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Verifile International Newsletter Issue #6

29 Jul 2014

Welcome to our July edition of the International Newsletter 2014 which we hope you find helpful in keeping up to date.

 
In this issue of the International Newsletter:
WORLDWIDE NEWS

  - IFDAT Conference Spotlight: Testing in the Oil & Gas Industry
- Universal Principles of Administering Multi-Country Background Screening for Your Employees
- What is the Best Country in the World to Work?

- International Privacy Laws Still Pose Challenges for the Discovery Process
- Forecasts are Broadly Improved in Year-over-Year
  Comparisons

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST  
KENYA

- Data Protection Bill to be Tabled by End of May

TANZANIA

 - Data Protection Bill Announced as Part of Cybersecurity Initiatives

ASIA PACIFIC  
AUSTRALIA

   - Myer Liar Found Out: Why Background Checks Matter
-
1000 Police Clearance Forms a Day and a System that Can’t Cope with Child-protection Laws
-
OAIC Disbanded as Privacy, FOI Oversight Redistributed
-
Australian Data Laws to Mirror the UK, Germany: Fieldfisher
- Privacy Agencies to Cooperate

CHINA
   - Karamay Juvenile Crime Files to be Sealed
SINGAPORE
   - PDPC Clarifies Data Transfers Under Upcoming July     2014 Law
 
SOUTH KOREA
   - Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook: Second Edition
EUROPE

   - Safe Harbor-Compliant Companies Seeking Contracts
-
EU Privacy Laws Will Apply to U.S. Companies Who Do Business in Europe
- International Data Transfers - The Challenge Continues

IRELAND 

  - Ireland Data Protection Commissioner Releases 2013 Report
- High Level of Recruitment Activity Predicted

UNITED KINGDOM

 - UK Financial Services Sector Bouncing Back

- Recruitment Intentions Among LMO Employers Fall to 54%

- Student Visa System ‘Abused’ to Gain Illegal Entry to UK

 - Changes to the civil penalty scheme to prevent illegal working

 - Changes to legal definition of ‘work with children’

NORTH AMERICA  
CANADA

 - Tighter Rules for Criminal Background Checks Urged
-
Toronto Police Criminal-Background Check Backlog Puts Thousands of Jobs and Studies in Limbo

UNITED STATES

  -Doctor's Sex Assault Case Spurs Talk of Background Checks
- Reding says that US Safe Harbor changes nearly agreed

  - House GOP Members Criticize the EEOC on Background Checks, Enforcement Tactics-

  - Reducing Security Threats Posed by Contract Workers

  - Former UC Berkeley Administrator Allegedly Stole From School

  - Uber Driver with Felony Conviction Charged with Battery for Allegedly Hitting Passenger

  - Criminal Record Checks Draw Criticism

  - 'Ban the Box' Gets Initial D.C. Council Nod, but Further Tweaks Expected

 - Illinois Moves to Ban Criminal Background Questions From Job Applications

 - New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Approves Significantly Less Onerous Version of Ban the Box Legislation

 - New Orleans Tour Guide Licensing Law Upheld

 - New Florida Statute Requires Schools to Provide Information About Sex Offenders

 - Oklahoma and Louisiana Become the Latest States to Enact Social Media Password Protection Laws

 - Some Employers Likely to See Increased Litigation Costs in EEOC Cases

 - More States Restrict Employers' Access To Employees' Social Media Accounts

 

 

World wide news

 

-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS-

IFDAT Annual Conference Spotlight: Testing in the Oil & Gas Industry

 

The international employee screening market is flourishing, as the rise in more businesses expands operations globally. The increasing need to screen employees at an international degree requires a demand to improve and identify opportunities for this intricate process. The IFDAT conference provides a forum for employers and industry providers. They will review and discuss the best methods, reveal new developments, such as changes in policies and technology, and explore measures to improve efficiencies in the international employee screening process. This year marks the sixth forum for the conference and will include numerous topics related to international testing. This year the focus is to implement solutions.

Read more 

 

Universal Principles of Administering Multi-Country Background Screening for Your Employees

Rapid globalization is driving organizations to expand their operations into multiple geographies. This involves engaging diverse multinational talent pool. One of the primary targets is to get access to the best talent and deliver better-faster results to lead the game. However, the importance of ensuring that the global workforce engaged adheres to the requisite organizational standards and complies with the local requirements cannot be underestimated. Organizations need to ensure that risks associated with global hiring are well managed and mitigated. The downside to this may be the fact that carrying out International background screening can often times be an overwhelming task

 

Read more

 

What is the Best Country in the World to Work?

It's no secret that the U.S. has pretty lousy work-life policies. But is the grass really greener in other parts of the world? Here, we explore what work would be like if you lived in another country. The majority of our Most Innovative Companies are located right in the U.S. in Silicon Valley. However, some of the hottest companies right now are located on the other side of the world, in Israel. America tops the household income and financial wealth list. Scandinavian nations Denmark, Sweden, and Norway top the charts in categories like life satisfaction, work-life balance and health. Americans spend less time taking care of themselves and more time working than the world average.

Read more

 

-DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY-

International Privacy Laws Still Pose Challenges for the Discovery Process

The discovery process can be cumbersome and expensive regardless of where it takes place, but international laws protecting sensitive information can make the process even more complicated. Especially in the EU, collecting information for litigation presents unique challenges that legal departments should be aware of. Alvin F. Lindsay of Hogan Lovells LLP says that within the EU, “Data privacy is usually taken very, very seriously. In fact, the European Commission found that the right to privacy in one’s correspondence is a ‘fundamental human right.’” It’s essential for attorneys and legal departments working with clients or opponents internationally to comply with the discovery restrictions.

Read more

 

-EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK-

Forecasts are Broadly Improved in Year-over-Year Comparisons; Indian Employers Again Report Most Optimistic Hiring Intentions Across Globe

Opportunities for job seekers across global labor markets are expected to remain mostly positive with few overall signs that hiring intentions are decisively trending in one direction or another. Staffing levels are expected to increase in 37 of the 42 countries and territories, compared with 38 of 42 in the second quarter. The strongest hiring plans across the globe are reported by employers in India, Taiwan, Turkey, New Zealand and Singapore. The weakest--and only negative--third-quarter forecasts are reported by employers in Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Overall, the forecasts are generally softer across the globe when compared to Q2 2014, but mostly stronger in year-over-year comparisons.

Read more

 

 

Africa Middle East

 

 Kenya


 

Data Protection Bill to be Tabled by End of May

The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Dr. Fred Matiang'i, announced that the Data Protection Bill 2013 is expected to be tabled in Parliament by the end of May 2014. The Bill would appoint the Commission of Administrative Justice to oversee compliance with its provisions. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to KES 100,000 (approx. €820), two years of imprisonment, or both. The Bill is being discussed as part of wider strategy by the Government entitled 'Connected Kenya Master Plan', which 'envisions the country as a globally competitive and respected knowledge-based economy [with] strengthen[ed] ICT business development.'

Read more

 

Tanzania 

Data Protection Bill Announced as Part of Cybersecurity Initiatives

The Ministry for Communications, Science and Technology in Tanzania, announced, on 31 March 2014, that the Personal Data Protection Bill is being developed as part of its cybersecurity initiative, following the rapid growth in the information communications and technology sector (ICT) within the country. 'Although we have seen the benefits [of ICT] in various fields including education, health, business, communications infrastructure, there were also challenges [regarding] misuse of the Internet for example, theft of money through the Internet leaks of confidential information, [and] loss of intellectual property [...]', read the Ministry's press release.

Read more


Asia Pacific 

Australia 
 -EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS-

 

Myer Liar Found Out: Why Background Checks Matter

Embellished CVs are nothing new to HR professionals, but one executive appears to have taken it to another level. Retail giant Myer sacked Andrew Flanagan on his first day, after having supposedly poached him from global fashion brand Zara, when it was revealed that he'd never worked for the company. Hiring company Quest Personnel told the Sydney Morning Herald that it had been duped by Flanagan and he had provided "incorrect and misleading information" before being hired by Myer as the organisation's group general manager of strategy and business development. Myer discovered the truth when Zara contacted the company to say that Flanagan had never worked there.

 

Read more

 

 1000 Police Clearance Forms a Day and a System that Can’t Cope with Child-protection Laws

 

Mandatory background checks for volunteers and job seekers have surged 66% and delayed security clearances for months, as the system struggles to cope with stronger child-protection laws. The State Government’s screening unit is dealing with up to 1000 applications a day, resulting in delays that are putting people off volunteering for school and sports events and jobs that may include dealing with children or the elderly. Background checks are required as a result of recommendations by the Debelle royal commission into school sex-abuse cases. The Government said an extra $1.3 million will be spent on the screening unit to deal with the “dramatic increase’’ in applications.

 

 Read more

 

-DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY-

 

OAIC Disbanded as Privacy, FOI Oversight Redistributed

 

Procedural oversight of privacy, freedom of information (FOI) and other administrative functions has been overhauled in the Budget with the disbanding of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the reallocation of its constituent tasks to other government agencies. From 1 January 2015, the OAIC will no longer exist as a unified organisation. Instead, its functions and full-time internal and external staff will be redistributed amongst four other government agencies, with its budget ($10.6m in 2013-14) returned to government coffers. Budget Papers show the move will save the government $3.3m in direct funding this financial year, then approximately $10.4m each year thereafter.


Read more

 

Australian Data Laws to Mirror the UK, Germany: Fieldfisher

 

Data protection laws in Australia could soon mirror those in Germany and the UK, according to a new report by European law firm, Fieldfisher. This is significant because the legal regimes in the UK and Germany are quite severe with respect to companies and other organisations holding private data, and such changes would impact the way Australian businesses handle their data. Fieldfisher's white paper examined the legal and regulatory obligations to encrypt personal data in Europe, the U.S., and the Asia Pacific region. It argues that the laws in those regions give rise to a clear need to deploy encryption technologies to protect personal data.

 

Read more

 

Privacy Agencies to Cooperate

 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland (DPCI), agreeing to collaborate on investigations and other information. Signed by the Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan and Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, the MOU outlines how the two authorities will cooperate on consumer and business education, new laws, government and self-regulatory enforcement, staffing and resource issues, and information relating to investigations. "Each Participant will designate a primary contact for the purposes of requests for assistance and other communications under this Memorandum," said the MOU.

 

Read more 


China

 
Karamay Juvenile Crime Files to be Sealed
On June 5, 2014, the trial committee of Karamay District People’s Court issued a regulation to seal juvenile crime records. Karamay District People’s Court is the first legal institution in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to adopt this system. Before the latest Code of Criminal Procedure, there was no specified regulation on storing or borrowing juvenile crime files, and any basic unit or individuals related to the case could apply to read the file. From now on, Karamay District People’s Court will seal all files involving crimes committed by minors and sealed files can only be read by legal institutions and units that get official permission.
 
Read more

 

Singapore

PDPC Clarifies Data Transfers Under Upcoming July 2014 Law

The Singapore Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) updated - on 16 May 2014 - its Advisory Guidelines on Key Concepts in the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) ('the Guidelines'), ahead of the entry into force of the Act on 2 July 2014. The Guidelines add three new chapters - Applicability to Inbound Data Transfers, The Access and Correction Obligation, and The Transfer Limitation Obligation. The Personal Data Protection Regulations 2014 ('the Regulations') were also gazetted on 19 May 2014.

 Read more

South Korea

 Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook: Second Edition

In the past, South Korea did not have a comprehensive law governing data privacy. However, a new law relating to protection of personal information (Personal Information Protection Act, "PIPA") was enacted and became effective as of 30 September 2011. Under PIPA, except as otherwise provided for in any other Act, the protection of personal information shall be governed by the provisions of PIPA. If a breach of Personal Data occurs the Data Handler must notify the data subjects without delay of the details and circumstances, and the remedial steps planned. Non-compliance with a request or violation of an order can result in fines, imprisonment, or both.

Read more

Europe

 -DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY-

Safe Harbor-Compliant Companies Seeking Contracts: Facing an Uphill Battle in the EU

Despite the bad rep Safe Harbor has been getting lately, the data transfer framework isn't going anywhere-at least not for now. But its longevity isn't because organizations and regulators in the EU are suddenly satisfied with the controversial self-certification program-quite the contrary; there's a lot of mistrust about Safe Harbor-certified U.S. companies' data protection promises. And that reality, merited or not, is making it pretty difficult for self-certified Safe Harbor companies in the U.S. to win contracts with companies across the pond. But the two governments say they're engaged in healthy talks about U.S. efforts to make ongoing improvements to the framework.

Read more
 

EU Privacy Laws Will Apply to U.S. Companies Who Do Business in Europe

EU justice ministers have reached a partial agreement on planned new data privacy laws, but they still disagree about how to implement them. Ministers agreed on the rules that govern international data transfers and on the territorial scope of the data protection regulation. In short, EU data protection laws will apply to non-European companies if they do business in the EU. The proposal for a Data Protection Regulation to update the old 1995 privacy directive was first put forward by EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding. She said she was pleased the council of justice ministers had managed to make some headway.

Read more

International Data Transfers - The Challenge Continues

The discussion at the Council of the EU in the context of the European data protection legislative reform is by no means the end of a process which is likely to carry on for at least a year, but it provided a helpful pointer as to where the policy making thinking is. One of the biggest challenges that organisations operating in the EU have faced since the 1990s is the prohibition on transfers of data to jurisdictions outside the EU without equivalent standards of data protection. The ongoing legislative reform is an opportunity to review the existing regime and bring it into line with today's data globalisation.

Read more

 Ireland

-DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY-

Ireland Data Protection Commissioner Releases 2013 Report

The Data Protection Commissioner’s (DPC) Report for 2013 shows that while complaints were down overall, there was a marked concentration of complaints around requests for access. More than half (57%) of complaints investigated in 2013 related to difficulties gaining access to personal data held by organisations. It was a momentous year for data protection, as the full extent of the activities of U.S. and European intelligence agencies in relation to citizen data was revealed. “This has sparked an important and welcome debate on the proper balance between national security and privacy considerations for the 21st Century,” said the report.

Read more

-EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK-

High Level of Recruitment Activity Predicted

Ireland is set to see high levels of recruitment activity, according to the 10th annual Global Sentiment Survey from Ireland-based Berkley Group, which analyses employment and market perceptions internationally. This survey follows the latest quarterly Business Monitor from InterTradeIreland, which revealed that recruitment on both sides of the Irish border is at their best levels since 2009. According to the Berkley Group, 64% of the Irish workforce expects to move jobs in the next year. The report also highlighted that confidence is returning to the Irish economy, with 88% of respondents reporting that their business was performing better than last year.

Read more

 

United Kingdom 2

-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS-

Recruiting and Pre-Employment Vetting in the Social Media Era – CIPD Publishes New Guidance for Employers

New guidance for employers on what constitutes good practice when conducting pre-employment checks on job applicants has been released by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Drawing on consultations with HR professionals and employment lawyers, ‘Pre-employment checks: an employer’s guide,’ offers advice to employers who are struggling to keep up with the pace of change in recruitment methods. These issues continue to make the headlines, and regularly focus on the debate over the right to privacy associated with employers checking job applicants’ activity on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter during the recruitment process.

Read more

-OCCUPATIONAL FRAUD-
 
 Employee Fraudscape: Depicting the UK's Fraud Landscape

Fraud committed inside an organisation must now be seen in parallel and should be just as integral to an organisation's risk strategy. For many, the most serious problems continue to be around data theft and disclosure. While there is no 'magic fix' to prevent internal fraud, organisations have become more adept at identifying frauds taking place on the inside and have recognised that the same data sharing and preventative steps taken to combat consumer fraud must now be taken to stop other fraud types. A good combination of measures needs to be implemented by multiple areas of the company, which ensure comprehensive protection. 
 
 Read more
 
-EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK-

Unemployment Falls to Five-year Low

The number of people out of work in the UK fell to a five-year low in the three months to the end of March, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that unemployment fell by 133,000 to 2.2m, taking the jobless rate to 6.8%, the lowest since 2009. The number of people in work rose to 30.43m, the highest since records began in 1971. The number of vacancies in the economy is at its highest since the spring of 2008. Minister for employment Esther McVey said, “As the recovery takes hold, more people are able to get a job or set up their own business and become the employers of tomorrow." 
 
 Read more

 
North America

Canada 2

- EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS

Tighter Rules for Criminal Background Checks Urged

Lawmakers and police agencies are being urged to tighten regulation of criminal background checks to prevent the disclosure of irrelevant and potentially reputation-shattering personal information. Canadians are routinely denied jobs or volunteer positions over unfounded allegations, suicide attempts, and charges that were later withdrawn, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says in a report released over the weekend. A "patchwork" of privacy and human rights legislation across Canada means protection against employment discrimination isn't guaranteed, the report said.
 
Read more

Toronto Police Criminal-Background Check Backlog Puts Thousands of Jobs and Studies in Limbo


A “catastrophic” backlog in Toronto police background checks for students, health professionals and other workers could grow worse if the RCMP makes fingerprinting a mandatory part of the process. The Toronto Police Services Board is grappling with how to manage the 200 new requests for checks received each day, contributing to a backlog that peaked at almost 17,000 requests last year. Waiting times for a check can stretch for months. Last year, Toronto police received more than 108,000 requests for the two types of checks they provide: clearance letter and vulnerable sector screening (VSS). For employment fields that require a valid VSS issued within six months, some checks have expired by the time they are needed.
 
Read more
 

United States

- U.S Legal Issues -

Doctor's Sex Assault Case Spurs Talk of Background Checks

Revelations that a former Catonsville doctor obtained his Maryland medical license despite having a rape conviction on his record is sparking a push for criminal background checks of physicians - a proposal that has failed and been ignored in recent years. This case has regulators and legislators talking about reforms in Maryland, one of 13 states that does not conduct background checks on physicians, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards. Now that the board has made other suggested reforms, including reducing a backlog of complaints, it plans to focus on the background check issue, said Chairwoman Dr. Andrea Mathias.


Read more

 

Reding says that US Safe Harbor changes nearly agreed

Viviane Reding, EU Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, said on 6 June: "I think that 95% of what could be agreed - has been. There are the last sticking 5%, which are not yet agreed, which concern the judicial redress. For example, when Americans come to Europe and they think the authorities have not handled their case correctly, they can go to a European court. However an EU citizen cannot do the same in the US and go to an American court. There is no reciprocity; we do not have the basis for judicial redress. You cannot make an agreement if you do not have judicial redress. The US has recognised the importance of this request on several occasions - but they need to have a law."
 
Read more

House GOP Members Criticize the EEOC on Background Checks, Enforcement Tactics

Republicans on a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee have criticized the EEOC for discouraging employers from conducting necessary criminal background checks on job applicants and for pursuing meritless discrimination suits. Rep. Tim Walberg said the EEOC's 2012 guidance on employers' use of arrest and conviction records "has made it more difficult for employers to ensure the safety of their customers and co-workers." Rep. John Kline, said the EEOC guidance is a potential job killer as small employers in particular might choose not to hire anyone rather than deal with the agency's long, complicated guidance about what employers must do when conducting criminal checks.

Read more

Reducing Security Threats Posed by Contract Workers

In a time of budget sensitivity, many businesses, government agencies and other types of organizations are turning to independent contractors as a more flexible and less expensive alternative to hiring regular, full-time employees. However, the cost savings of using third-party contractors can also come with certain risks, most notably in terms of security. Contractors and other third parties, including vendors, delivery people and other "outsiders," may create a breach in physical security, which compromises all other elements of a security program. Awareness of the potential risks associated with contractors and proactive steps to address those risks should be part of every security program.

Read more

Former UC Berkeley Administrator Allegedly Stole From School

A former research administrator at UC Berkeley who had a prior conviction for embezzlement allegedly stole "tens of thousands of dollars" from the university. Alameda County prosecutors have charged Sonia Waters with nine felony counts of grand theft, attempted grand theft, embezzlement of public funds, and attempted embezzlement. "We have identified a hole in our practices that can lead to some employees hired in non-sensitive positions - not requiring criminal background checks - moving to sensitive positions without undergoing background checks," said a UC Berkeley spokeswoman. "We will certainly be looking to improve our oversight in this area and will put procedures in place to address this issue." 

Read more

Uber Driver with Felony Conviction Charged with Battery for Allegedly Hitting Passenger

Uber driver Daveea Whitmire, faces criminal charges after being accused of physically assaulting his passenger during an argument. Though drivers using Uber, Lyft and other car service apps have faced accusations ranging from creepy text stalking to raping a passenger to killing a 6-year-old girl, Whitmire is only the second driver to face criminal charges for an incident while driving for a car service company. Whitmire's alleged assault is made worse because he shouldn't have been driving for Uber at all, due to past criminal convictions. Prosecutors hope to make this case an example of a need for stronger safety regulations among car service apps.

Read more

Criminal Record Checks Draw Criticism

Though some business leaders contend that background checks protect employers from hiring potentially dangerous or untrustworthy applicants, opposition to their use in job applications has gained momentum. Employment attorney Sharon Dietrich, said that though state law only allows employers to consider felony or misdemeanor convictions, employers often reject applicants even when previous arrests and charges did not result in a conviction. They also ignore the law when they reject clients for summary offenses. "They've done everything the system has asked them to do," said Vladimir Beaufils, president of the Reentry Coalition for Central PA. "But they still keep paying, sometimes for decades after the get out."

Read more

'Ban the Box' Gets Initial D.C. Council Nod, but Further Tweaks Expected

After years of abortive efforts, the D.C. Council voted to give job applicants with criminal records new protections against discrimination from potential employers. On a 12-to-1 vote, lawmakers gave initial approval to the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act - known to its proponents as "ban the box" - which restricts when employers can check a job applicant's criminal background. The new bill, introduced by Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), places new curbs on when during the hiring process an employer can check an applicant's criminal background, thus banning the practice of screening applicants based on their criminal records.

Read more

Illinois Moves to Ban Criminal Background Questions From Job Applications

Private employers in Illinois with 15 or more employees will have to revamp their job applications to remove questions about criminal background history and postpone such inquiries to the job interview or conditional job offer stage of the hiring process under legislation that is expected to be signed into law by the governor. The "ban the box" measure, titled the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act will take effect January 1, 2015, if, as expected, Governor Pat Quinn approves it. The governor already previously banned criminal background questions from most State of Illinois government job applications in October 2013 by an administrative order.

Read more

New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Approves Significantly Less Onerous Version of Ban the Box Legislation

The New Jersey Legislature has been considering "ban the box" legislation since February 2013. Amidst opposition from business groups, the proposed law underwent several changes over the last 16 months. On June 5, 2014, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted 9-1 to approve a significantly less onerous version of the bill. The current version of the bill now awaits approval from the full Senate. This version is significantly less burdensome on employers than prior versions of the bill, which outlined a lengthy process for criminal background checks and enumerated the crimes about which an employer could inquire.

Read more

New Orleans Tour Guide Licensing Law Upheld

New Orleans tour guides will continue to undergo criminal background checks and drug testing in order to ply their trade after a federal appeals court upheld the city's licensing system. Four tour guides sought to strike the licensing law on First Amendment grounds, arguing they were unconstitutionally prevented from talking to visitors about New Orleans history without a permit. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those arguments. The court said the licensing requirements serve a compelling interest: to protect the city's thriving tourism industry by ensuring its tour guides are not criminals or drug addicts and that they are "knowledgeable about the city and trustworthy."

Read more

New Florida Statute Requires Schools to Provide Information About Sex Offenders

The Florida Legislature has enacted a requirement for nonpublic colleges, universities and schools. All such institutions are required to inform employees and students at orientation and on the school's website of the existence of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sexual-predator-registry website and the toll-free telephone number that gives access to sexual predator and sexual offender public information. There is an increased presence of sexual offenders or sexual predators who are often under the radar for most institutions: parents, grandparents, or individuals on the authorized pickup lists. Many schools do not perform criminal-background checks on these individuals.

Read more

Oklahoma and Louisiana Become the Latest States to Enact Social Media Password Protection Laws

Oklahoma and Louisiana have enacted their own legislation aimed at restricting access by employers to applicants' and employees' personal online content, further complicating the patchwork of state password protection laws already in place. To ensure compliance, employers with operations in Oklahoma or Louisiana should understand the requirements of each law. Oklahoma's new law becomes effective on November 1, 2014. Louisiana's new law becomes effective on August 1, 2014. In general, the best practice is not to seek access to personal online content except where there is a strong business interest for doing so that is recognized in the applicable password protection law.

Read more

Some Employers Likely to See Increased Litigation Costs in EEOC Cases

Employers in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin are likely to see their legal fees increase as a result of a Seventh Circuit decision that allows the EEOC to file suit immediately instead of first trying to negotiate a settlement with the employer. The court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not contain an affirmative defense for employers to use against the EEOC during litigation. As a result, the EEOC does not have to concern itself with good-faith conciliation. It can go to the negotiation table with take-it-or-leave-it settlement offers, and employers have no recourse.

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More States Restrict Employers' Access To Employees' Social Media Accounts

State legislatures are enacting laws limiting employers' ability to access the social media accounts of their employees. Thus far in 2014, four more states -Louisiana,Oklahoma,TennesseeandWisconsin- have enacted social media legislation, bringing the total number of states with such legislation to 16.

Generally, state social media laws bar employers from requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant provide log-in credentials for his/her personal social media account. Some of these state social media laws also prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to add another employee or supervisor to a social media account "friends" or contacts list or to access personal social media accounts in the employer's presence. Many of the state social media laws also prohibit employers from basing adverse employment action on an employee's refusal to comply with an employer's request for social media account access.

Notably, all four of the recently-enacted laws allow employers to monitor the social media activity of employees when employees access their social media accounts through employer-provided IT systems.

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