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The criminal complaint filed against Michael Avenatti is an interesting reminder that the line between extortion and settlement negotiations is a thin one. In a federal court complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, the government accuses Avenatti of extortion by threatening to publicly release, through a press conference and otherwise, damaging information about the misconduct of Nike employees unless Nike made multimillion dollar payments to Avenatti and a significant payment to his…
An employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay. The employee then has second thoughts, alleges she was coerced into signing the agreement, and wants to pursue her discrimination claims in court. Must the employee give back the severance before suing? On August 13, 2018, in McClellan v. Midwest Machining, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) joined the Eighth Circuit in answering: No.…
Workplace investigations have always been a key part of the human resources function and employment law compliance. However, the need for such investigations, and the consequences of conducting them poorly, have grown exponentially in the “Me Too” era. Obviously, more employees are aware of their rights and feel emboldened to exercise them. Additionally, complaints not only involve the traditional categories of discrimination and harassment, but now increasingly include harder-to-define areas such as “bullying” and “intimidation.”…
Employers face several trade-offs when considering the implementation of mandatory arbitration policies. One of the positive attributes of arbitration, from an employer’s perspective, is the avoidance of a runaway jury award.  However, a recent arbitration decision provides a reminder that arbitration does not necessarily foreclose a huge award.…
Automotive companies are keenly aware of their responsibility for knowing the safety standards applicable to their businesses. But many do not understand their rights and obligations during the inspection process. In recent years, after adding more than 100 compliance officers, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) has been increasing the number of inspections, citations, and litigation it undertakes, including in the automotive industry. The following tips should help you properly handle OSHA…
As employers, manufacturers are aware of their responsibility for knowing the safety standards applicable to their businesses. But many do not understand their rights and obligations during the inspection process. In recent years, after adding more than 100 compliance officers, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) has been increasing the number of inspections, citations, and litigation it undertakes. The following tips should help you properly handle OSHA inspections.…
Employers victimized by trade secret misappropriation appropriately express righteous outrage, both at the offending ex-employee and sometimes at the new employer. However, on another day the roles can reverse: That same employer may unwittingly — or worse, intentionally — have hired someone who has stolen trade secrets or confidential information. Failure to take appropriate precautions or implement sufficient remedial measures can expose the hiring employer to a variety of civil, and even potentially criminal, claims.…
We have suggested before that employers should view non-competition and other restrictive agreements as “live” documents, warranting regular examination to ensure they are deployed with appropriate precision and account for frequent legal developments. Four such recent developments once again suggest that a review, and most likely revision, of your confidentiality, trade secret, and non-competition agreements would be a timely and appropriate exercise to undertake.…
From fair housing laws to licensing requirements, the real estate industry is accustomed to navigating various legal constraints and requirements. However, as a result of current ambiguity in the law, class action lawsuits based upon website accessibility pose an emerging threat to real estate brokers, lenders, homebuilders, and ultimately, any company that has a web presence. Today almost all companies have a website, which is often used as the primary method to provide information and…