News

Earlier this month, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower issued the second-largest award in the history of the program. A second award of $15 million dollars brought this month’s total awards to whistleblowers to $54 million dollars.
Innovation and growth require businesses to work together with vendors, technology developers, design firms and others. Trade secrets pass between these entities as the work progresses. While most companies attempt to protect their trade secrets with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA),  they do not ask the important questions about how the other party plans to protect those trade secrets. Unsure how your partners are handling your most sensitive data?
One day after Amy DeVoss, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines took sick leave, the airline notified her of her FMLA eligibility. The notification included a deadline for FMLA application 15 days from that date, per Southwest’s policies. DeVoss never applied. A day after the application period ended she called to invoke a commuter policy in order to alleviate penalties for being late to work. Due to the nature of her flight, Southwest’s commuter policy did not apply. DeVoss then stated she was sick.
Nine months after DBG Partners, Inc fired David Hager, their Chief Financial Officer, the company terminated its Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan. At the time of his termination, Hager chose to continue receiving health insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Recovery Act (COBRA) under DBG’s ERISA plan.  DBG claimed to have sent notice to Hager, however, they mailed the letter to a previous address, when they showed knowledge of the current address, and Hager did not receive the notice.
When a JP Morgan Chase teller’s on-the-job errors cost her a job, she filed suit claiming younger tellers committed the same errors but remained in their positions. In discrimination cases, plaintiffs must provide comparator data to prove “they were treated less favorably than other similarly situated employees not in their protected class”.
In Mississippi, material misrepresentation to an insurance company applies if “knowledge of the true facts” might have changed an insurance company’s decision to provide coverage. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges found attorney Jason Shelton and his law firm Shelton & Associates misrepresented their risk to be sued when applying for malpractice insurance in 2013.
When a company sought to prevent a former employee and her new employer from contacting its customer list, they expected to cover their basis with the general wording “any client or customer” the employee contacted over a five year period. The Dallas Court of Appeals ruled without a specific customer list the injunction is not compliant with Texas Rule of Law 683.
How does a remote employee define their worksite in relation to Family Medical Leave Act eligibility? According to FMLA, a personal residence does not qualify as a worksite. Instead, an employee’s worksite is the office to which they report or from which their assignments are made. Based on this qualification, remote workers whose reporting location claims fifty or more employees are eligible for FMLA.
AT&T customer Michael Terpin alleges in his suit against the telecom giant that a company employee aided a hacker in stealing nearly $24 million in cryptocurrency. He claims his phone number was transferred to a SIM card operated by a hacker who used the information to log into Terpin’s personal accounts.
Sketchers created two shoes, Onix and Cross Court, that adidas claims mimics their popular Stan Smith and uses the adidas Three-Stripe trademark. The Ninth Circuit Court found consumers would likely confuse Onix for Stan Smith thus causing irreparable harm to adidas. They overturned a district court’s ruling on Cross Court due to the absence of irreparable harm.
Alcorn State University hired Ernest Jones as head football coach in December 2007. The university hired Darren Hamilton as Athletic Director in April 2008. By all accounts, the men clashed early in their tenure. By December 2008, Jones sued the university for breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Vincent Castigliola and David Kiyhet, attorneys for the estate of Dane Eubanks, negotiated a settlement for all heirs of Dane Eubanks following his death. Those heirs included his siblings and half-siblings. The Chancery Court determined to divide the settlement equally among the heirs and awarded attorney’s fees to Castigliola and Kiyhet. Attorney’s fees from two heirs not represented directly by Castigliola and Kiyhet came into question.
A teacher who is a single leg amputee requested a teacher’s aide and a classroom on a lower floor as a disability accommodation. His employer, Associates for Renewal in Education (ARE), refused his request because he was able to complete his work without the accommodation although it caused him great pain. Find out why the D.C. Circuit Court denied part of a lower court’s ruling and what implications it could have on your ADA accommodation requests.
Does your company allow service or emotional support animals for employees? As of now, Title I of ADA fails to define what constitutes a service animal or whether it’s considered an undue hardship. Service animals, in comparison to emotional support animals, have received specific training to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Emotional support animals require no training, but rather provide companionship to their owners.
What happens when a disabled employee’s reasonable accommodation request violates company policy? When Linda Atkins who suffers from type II diabetes and occasional low blood sugar requested she be allowed to keep orange juice at her register her Dollar General manager denied the request due to company policy.
Zest Labs began working with Walmart in 2014 to assist the retailer in reducing its $3 billion a year fresh food shrink problem. Three years later, Walmart terminated product trials and shortly thereafter released its own version of a freshness technology that resembled Zest’s food waste solution. Zest filed suit claiming trade secret infringement. Walmart claims their engineers “hacked” the technology.
In 2017 a group of teachers at Ashley Elementary School, a predominantly black and Latino school in North Carolina’s Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district, complained to school officials about mold conditions at the school. A company hired by the school system reported very low levels of indoor mold spores leading the school district to take no action.
Former Alabama police officer, Leon Todd Townson, received 10 years in prison following his conviction for breaking into a home in 2015. His fellow officer, John Wayne McDaniel, awaits sentencing for his part in the crime. Townson was also charged with filing an insurance claim containing false information that prompted the agency to award him more than $190,000. 
Three months after Jena McClellan announced her pregnancy to her employer, Midwest Machining, she faced termination. Upon her termination, the company’s president offered her a severance agreement and suggested she sign that day in order to receive her severance. She filed an EEOC charge claiming discrimination and filed suit a year later.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled employees against discrimination in all aspects of employment. Employees seeking ADA accommodations open discussions with their employer to determine what accommodations are needed and if they provide an undue hardship on the employer.

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