Six women, ages 47 to 60, appeal the dismissal of their age discrimination lawsuit challenging their terminations from employment. After Phil Ruffin purchased the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas, his wife, a former Miss Ukraine (pictured here with Donald Trump) allegedly told the spa manager that she “wants young, beautiful girls here.” A witness also contended that the new manager said, “We’re getting rid of the old crew and starting over fresh with a new crew.” Despite these comments, the district court judge examined the employer’s legitimate business reasons for not rehiring each plaintiff employer and found that the work histories and auditions of each plaintiff were not shams for age discrimination. For example, one plaintiff “could not perform a full set of acrylic nails, something that she would be required to do regularly,” even though she had been employed in that job for several years. It…       Read More

SOPA and PIPA have taken prominent roles in the news over the past several months. If you have not heard, these are not the names of the next reality stars, but rather, aggressive legislation geared towards government regulation of the internet. The introduction of these two bills has sparked an immense amount of debate, both for and against the proposed legislation. The bills are very similar in their stated goals and means to accomplish the same. The passage of one or both of the bills would create a number of questions for internet users, intellectual property owners, and the companies that conduct business over the web. Naturally, the potential for substantial litigation over every aspect of the bills loom large. However, given the massive push back from various business groups, companies, and the public-at-large, both bills have come to a screeching halt in their respective Congressional locations. Introduction Some sources…       Read More

Generally, corporations appearing in Superior and State Courts in Georgia must be represented by an attorney.  Although this requirement existed, it had generally not been applied to garnishment actions until September 12, 2011. On that date, the Supreme Court of Georgia adopted a state bar advisory opinion stating that a corporation’s response to a garnishment issued in a Georgia Superior or State Court must be filed by an attorney.  Filings in Magistrate Courts did not require signature by a Georgia admitted attorney.             This rule was overturned with the signature of Georgia House Bill 683 on February 8, 2012.  The bill, which became effective immediately, allows payroll personnel, human resources personnel, and other staff to respond to Summonses of Garnishment.  As a bonus, the bill also doubles the amount employers may deduct to recover the expenses they incur in preparing and filing Answers of Garnishment. Prompt attention by the employer…       Read More

In November of 2010, we advised clients of a new Administrative law judge decision issued October 18, 2010, proclaiming that hospitals and long term care facilities that accepted TRICARE funds would be considered by the OFCCP to be government contractors subject to affirmative action plan requirements. TRICARE is the healthcare program that covers active duty soldiers, retired veterans, and their families.   On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Section 715 of the NDAA includes a provision that healthcare providers are not subject to Department of Labor Office of Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) affirmative action requirements on the basis of participation in TRICARE.    The OFCCP sought to subject healthcare providers to affirmative action requirements on the basis of participation in TRICARE by issuing Directive 293.  This directive stated that a healthcare provider’s participation in TRICARE triggered affirmative action obligations.  Nevertheless, the…       Read More

On Friday, I read the Op-Ed by Jenny Hoffner, Director of the Water Supply Program for American Rivers, describing the pursuit of new reservoirs as reckless  In it, she correctly states that communities across Georgia are concerned with securing reliable supplies in water for the future, and they are challenged to find the best way to secure that reliable supply.  Until any local government is faced with the need to secure a new water supply source, it elected and appointed officials are not generally aware of the various possibilities for meeting that future demand that are available.  All they know is what has worked for the community in the past, what has worked for their neighbors in the past and what is being proposed by their neighbors in similar geographic regions.  But, to assume that state and local government officials jump directly from the realization that they need an additional…       Read More

A recent case in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California highlights two important emerging issues in the data protection arena.  The first issue is the concern of data breaches by employees and ex-employees.  The second issue is the understanding of the legal complexities in interpreting applicable statutes.             In Nexsales Corp. v. Salebuild, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7890, Nexsales alleged that Salebuild illegally accessed Nexsales’ databases over 3000 times in order to download information.  Included in Nexsales claims was an alleged violation of the Computer Fraud  and Abuse Act, and a violation of the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications Transactions Records Act.             The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits intentional access of a computer without authorization, or exceeding authorized access.  The Stored Communications Act prohibits anyone from intentionally accessing without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication system is provided, or intentionally exceeding…       Read More

Many companies encourage, or in some cases even require, employees to use social media to further their business objectives.  Employees use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to network, build relationships, contacts and good will.  When the employee leaves the company, can the employee take all of this with her to her new position, possibly for a competing company, or can the employer force the employee to leave their social media account behind?  Just such a scenario is playing out in Pennsylvania in Eagle v. Morgan, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147247.             In this case, Linda Eagle holds a Ph.D. in communication and psychology, and has extensive experience in financial services and training.  Along with others, she founded Edcomm, Inc. to provide such services.  Dr. Eagle has a prominent reputation in the field of banking training, and spent considerable time, effort and money in developing her reputation in the financial education industry. …       Read More

            A case recently argued before the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the importance of having company policies that not only limit what data employees can access, but which also place specific limitations on how employees can use the data to which they are allowed access.             The Ninth Circuit is reviewing its earlier decision in U.S. v. Nosal, 661 F.3d 1180, in which Nosal was accused of violating the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (“CFAA”) by recruiting employees of Korn/Ferry International to obtain trade secrets and other proprietary information by using their user accounts to access the Korn/Ferry computer system.  The employees then transferred this information to Nosal.             The CFAA prohibits accessing a protected computer without authorization, or by exceeding authorized access.  The issue for the court to decide is whether the employees, who had authority to access the computer system, nevertheless exceeded their authority when…       Read More

An upcoming March 15, 2012 deadline for the 2010 ADA Standards imposes on covered hoteliers and hospitality employers additional accessibility standards  for newly constructed recreational facilities such as pools and spas built after March 15, 2012.   The new standards on access to such facilities require either adding a pool lift or renovating the swimming pool and spa entirely depending on the size of the pool: ·         Pools less than 300 feet must have at least one means of access with either a sloped entry or a lift. ·         Pools 300 feet or longer must have two means of access with the primary means of access either a  sloped entry or a lift. ·         A wading pool must have a sloped entry. Specific requirements for pool lifts under the ADA 2010 Standards specify seat height and width, foot and arm rests, controls, lifting capacity and submerged depth. The regulations on…       Read More