North America

OFAC Sends Clear Message to Parties Conducting Business with Entities on OFAC’s Sectoral Sanctions Identification List

As the U.S. and the European Union continue to impose new sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, regulatory authorities continue their pursuit of companies and individuals who violate those sanctions. The most recent example is a settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and S&P Global, Inc. (“S&P”).

On April 1, 2022, S&P agreed to pay OFAC $78,750 to settle its potential civil liability for alleged violations of the 2014 Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 589, specifically Directive 2 issued pursuant to Executive Order 13662 of March 24, 2014, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” (“E.O. 13662”). Read more…

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Application of Res Judicata to a Second Lawsuit for Abuse of Proceedings

On April 13, 2022, in Globe technologie inc. c. Rochette, 2022 QCCA 524, the Court of Appeal confirmed a judgment obtained by RSS before the Court of Quebec dismissing an action at the preliminary stage based on the notion of res judicata. The Court of Appeal maintained the position defended by RSS and concluded that when the tribunal has already sanctioned an abuse of proceedings within the action in which it occurred, this abuse cannot not be the subject of a second action for extra-contractual civil liability.

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Board Diversification by Legislative Mandate? One California Court Says No.

A California Superior Court judge has invalidated state legislation that required boards of publicly held corporations headquartered in California to include a minimum number of directors from underrepresented communities.  The court’s decision effectively strikes down Assembly Bill No. 979 (“AB 979”), a law enacted with the goal of increasing diversity on boards of directors, paving the way for a parallel outcome to a similar challenge of a statutory mandate for increased gender diversity on boards of directors.

Promotion of “Underrepresented Communities” Struck Down

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FTC considers new rule to address deceptive or unfair marketing using earnings claims

The Federal Trade Commission published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on March 11, 2022 that it is considering a rule to address deceptive or unfair marketing using earnings claims. The commission is soliciting written comment, data, and arguments concerning the need for such a rulemaking. Comments must be received on or before May 10, 2022.

The commission is examining and exploring: Read more…

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Lynne Kassie to Receive the Mérite Christine-Tourigny

The Mérite Christine-Tourigny is one of the Bar of Quebec’s most distinctive tributes. It is awarded each year to mark a member’s social commitment and special contribution to the progress of women in the legal profession.

This year, the distinction is awarded to Lynne Kassie, Ad. E., head of our firm’s Family Law Group. Ever since her beginnings, Ms. Kassie has acted as a mentor to many women lawyers and continues to shine with her sound advice, her energy and her passion for the profession. The Mérite will be officially awarded at the Journée du Barreau, on June 17.

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The Tip of the Spear Piercing the Regulated Cannabis Industry: How Intoxicating Hemp Cannabinoids and the Illicit Market Pose Significant Challenges to the Emerging Industry

Cannabis Business Executive (CBE), April 18, 2022

Consumer demand and public support for cannabis legalization has led to sweeping reform across the Country. Unfortunately, this appetite combined with a lack of access to regulated marijuana has perpetuated both a robust and unregulated illicit marijuana market, and an unregulated hemp industry where intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, THC-O and HHC are freely sold directly to consumers. In states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that are on the cusp of opening their doors to adult-use programs, and in California, the first state to enact cannabis laws, these unregulated marketplaces thrive, accounting for a large majority of cannabis sales. Such unchecked illicit activity, if permitted to continue, will be the tip of the spear piercing and undermining the regulated cannabis industry.

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Video: NLRB Updates, Quick EEO-1 Deadline – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we update you on two major developments from the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) and this year’s abridged timeline to submit EEO-1 data.

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NLRB General Counsel Urges Labor Board to Expand Prohibition on “Captive Audience” Meetings and Employers’ Right to Present Their Views on Unionization

On April 7, 2022, Jennifer Abruzzo, General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), issued Memorandum GC 22-04, titled “The Right to Refrain from Captive Audience and other Mandatory Meetings” (“GC Memo”). It is no secret that the General Counsel has been an advocate for policies and practices that would increase union representation and make it easier for unions to gain recognition and win votes on representation. This includes restricting steps employers can take to share their views with employees. Such a step that the GC Memo calls for is a series of restrictions on what have been called “captive audience speeches,” that is, meetings on company time where employers present their views.

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NLRB General Counsel Pushes to Skip Union Elections by Reinstating Joy Silk Doctrine

Employees’ free choice and their right to a secret-ballot election on union membership are potentially at risk, given the latest development from the Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). On April 11, 2022, the NLRB’s General Counsel filed a brief urging a change in long-standing precedent, demanding that the Board force employers to recognize unions as the representative of their employees without first allowing employees the opportunity to cast their votes on union membership in a secret-ballot election held by the Board. The only real requirement for this dramatic result is that the union present signed authorization cards from a majority of the employees that ostensibly confirm the employees’ desire to be represented by the union and that the employer decline recognition of the union without a good faith doubt as to the union’s majority. This brief is General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s first major move to follow through on her previously stated goal of restoring this standard—known as the Joy Silk doctrine—which was abandoned more than 50 years ago.

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Ohio Enacts Changes to Overtime Exemption Laws and Class/Collective Action Procedures

Earlier this month, Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill (SB) 47, which formally adopted sections of the Portal-to-Portal Act (Portal Act) amendments to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempting employers from paying overtime under certain circumstances. SB 47 also eliminates so-called “hybrid” collective/class actions for Ohio plaintiffs by adopting the FLSA’s “opt-in” requirement for individuals seeking to join a wage and hour lawsuit on Ohio state law claims for failure to pay overtime. The law takes effect on July 6, 2022.

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