Regions

Igniting a Firestorm at Tinder with Flammable Allegations

By: Christopher M. Farella, Jennifer L. Nutter, and Margaret C. Thering

Whitney Wolfe, former marketing vice president and co-founder of the company responsible for the popular mobile dating app, Tinder®, recently filed suit in California state court alleging sexual harassment and discrimination surrounding her experience and eventual departure from the company.  Tinder Inc.’s parent companies, IAC and Match.com, are also named as defendants.  While the complaint is only one side of the story, the exhibits attached to the complaint, which contain text messages between Wolfe, Chief Marketing Officer Justin Mateen (Wolfe’s supervisor and alleged harasser), and Chief Executive Officer Sean Rad suggest where there is smoke, there may actually be fire.  While Tinder Inc. is not the first burgeoning tech company to be involved in a salacious lawsuit, it does provide a cautionary tale on important legal issues for start-ups.

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DC Circuit Strongly Reaffirms the Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Compliance Investigations

Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green released a client alert: “DC Circuit Strongly Reaffirms the Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Compliance Investigations,” by George B. Breen, Jonah D. Retzinger, Marshall E. Jackson Jr., and Stuart M. Gerson.

Following is an excerpt:

Especially in the District of Columbia Circuit, the home base for many fraud cases in which the government is opposed to health care providers and defense contractors, there had been considerable doubt that the attorney-client privilege attached to internal compliance investigations, particularly those investigations conducted on governmental mandate by company internal counsel. In a recent victory for companies and effective compliance, the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit squarely removed that doubt in support of the application of privilege.

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Customer Lists And Pricing Information Not Trade Secrets Under Missouri Law

Judge Ross of the United States District for the Eastern District of Missouri recently declined to issue a preliminary injunction in a trade secret misappropriation case, holding that a transportation company did not offer sufficient evidence to show that its customer lists and pricing information were trade secrets under Missouri law. Towne Air Freight, LLC v. Double M. Carriers, Inc., Case no. 4:14-CV-750-JAR (E.D. MO June 9, 2014).

In so ruling, Judge Ross quoted from an earlier case which held that “[c]ustomer lists are protectable as trade secrets only when they represent a selective accumulation of information based on past selling experience, or when considerable time and effort have gone into compiling it.” “Information that can be compiled from other, generally available sources such as names, phone numbers and contact persons, is not protectable as trade secrets.”

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Coverall Case Pending in the First Circuit Could Have Major Impact on The Future of the Franchise Industry in Massachusetts

By:  Barry Guryan and Jeff Ruzal

In a highly publicized March 23, 2010 decision, Awuah v. Coverall N. Am., Inc., 707 F.Supp.2d 80 (D. Mass. 2010), U.S. District Judge William Young for the District of Massachusetts rocked the Massachusetts business community by ruling that a group of janitorial franchisees were improperly classified as independent contractors, and that they were instead “employees” of commercial cleaning franchisor Coverall who are entitled to statutory protection under Massachusetts’ Wage laws including, among others, minimum wage, overtime pay, meal breaks and workers’ compensation.

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Important Modifications to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) just recently announced modifications to the current Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (the “Streamlined Program”) for US taxpayers with foreign tax compliance issues, including undeclared foreign bank accounts. More…

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OSHA and NLRB Agreement Opens New Door To Whistleblower Claims

On Epstein Becker Green’s OSHA Law Update blog, Eric Conn reviews the agreement between the NLRB and OSHA, which allows employees to file out-of-date safety related whistleblower claims to be filed with the NLRB.

Following is an excerpt from the blog post:

On May 21, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a memorandum discussing a new agreement between NLRB and OSHA regarding a backdoor route for employees to file safety related whistleblower claims that are too stale to be filed with OSHA. The NLRB memo directs OSHA representatives to “notify all complainants who file an untimely [OSHA] whistleblower charge of their right to file a charge with the NLRB.” As a result of this agreement, employers should expect an increase in the number of unfair labor practice claims filed by employees alleging retaliation for protected safety related whistleblower activity.

To access the full blog post, please click here.

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OSHA and NLRB Create Loophole for Stale Safety Whistleblower Claims

By Eric J. Conn — Chair, EBG’s national OSHA Practice Group

On May 21, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a memorandum discussing a new agreement between NLRB and OSHA regarding a backdoor route for employees to file safety related whistleblower claims that are too stale to be filed with OSHA.  The NLRB memo directs OSHA representatives to “notify all complainants who file an untimely [OSHA] whistleblower charge of their right to file a charge with the NLRB.”  As a result of this agreement, employers should expect an increase in the number of unfair labor practice claims filed by employees alleging retaliation for protected safety related whistleblower activity.

Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Section 11(c)) requires employees to file complaints alleging retaliation for protected safety related whistleblower activities within thirty days of the triggering adverse employment action.  The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, recently testified before the Senate, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employee and Workplace Safety about OSHA’s whistleblower program.  One of the key points of his testimony was that between 300 and 600 Section 11(c) complaints per year (roughly 10%) were filed beyond the 30-day deadline.  Dr. Michaels added that at least 100 of these complaints barely missed the deadline — by less than a month.

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Dying without a will – the hard facts

‘I really must get around to writing a will!’  I have heard that refrain from several wealthy individuals recently and it’s often easy to assume that everyone who should have a will knows that and has one.  But such assumptions are dangerous.

I am constantly surprised by who doesn’t have a will.  However, the surprise works both ways because those who haven’t made a will are usually amazed to learn from me how the intestacy rules will operate on their death if they don’t make one.
Time for a quick refresher, then, on some of the more challenging aspects of the UK’s intestacy rules.  These rules can apply to English domiciled individuals in respect of all their assets or non UK domiciled individuals in respect of their UK real estate:

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Landbrugslov

I Aftale om Vækstplan for Fødevarer, som regeringen og de borgerlige partier indgik i april, blev det besluttet at lempe landbrugslovens erhvervelsesregler yderligere.

Som en direkte følge af Aftalen om Vækstplan for Fødevarer har Ministeriet for Fødevarer, Landbrug og Fiskeri den 3. juli 2014 udsendt et høringsudkast til lov om ændring af lov om landbrugsejendomme. De væsentligste lempelser, som foreslås, er:

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What employers need know about the Wal-Mart case

Last Friday’s judgment by the Supreme Court in the Wal-Mart case (United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v.Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2014 SCC 45) has triggered lots of discussion in the media that generally does not provide either an accurate or complete picture of how the decision affects employers. In this newsletter, we hope to fill that gap.

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