North America

DOL Releases New Poster and Employer’s Guide to FMLA

Retailers should note that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) has just released a new Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) poster and The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act (“Guide”).

New FMLA Poster

The FMLA requires covered employers to display a copy of the General FMLA Notice prominently in a conspicuous place. The new poster is more reader-friendly and better organized than the previous one. The font is larger and the poster contains a QR code that will connect the reader directly to the DOL homepage. According to the DOL, however, the February 2013 version of the FMLA poster can continue to be used to fulfill the FMLA’s posting requirement.

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Former Workers Violated Ex-Employer’s Trade Secret Rights – Employment Law This Week

Peter Steinmeyer, co-editor of this blog, is featured in the top story on Employment Law This Week.

As the story explains, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld a ruling that a group of workers at a fastener company used confidential drawings from the company to design, manufacture, and sell competing parts for their new business venture. On appeal, the former workers argued that they were “filling a gap” for customers, not competing with the original company. But the Sixth Circuit found that this argument ignored undisputed evidence in the case.

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Should You Be Wary of the Overzealous Use of Trade Secret Claims?

High-stakes trade secret cases are typically aggressively prosecuted. But plaintiffs (and their attorneys) who prosecute these claims face substantial risks if the evidence does not support the contention that a trade secret has been misappropriated. Even a plaintiff who may have initiated a misappropriation action in good faith risks attorneys’ fees and malicious prosecution liability by continuing to prosecute the matter after it learns that the case is not substantiated.

Section 4 of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act authorizes a court to award costs and attorneys’ fees if the court determines that a claim for misappropriation is made in bad faith, and most jurisdictions include this provision. For example, California Civil Code § 3426.4 provides that “[i]f a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith, a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith, or willful and malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.”

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Prince – Dying Without A Will?

The recent passing of music legend Prince serves as yet another reminder to get your estate plan in place.  As reported in the press, Prince’s sister has filed papers with the Court alleging that her brother died without a will.  Dying without a will in place is called “intestate.”  You can find my summary of Indiana’s intestate laws, here and here.  The intestate laws act as a default estate plan, and very likely may not include all of your intentions.

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Law360 names attorneys who moved up firm ranks in Q1

Law360 listed attorneys by firm who have been promoted during the first quarter of 2016. Included in the list for Beirne, Maynard & Parsons are Scott R. Davis in the Houston office, Robert M. Rosen in the Dallas office and Thomas Louis Colletta, Jr.  in the New Orleans office, who were all promoted to partner earlier this year.

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Sixth Circuit Affirms $3.7 Million Award And Permanent Injunction In Trade Secret/Breach Of Duty Of Loyalty Case

In Nedschroef Detroit Corp. et al. v. Bemas Enterprises et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed an award of nearly $3.7  million in damages against two individuals found to have engaged in misconduct related to the operation of a business which competed with their employer.

Nedschroef Detroit Corporation (“Nedschroef”) services and provides replacement parts for fastener machines made by an affiliate in Europe.  Without Nedschroef’s knowledge, two of its employees formed a business – under their wives’ names – to do exactly what Nedschroef did.

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A Question of Privilege: Protecting Data in a Clinically Integrated Network

In this emerging era of healthcare reimbursement based on value, many providers are considering different ways to provide services to patients.  The old fee-for-service model, which often awarded providers based on volume, is being replaced with a model that incentivizes providers to provide quality care at reduced costs.

In order to position themselves for value-based reimbursement, many providers have banded together to form clinically integrated networks (CINs) to coordinate and standardize patient care across various service lines.

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Spotlight on Big Data and Connected Devices

As the number of connected devices grew (the so-called “Internet of Things”), so, too, did the risk of data hacking and unauthorized access to sensitive personal information. After the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action against, and its settlement with, in-store beacon tracking company Nomi Technologies, other companies — especially the makers of data-connected devices and apps — spent time and money on ensuring that they provided consumers with transparency and choice with respect to how and when their data was collected.

The continued collection, sale, and use of vast amounts of consumer data in the Big Data industry regularly was raised as a primary concern of the FTC due to the perceived lack of transparency and consumer control.

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The Rise of Ad Blocking

2015 saw the continued rise of programmatic buying and cross-device tracking, as well as the continued focus on related concerns such as ad fraud and privacy compliance. These trends will remain pertinent in the coming year, and marketers and their agencies should continue to be mindful of transparency and privacy issues when conducting media buys.

The big issue to grab the spotlight in 2015 was ad blocking. Ad blocking is not a new phenomenon; it has long been a concern of agencies, marketers, and publishers. Recent developments, however, significantly broadened the potential for the use of ad blocking technology.

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Political Advertisers Campaign to Avoid Transparency and Disclosures

Political candidates and their supporters have been projected to spend a record $11.4 billion on advertising during the election cycle ending on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. As a result of legal and media developments that occurred in 2015, much of this advertising will withhold from voters the identity of the people paying for it. 2015 should be remembered as the year that political advertisers rejected transparency and disclosure in their campaign communications, and received support in that effort from the government and the press.

Reformist politicians and public interest groups pushed the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to require advertisements placed by political action committees (PACs) to more clearly identify the individuals paying the bills, but the FEC did not act. As a result, ads nominally sponsored by PACs with indistinguishable patriotic names continue to proliferate, and voters continue to have little knowledge of who actually is funding those ads.

 

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