OSHA Introduces Pilot to Expedite Whistle-Blower Claims

As of August 1st, OSHA has rolled out an expedited case processing pilot in a few regions. This allows certain employee claims, as long as they meet a set of criteria, to be escalated directly to an administrative law judge without further OSHA investigation. This program is not projected to have a major effect on employers, just allow certain cases to be processed and resolved faster.

Key Takeaways:

  • OSHA rolled out an “expedited case processing pilot” on Aug. 1 in its western region
  • If an employee feels that he or she has been discriminated against and files a claim with OSHA, the agency will perform an investigation and issue findings
  • The pilot program isn’t likely to have a huge impact on employers, Miller noted, except that they may get to a hearing before an administrative law judge sooner than they normally would.

“Although the pilot won’t affect workplace safety and health programs, it serves as a reminder that employers should have strong anti-retaliation policies in place and should adhere to those provisions, Miller noted.”

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/osha-whistle-blower-pilot.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+shrm%2Femploymentlawsregulations+%28SHRM+Online+Employment+Laws+and+Regulations+News%29

Procter & Gamble Prevails Against Private Label Manufacturers and Distributors in Crest® Whitestrips Intellectual Property Violations

Procter & Gamble, also known as P&G, have won in an intellectual property violation on the part of two smaller companies. An overseas company named Onuge was found guilty of distributing a product very similar to Crest Whitestrips, and MS International Enterprises LLC. was found to be importing these products. A federal court entered a permanent injunction against Onuge, preventing them from distributing any more of these products, declaring them too similar to P&G’s intellectual property.

Procter & Gamble Prevails Against Private Label Manufacturers and Distributors in Crest® Whitestrips Intellectual Property Violations

Harley-Davidson to Stop Sales of Illegal Devices that Increased Air Pollution from the Company’s Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson violated the Clean Air Act by installing a “Super Tuner” in specific models of motorcycles. This violation was discovered during a routine inspection and Harley-Davidson settled. Harley-Davidson instituted a buy-back program for the “Super Tuners” and certification of conformity on future motor cycles. Additionally, Harley-Davidson is also is funding additional clean air projects, such as the “Woodstove Project”, to help further reduce pollutants to help offset their violations.

Key Takeaways:

  • A settlement with Harley-Davidson requires the companies to stop selling and to buy back and destroy illegal devices that increase air pollution from their motorcycles.
  • The government’s complaint, filed today along with the settlement, alleges that Harley-Davidson manufactured and sold approximately 340,000 illegal devices.
  • The Clean Air Act requires motor vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their vehicles will meet applicable federal emissions standards to control air pollution.

“The Clean Air Act requires motor vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their vehicles will meet applicable federal emissions standards to control air pollution, and every motor vehicle sold in the U.S. must be covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity.”

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/harley-davidson-to-stop-sales-illegal-devices-increased-air-pollution-company-s

In ‘Dumbest’ Move, Well-Known Law Prof Apparently Broke Ethics Rules in Perceived Shot at Trump (UPDATE)

Famous law professor Lawrence Tribe may have broken ethical rules posting about his legal advice to Donald Trump. At the very least, experts believe that the tweets breach attorney-client privilege. Tribe has fought back against these assertions by saying that he did not break any ethical guidelines and is holding back information that would make this more clear.

In ‘Dumbest’ Move, Well-Known Law Prof Apparently Broke Ethics Rules in Perceived Shot at Trump (UPDATE)

Federal Judge Rejects Uber’s $100 Million Settlement with Drivers

A federal judge blocked a large settlement in a case between Uber and its drivers in California and Massachusetts. He found that the settlement was not fair, adequate or reasonable. The case involves whether or not these drivers were independent contractors. The general standard is how much control does a company have over its contractors.

Federal Judge Rejects Uber’s $100 Million Settlement with Drivers

Affordable Care Act Compliance: IRS Releases Draft 2016 Employer Reporting Forms and Instructions

On August 2, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service released draft forms, and related instructions, which employers must use to report information required by the Affordable Care Act. The relevant forms must be filed by applicable large employers (ALEs) to report information on offers of health insurance to full-time employees and the provision of minimum essential coverage. The drafts forms and instructions are for information purposes only and are not final. However, the drafts will familiarize ALEs with several changes for 2016 reporting, including new guidance, revisions, clarifications and new terminology.

Affordable Care Act Compliance: IRS Releases Draft 2016 Employer Reporting Forms and Instructions

SEC Finds Certain Separation Agreement Provisions Unlawful Under Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Rule

The Security and Exchange Company, according to rule, 21F-17, says an employer cannot make and employee sign a waiver that forces them to waive their right to communication with or financial awards from the commission. Per recent case against BlueLinx Holdings, the SEC concluded that a company could not force an employee to choose between identifying themselves as a whistleblower and risking their severance pay and benefits.

Key Takeaways:

  • Twice in the past two weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) issued a cease-and-desist order settling proceedings against companies for using confidentiality and waiver of claims provisions in employee separation.
  • The SEC announced that it would be looking to bring enforcement actions with respect to severance agreements, confidentiality agreements, and employment agreements that violate Rule 21F-17.
  • In addition, the SEC has signaled it will oppose attempts by employers to limit an employee’s right to receive whistleblower incentive awards.

“In connection with this well-publicized, targeted enforcement sweep, the SEC has become increasingly aggressive about confidentiality and waiver provisions in various types of employment-related agreements.”

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/sec-finds-certain-separation-agreement-provisions-unlawful-under-dodd-frank

Court Ruling All But Snuffs Feds’ War on Pot

Medical marijuana sellers are now free to sell without having to worry about whether they will be brought to court for selling it as long as they follow the state laws for selling medical marijuana. This is only the case for the time being. It is very possible that when the government gains the funds to actually do something about medical marijuana sellers the government will most likely do that.

Key Takeaways:

  • Marijuana users can no longer be prosecuted as long as they’re abiding by the states laws about marijuana.
  • The court couldn’t understand what DOJ was trying to say about medical marijuana laws.
  • How can the court be sure that a person is truly using marijuana for medical reasons.

“The DOJ argued that the language contained in the rider applied only to prosecution of state actors, such as licensing clerks, and did not apply to individual actors in the medical marijuana industry.”

http://lawnewz.com/opinion/court-ruling-all-but-snuffs-feds-war-on-pot/

Shegerian & Associates’ Carney Shegerian Named to 2017 Best Lawyers in America List

The Best Lawyers in America is a renowned publication in the United States, awarding titles to the best lawyers in America. Due to the prestigious and respected publication, it is considered one of the top referral lists for lawyers. Carney Shegerian is an employment law attorney who has been nominated by his colleagues for the excellence that has been provided in their practice, Shegerian & Associates, located in Santa Monica. Shegarian has many accomplishments, successfully winning 73 trials and is able to practice in local federal courts, all California courts and The United States Supreme court.

Shegerian & Associates’ Carney Shegerian Named to 2017 Best Lawyers in America List

Two Kentucky Men Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

It has recently been stated that two Kentucky Men have sentenced to a prison due to the fact that they have been committing identity fraud. In addition to a prison sentence, the criminals were also forced to pay over two hundred thousand dollars as part of the punishment for the severe crime they have committed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Two Kentucky men were sentenced to between five and more than six years in prison today after pleading guilty in April and May to conspiring to defraud the United States.
  • Billy Ray Hamilton and Brian Hamilton were sentenced to serve 60 months and 82 months in prison, respectively.
  • The Hamiltons prepared and electronically submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) numerous false federal tax returns.

“In some cases, they used the identification information of customers of the Bailey Switch Pawn Shop, without their knowledge or consent. In other cases, they obtained taxpayers’ information through a co-conspirator.”

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-kentucky-men-sentenced-prison-stolen-identity-refund-fraud