Tag Archives: litigation

A Former Employee Files a Harassment Case against Wal-Mart

In Arkansas this week, a fired employee has filed a lawsuit for harassment against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The employee, who currently resides in Oklahoma, alleges that Wal-Mart is forcing him to an Arkansas court as part of a 4-year-old trade secret violation case.  

One of their computer security specialists, Mr. Gabbard had been suspected of copying documents from work. Wal-Mart asserts that he has retained confidential information after he left the company, which directly violates the employee agreement on sharing trade secrets.  

From the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Gabbard is believed to still have company documents based on postings he made on his website as recently as a month ago and on a forensics investigation of his computers, which show that he copied corporate files before leaving.    

He had been previously fired from Wal-Mart for monitoring phone conversations between other employees and a New York Times reporter. Also, he shared confidential information about a board discussion he heard through the surveillance system about a corporate sex-discrimination suit and secret plan to boost their stock price by spinning off of Sam’s Club.  

Read the Wall Street Journal article

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Chipotle Undergoing Investigation on I-9 Compliance

Just this week, Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants went under a massive federal investigation of the company’s employment practices regarding immigrant workers.  

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents visited 20 to 25 outlets in several states, and had interviewed supervisors and investigated their legal paperwork including I-9 forms.  

According to the Wall Street Journal article, the ICE has been investigating Chipotle for a while now. Last December, for instance, Chipotle laid off more than 400 workers in Minnesota immediately following an Immigration and Customs Enforcement audit on their employee records. Particularly, these federal audits require the employer to provide I-9 forms to attest each worker’s eligibility status in the U.S.  

“If agents are interviewing workers at stores, clearly they are looking for information that goes beyond the I-9 audits,” said Victor Cerba, a former general counsel at ICE who is now a partner at Jackson Lewis LLP. “An audit can be a purely paper process when there is nothing unusual with the company.”  

Read the Wall Street Journal article

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Disability Law Changes to Impact Small Businesses

According to BusinessWeek, in 2010, there were 25,165 disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC, up from 21,451 charges in fiscal year 2009. Now starting in May, numerous small businesses will be impacted by a few major amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

The new regulations specify a whole list of impairments that the EEOC recognizes, including: deafness, blindness, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, and major depression. In September 2008, the ADA was officially amended, and now these changes will be enforceable.  

However, instead of placing the burden of providing proof solely on the employee, the revised Act seeks to hold employers responsible. The message is clear that instead of an employer or HR focusing on whether an employee is disabled, they should focus on the potential discrimination and accommodation they can make available.  

For small businesses, this compliance may cost them more money and resources to respond to claims.  

The EEOC estimated that up to 38 million disabled people may be impacted as a result of these changes, plus businesses may end up spending between $60 million to $180 million to provide reasonable accommodation and any legal costs.  

Read the BusinessWeek article  

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New ADA Regulations Just Issued EEOC Rules Mean Virtually Everyone Is Disabled

No, I’m not joking with that title. The EEOC’s rules are mostly straight-forward and unsurprising. But leading employment law firm Seyfarth Shaw goes on to tell us:

“What is surprising, and doubtless game-changing, is the agency’s decision to list conditions that, according to the EEOC, will “virtually always” be covered impairments. The EEOC says those impairments are not per se disabilities, as it must if the new regulations are to resemble the original statute. Yet, by characterizing listed conditions as “virtually always” covered, the agency has in effect labeled tens of millions of Americans disabled.

The EEOC did not stop there. Rejecting the views of business organizations and employment attorneys, the EEOC has made clear that any impairment – no matter how brief in duration – can be a covered disability. By those changes and others, the EEOC’s new regulations will further burden employers, not only with compliance challenges but also litigation that will inevitably follow the EEOC’s expansive approach.”

Well. Good luck, HR, and enjoy it, lawyers!!

http://www.seyfarth.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/publications.publications_detail/object_id/9c06be9b-5e5f-4db2-ba03-60ce42dbf3aa/NewADARegulationsJustIssuedEEOCRulesMeanVirtuallyEveryoneIsDisabled.cfm

New ADA Regulations Just Issued EEOC Rules Mean Virtually Everyone Is Disabled

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