07/28/2010 - In litigation between an insurance company and its former agents, the company claimed that agents misappropriated trade secrets when they used print-outs from the electronic files of insurance policyholders in their search for other jobs. However, the court found that because the same information from the password-protected electronic files was readily available in another format, unsecured physical files stored in the agents’ offices, it cannot be considered a protected trade secret. (Nationwide Mutual Insurance v. Mortensen et al, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No. 08-5214-cv, 2010)
07/28/2010 - The Court has ruled that a law prohibiting “material support” to terrorist organizations is constitutional and that it is permissible to ban any support to such groups—including humanitarian support—because all support is tantamount to promoting terrorism.
07/28/2010 - Oregon’s disability laws do not shield employees who use illegal drugs, including medical marijuana, and employers don’t need to accommodate such use, ruled the Oregon Supreme Court. In a case brought by a worker who was fired after his employer learned of his medical marijuana use, the court noted that the state must yield to federal law in this instance even though the use of the drug is legal for medical purposes in Oregon.
07/28/2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to reexamine Chicago’s handgun ban (.pdf). The Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the ban, but it did stress that owning firearms is a “fundamental” right.
07/28/2010 - Victimized ESPN reporter Erin Andrews this week urged Congress to pass antistalking legislation that would toughen sentencing and allow law enforcement to pursue stalking undertaken via cell phone or the Internet.
07/28/2010 - A police department did not violate the constitutional rights of police officers (.pdf) when it read through their text messages, ruled the Supreme Court. The review of the text messages did not violate the Fourth Amendment, according to the ruling, because it was undertaken for work-related purposes and was not excessive in scope.
07/28/2010 - In a case recently filed in federal court, a company claims that former employees violated their noncompete agreements by communicating with the company’s current contract employees via LinkedIn (.pdf). The case could have important ramifications for how employees use social media networking sites.
07/28/2010 - A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee may not sue her employer for retaliation after the company failed to investigate her original discrimination claim. Failure to investigate in such instances does not constitute an adverse employment action, ruled the court.