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Beltway Buzz, December 8, 2017

Another hectic week here in D.C. has us feeling like we’re living in a glass case of emotion. Here’s why:

Could Congress Ban Arbitration Of Sex Discrimination And Harassment Claims?

A bipartisan group of federal legislators has turned their attention to the sweeping revelations of sexual harassment in the American workplace by introducing a bill that would prevent employers from forcing claims of sex discrimination or harassment into arbitration. If passed and signed into law, this legislation could have a profound impact on employment policies and practices, not to mention litigation that results from workplace conflicts. What do employers need to know about the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act?

Senate Bill Introduced to Protect Personally Identifiable Information

Primarily motivated by the several recent massive data breaches, Senate Democrats recently introduced a bill geared toward protecting Americans’ personal information against cyber attacks and to ensure timely notification and protection when data is breached.

2017 Employment and Labor Law Final Exam

It’s time to test your employment and labor law expertise with Nexsen Pruet’s seventh annual final exam. How well do you know the FLSA, ADA, and FMLA? Find out below.

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Ninth Circuit Decision Regarding Willful Violations of FCRA’s Disclosure Provision

On November 13, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of one of 2017’s more significant Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) opinions, Syed v. M-I, LLC. (9th Cir. Jan. 20, 2017). In Syed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a background check disclosure which included a liability waiver violated the FCRA. This case was significant because the Ninth Circuit is the first federal appeals court to definitively state that the FCRA “unambiguously bars the inclusion of a liability waiver.” The court also notably held that the employer willfully violated the FCRA by including the liability waiver in the disclosure, finding that no reasonable interpretation of the statute would allow any language besides a disclosure and authorization.

AG’s Conflicting Marijuana Policy Comments Leave Some Dazed And Confused

If you have been following recent comments by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an attempt to predict marijuana policy under the Trump Administration, you might be left scratching your head. In recent comments before Congress, Sessions seemed to provide a clear indication that the federal government would not soon change course to ramp up enforcement of federal anti-marijuana law. Then, just last week, Sessions seemed to suggest that his Justice Department might soon take a tougher enforcement stance on recreational marijuana – something of particular interest to the growing list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

“Tap Here For A Doctor” – The Proliferation of Telemedicine In The Gig Economy

Several years ago, many people were leery of the thought of ordering personal drivers through a mobile app and getting into a car of a complete stranger. However, over time, the idea of ride-sharing through Uber or Lyft has become commonplace as the experience has proven to be safe and cost-effective.

November 2017: The Top 14 Labor And Employment Law Stories

It’s hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there have been an unprecedented number of changes each month in 2017. November was no different, with so many significant developments taking place during the month that we were forced to expand our monthly summary beyond the typical “Top 10” list. In order to make sure that you stay on top of the latest changes, here is a quick review of the Top 14 stories from last month that all employers need to know about:

Approved Senate Tax Bill Addresses Paid Leave, Sexual Harassment Settlement Nondisclosures

Buried in the massive Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), the tax overhaul legislation the Senate approved on December 2, 2017, is a section providing a tax credit to employers that provide their employees with paid family and medical leave, and a separate section prohibiting deductions for the cost of sexual harassment settlements subject to nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) as a business expense. While it is uncertain if these provisions will survive the conference process to reconcile the Senate bill with the House-passed version, they are worth monitoring as Congress scrambles to send a final bill to the White House.

The Highest Risk Area for GDPR Compliance: Processing HR Data

With less than six months until the May 25, 2018, effective date for the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies are assessing their GDPR readiness and concentrating their compliance efforts on the highest risk areas. What is the highest risk area for GDPR compliance? Based on (1) the difficulty in achieving full compliance, (2) the probability of data subject complaints or regulatory enforcement actions, and (3) the potential monetary exposure for noncompliance, the answer for most companies is processing human resources (HR) data.
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