Legal Updates

A must-have checklist for content creators

Most PR firms are expanding their content creation services at an unprecedented rate. They are increasingly focused on creative brand storytelling across numerous paid, earned, and owned media platforms. These transformations are occurring so quickly that many agencies have not fully trained their account teams about the legal issues that arise in providing creative services and, specifically, in content creation. With this in mind, allow me to present the following marketing law checklist. It has been crafted to serve as an ongoing training tool and resource for PR professionals. More…

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Extending unfair contract term protections to small business

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act) and theCompetition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CC Act) each contain provisions protecting consumers from unfair terms, by providing that unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts are void.

Extending unfair contract term protections to small business contracts

On 24 June 2015, a Bill was introduced into Federal Parliament to amend both the ASIC Act and the CC Act to extend these provisions to small business, by providing that unfair terms in standard form small business contracts are also void.  More…

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As Promised, OSHA Targets Health Care and Nursing Homes for Enforcement Actions

As previously discussed, OSHA has been carefully scrutinizing the health care industry lately.  And on June 25, 2015, OSHA officially introduced a new compliance nightmare for the inpatient health care and nursing home industries by announcing the details of the agency’s new health care enforcement initiative in a memorandum from Dorothy Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to OSHA Regional Administrators and State Plans. The memorandum is entitled “Inspection Guidance for Inpatient Healthcare Settings” (“guidance memo”).

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Playing Nice: CIPO to accept applications with Nice Classifications this fall

In a milestone step towards harmonization of Canada’s trade-mark regime with most other developed countries, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) announced yesterday that starting this fall, it will accept trade-mark applications filed with goods and services classified using the Nice Classification system.

According to CIPO’s announcement, there will be changes to its website to take advantage of the use of Nice Classification.  In particular, the Goods and Services Manual will be redesigned to facilitate classification of goods and services, and the search capability of the CIPO online database will be updated to allow for searching within specific classes.

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Recovery of Documents Prior to Substantive Court Action

A court case will invariably come down to a question of fact, or a question of law – or, if you are particularly unlucky, a mixture of both.  Questions of law can be decided by way of legal debates, with solicitors or advocates arguing over the particular word choice of a judge who has long since passed away.

Questions of fact, whilst less glamorous, can be equally important.  For instance, imagine that you have hit a pothole in the road, which has badly damaged your car.  You hear from a friend at the local council that the council was well aware of the severity and location of the pothole, and had records of other drivers hitting the same pothole some months ago.  Your friend says that the council simply forgot to fix it.

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Healthcare Alert: OIG to physicians: Review your financial agreements

Earlier this month, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) issued a fraud alert warning physicians of their duty to ensure that their financial arrangements with healthcare companies involve bona fide services and are in line with fair market value.

The OIG also announced it had reached settlements with 12 individual physicians who had entered into questionable medical directorship agreements and office staff arrangements under which an affiliated healthcare entity had paid the salaries of the physicians’ staff. The OIG had alleged that under the circumstances the compensation for the medical directorship and the office staff arrangements constituted improper remuneration under the federal anti-kickback statute for the following reasons:

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“We Can’t Ignore the World,” Steve LaTourette for U.S. News & World Report

July 4 traditionally has been a day when Americans reflect on our nation’s many blessings. We have one of the world’s largest and most productive economies, as well as unparalleled natural resources. We enjoy global leadership in technology and higher education, and the dollar remains the world’s reserve currency. Our ever-evolving democracy, with its promise of freedom and opportunity for all citizens, has been a beacon to other nations.

Despite our global standing, many Americans don’t often care to know much about what lies beyond our borders. When citizens of different countries take surveys asking questions about international affairs, we invariably end up at the bottom of the class. Safe behind the protection of two oceans, and secure in our status as the sole global superpower, some in our country only think about the rest of the world only when they have to.

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NLRB Reverses Longstanding Rule: Employers Now Required to Disclose Confidential Witness Statements in Investigations – a Major Change for Labor Arbitration?

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), in its June 26, 2015, Decision and Order in American Baptist Homes of the West d/b/a Piedmont Gardens (PDF) has overruled what it described as a longstanding “blanket exemption” allowing employers to protect the confidentiality of witness statements taken during investigations and not provide them to a union in response to an information request. In place of the long standing body of law protecting the confidentiality of witness statements, which was established in recognition of the needs for confidentiality in investigations, the Board has now replaced the rule with a balancing test that weighs the employer’s need to protect confidential information with the union’s stated need for the statements to process a grievance or carry out its other responsibilities.

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Mayor Signs NYC Ban-the-Box Law

On Monday, June 29, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the bill passed by the New York City Council “banning-the-box.” The law goes into effect on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. As discussed in our earlier advisory, the ban-the-box movement removes from an employment application the “box” that requests criminal conviction history. New York City’s law also imposes additional requirements upon the employer when making an adverse employment decision on the basis of criminal conviction history.

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Data Privacy: “Somewhat Prepared” is NOT Prepared!

Our 2015 Business Outlook Survey revealed that 70% of organizations believe they are only “somewhat prepared” for data privacy and cybersecurity hazards. “Somewhat prepared” is not enough to combat the privacy threats and expectations of regulators. We will explore the
proactive measures your company should implement to minimize the risk of a data breach.

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