In Palmieri v. United States, — F.Supp.3d –, No. CV 12-1403 (JDB) (D.D.C. Nov. 3, 2014), U.S. District Judge John D. Bates held that the plaintiff had no constitutional expectation of privacy with respect to social-media content that he had shared with on-line ‘friends.’ Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim that his Fourth-Amendment rights had been violated when a ‘friend’ (who was also an individually named defendant) shared the plaintiff’s on-line postings and related content with his government-agency employer.
Articles Discussing Human Resources And Other Workplace Topics.
In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes. The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:
Just eight months ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposal to raise the ceiling for whistleblower payouts to nearly $10 million from the current cap of $1,000. This increased monetary incentive was just one of many provisions designed to decrease Medicare fraud. While the intention of the proposed rule was to intensify the fight to prevent Medicare fraud and abuse, many critics believed that it would open the floodgates to unsubstantiated fraud claims.
As we enter the New Year, Littler’s international practice has identified a number of key employment and labor law issues for multinational companies (MNCs). The past year has brought to the fore some challenging issues likely to grow in importance in 2015, among them the increasing strength of global unions as well as the ever-growing importance of corporate compliance. While some of these topics are certainly familiar—data privacy and whistleblower protection, for example—the continuing importance and expansion of these issues highlight their increased complexity and correspondingly increased challenges.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Employment and Labor Law Final Exam. We hope the exam was challenging and informative. Congratulations to Margi Fleming and Danisha Sheppard. Both Margi and Danisha will receive an awesome prize for their perfect scores.
In Painter v. Atwood, No. 2:12–CV–1215 JCM (NJK), 2014 WL 3611636 (D. Nev. July 21, 2014), U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan affirmed Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe’s order granting spoliation sanctions following the plaintiff’s destruction of social media evidence. Because the plaintiff did not dispute a defense witness’s declaration that the plaintiff had failed to produce favorable Facebook posts, the magistrate issued an adverse inference instruction that the “destroyed evidence” was “detrimental to Plaintiff’s claims.” The District Court found no error in this sanction.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, enacted on July 21, 2010, provides broad whistleblower protections to individuals who report certain possible violations of federal securities laws. Mindful that such protections can be provided in more than one forum and by different statutes, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 6871393 (3d. Cir. Dec. 8, 2014), that certain claims under Dodd-Frank are arbitrable.
In United States, et al., ex rel. Grenadyor v. Ukranian Village Pharmacy, the Seventh Circuit recently confirmed the dismissal with prejudice of a False Claims Act (FCA) action based on the relator’s failure to plead with particularity the circumstances constituting three alleged types of fraud, as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.1 However, the court remanded the case to the district court to proceed on the relator’s retaliation claim that did not require the same level of detail.
In an eleventh-hour attempt to avoid a government shutdown, the House of Representatives narrowly approved in a 219-206 vote a measure that would fund the federal government through September 20, 2015, with the exception of funding for immigration enforcement, which receives shorter-term “continuing resolution” funding. The Senate is expected to do the same. Part continuing resolution and part omnibus appropriations bill, the final “cromnibus” legislation includes a number of provisions affecting the workplace.
Although this year’s labor- and employment-related legislative activity was down slightly from that of 2013 – in part due to congressional gridlock – by no means was 2014 insignificant. Throughout the year, an influx of new and amended laws requires employers to establish, revisit, or revise policies and practices. Although the November elections changed the political landscape in Washington as well as in a number of states, the contests were not solely between candidates for office. Voters also went to the polls to voice their position on ballot initiatives benefitting employees. On these issues, voters resoundingly approved pro-employee measures. Approval of these ballot measures suggests that employers could face even more new state and local mandates in the years ahead.
With an increasingly global marketplace, companies are turning to international secondments and postings to place talent around the world. Planning an international secondment or placement is a complex undertaking, and a host of issues must be considered, from immigration to compensation and tax planning. Often overlooked in the planning process is the home and host country’s treatment of same-sex marriage and protections based on sexual orientation and gender identification, and how such laws will affect an employee’s placement. Tiffany Downs and Scott Wagner, attorneys in FordHarrison’s Employee Benefits practice group, address these issues and suggest some best practices to help ensure successful placements in HR Strategies for Same-Sex Secondments Internationally, a two-part article published by InsideCounsel magazine and available on FordHarrison’s Knowledge Base here (part 1) and here (part 2).
It’s time once again to test your employment and labor law knowledge with Nexsen Pruet’s fourth annual final exam. From new legal decisions to black letter statutory law, it’s your chance to show off your legal prowess.
At one time or another, many companies with international operations may look to transfer employees between the company’s offices. There are many reasons why companies do so.
In its Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, the Securities and Exchange Commission reports that both the number of whistleblower claims and the magnitude of the financial awards stemming from those claims “were record-breaking” in FY 2014. Under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower incentive program, individuals who report original information that leads the SEC to recover monetary sanctions of $1 million or more are eligible to receive awards of 10 to 30% of that financial recovery. Notable findings of the report include:
Executive Summary: There has been a recent uptick in class action litigation for technical violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act when employers seek approval from applicants to obtain background checks from consumer reporting agencies. Employers who obtain consumer reports from such agencies must ensure their authorization and disclosure forms, even those provided by third-party vendors, are compliant with the Act.