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Legal Report

- Courts issue rulings on discrimination, the release of sensitive data, and protected speech while Congress considers bills on trespassing, airport screening, and terrorism.

State Legislation: Washington: Bullying

- Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill (H.B. 1928) that would make it illegal for companies to subject employees to an “abusive work environment,” defined as a workplace where abuse is so severe as to cause physical or psychological harm to an employee. The bill provide a defense for employers. It states that a company must prove that it took reasonable care to correct the abusive conduct and that the employee failed to take advantage of the corrective measures offered by the company. Companies also have a defense if the bullying allegation is based on a legitimate, negative employment decision, such as a demotion or termination, or if the allegation is in response to a company’s investigation of potentially illegal or unethical activity.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Corporate Crime

- A bill (H.R. 323) introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) would require that the government keep statistics on all administrative, civil, and criminal judicial proceedings against companies and company officials that involve fines of $1,000 or more. The government would make information on improper conduct by companies with revenues of more than $1 billion available to the public via a Web site.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: CFATS

- A House of Representatives subcommittee recently held a hearing to discuss the government’s Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. Under CFATS, chemical facilities work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a security program based on a facility’s risk level. The program, which was established in 2007, will expire at the end of this year. Lawmakers asked witnesses to give their opinions of the program and to address whether it should be made permanent.

Legal Report

- A company's media policy is overbroad, and a police officer is not liable for a recordkeeping error, according to the courts. Lawmakers consider chemical facility security, corporate crime, and airport screening.

Arizona Votes to Allow Guns on Campus

- The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a controversial bill that would allow guns to be carried on the sidewalks and roads of public universities.

State Legislation: Michigan: Background Checks

- A bill (S.B. 15) introduced in Michigan would prohibit certain convicted felons from being employed by the state. Under the bill, the state could not hire anyone who had been convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of public trust in the previous 20 years to any position in which the employee would set policy or have discretionary authority over public assets.

State Legislation: California: School Safety

- A new bill (A.B. 13) introduced in the California Assembly would expand prohibitions against sex offenders working in state schools. Under existing law, public schools may not employ anyone convicted of a sex crime or controlled substance offense unless the conviction is reversed or the charges are dismissed. The new bill would clarify that these provisions also apply to charter schools. The bill would also prohibit anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime, controlled substance offense, or violent crime from working as a volunteer in schools.

The Patriot Act: Issues and Controversies

- The Patriot Act: Issues and Controversies does a thorough job of examining the controversial legislation and its ramifications almost ten years after its passage.

State Legislation: Mississippi: Bullying

- A new law (formerly S.B. 2015) in Mississippi prohibits bullying or harassing behavior in public schools. School employees are required to report any such behavior to school officials. Under the new law, all schools must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment.

Legal Report

- A government report examines how sexual predators become school employees, and court decisions on the theft of proprietary documents, retaliation, workplace safety, and privacy.

Hearing Reviews Chemical Facility Security Regs and Talks ISTs

- A hearing conducted last week on chemical security found witnesses agreed that the government's regulatory scheme has been a success, although government and chemical industry officials squared off on whether mandating safer technologies or processes is smart public policy .

U.S. Regulatory Issues: Genetic Discrimination

- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a final rule implementing the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008. The law makes it illegal for employers to collect genetic information on employees or to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of genetic data or family medical history. While many of the law’s provisions apply to health insurance providers, the EEOC rule addresses the use of genetic information in the workplace.
 




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