecessor, the Privacy Shield will allow organizations based in the United States to self-certify compliance with the Privacy Shield’s requirements permitting personal data of EU subjects to be transferred to the U.S., but with an enhanced enforcement regime, among other things.
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