June 21, 2011
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held an open meeting on June 8, 2011 on the appropriate use of disability leave as a reasonable accommodation at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The open meeting is just the latest step in the EEOC’s on-going effort to move the marketplace towards its enforcement position that employers may not implement one-size-fits-all leave periods for disabled employees (i.e., disabled employees have x number of days to return to work or face termination) – a lesson that Sears Roebuck learned in 2009 at the decidedly burdensome price of $6.2 Million.
June 21, 2011
We kicked off the Saturday morning session with a presentation from Mr. Norman Zivin of one of the ILN’s member firms in New York, Cooper & Dunham, who reported on their recent involvement in a Supreme Court case and the implications for ILN member firms, both in the US and abroad.
Norman said that the case involved a deep fryer, a product made by their client, SEB, a French company in Lyon. A number of years ago, they brought a lawsuit against a company in Hong Kong for infringement of the patent. The opposing side defended on the grounds that they couldn’t have infringed the patent because the products were made and sold in China. They said that therefore, they don’t do any business in the United States and couldn’t have induced anyone to infringe, because they didn’t even know that SEB had a patent.
June 21, 2011
PROPOSED VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES ON FOOD MARKETING TO CHILDREN
In an effort to combat childhood obesity, former Senator Sam Brownback and Senator Tom Harkin directed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), to establish an Interagency Working Group (IWG) consisting of nutrition, health and marketing experts to develop recommendations for the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children, ages 2-17.
In response to that directive, the IWG developed the following nutrition principles and marketing criteria for implementation by the year 2016.
Click here to read the full alert >>
June 20, 2011
In an eagerly anticipated opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes today. The Court held that insufficient proof existed to allow certification of a class of more than one million women in a sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart. The Court ruled only on the procedural issue of whether a class should be certified and not on the merits of the plaintiffs’ discrimination claims.
In Wal-Mart, the plaintiffs sought certification of a class of over one million women claiming that Wal-Mart had a companywide policy of discriminating against women in pay and promotion. The plaintiffs initially sought to include women who were not even employed by Wal-Mart when the lawsuit was filed in 2001. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed certification of a narrowed class of women who worked at the company at the time of the 2001 suit. Wal-Mart appealed that decision arguing that the plaintiffs could not show that the claims of the over one million women were sufficiently similar to support certification as a class.
June 19, 2011
The Czech government is urgently trying to repatriate its art lent to overseas institutions, to avoid it being seized to enforce a $500m Czech judgment, obtained against the Czech state by a commercial organisation. See Artinfo: http://bit.ly/jQskNk
Art has already been seized from a gallery in Vienna, and Paris seems likely to follow. Could it happen in London?
Within the EU, it is relatively easy to get a court of one member state to recognise and enforce a judgment of another member state. As the Czech Republic is in the EU, it is not surprising that the defendant is concentrating on Czech assets in other EU states. The Czech government is arguing that the judgment is not yet “final” and, if that is right, it should not be enforceable at all, but some member states are more willing than others to allow “protective measures”, that is the freezing or restraining of assets pending the outcome of proceedings. That is what has happened in Austria, but the English court would be far less willing to do that.
June 17, 2011
On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security launched a wide-scale audit of employers’ hiring records to assess compliance with employment eligibility verification laws. For the second time this year, Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Office delivered Notices of Inspection to 1,000 employers advising that ICE will audit those employers’ I-9 Forms. In addition, as part of the audits, ICE will also review employers’ payroll records, lists of employees and former employees, articles of incorporation, and other employment-related documents.
In announcing this latest round of audits, ICE indicated that it is “targeting” certain industries that have a role in the nation’s “critical infrastructure and key resources.” These industries include food production, information technology, health care, transportation, financial services and construction. The inspections are not limited to large employer, but according to ICE will target “employers of all sizes and in every state in the nation.”
June 17, 2011
In previous articles and postings, we have cautioned that legislative policy of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act threatens to circumvent corporate compliance programs and drive whistleblowers having vital information outside the organization in the hope of receiving rich bounty awards. In a recent article published by Bloomberg Law Reports®, Allen Roberts discusses some of the challenges businesses subject to SEC jurisdiction need to address in the face of the SEC’s Final Rule – mindful that the plaintiffs’ bar has geared up to capitalize on new opportunities.
For more information, see Allen B. Roberts, Dodd-Frank Bounty Awards and Protections Change Whistleblower Stakes — Will Opporunity for Personal Gain Frustrate Corporate Compliance?, Bloomberg Law Reports – Securities Law (2011) (pdf)
June 16, 2011
Administrative agencies, the EEOC and NLRB included, often view their subpoena powers broadly – sometimes in the estimation of employers and their counsel, too broadly. A recent Pennsylvania federal court case took a narrower view.
In EEOC v University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).pdf, the district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that an administrative subpoena the EEOC issued the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was a “fishing expedition” and denied the application for enforcement of the subpoena.
June 16, 2011
Peter Steinmeyer and I are pleased to announce that our guide, “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” written with Christie Tate, is now available in PDF format. See below for more information about this series of guides written and published by our firm, EpsteinBeckerGreen, and the Practical Law Company:
EpsteinBeckerGreen, in Conjunction with Practical Law Company, Wrote and Published Statewide Guides on Non-Compete and Trade Secret Laws
The national law firm of EpsteinBeckerGreen, in conjunction with the Practical Law Company, recently wrote and published statewide guides on the non-compete laws of Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey and on the trade secret laws of the District of Columbia.