Site Map - Legal Issues

State Legislation: Massachusetts: Identity Theft

- New regulations implemented in Massachusetts require that companies encrypt documents sent over the Internet or saved on laptops or flash drives. Data transmitted wirelessly must also be protected and firewalls must be up to date. Companies were required to meet most of the regulations last month but the deadline for some items has been extended. For example, all data stored on laptops must be encrypted now but the requirement to encrypt data on other portable devices has been delayed until January 1, 2010.

Online Privacy

- The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider the final appeal from the federal government over the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. The law made it illegal to distribute any material deemed harmful to minors via the Internet. A federal appeals court recently ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it made all Internet service providers liable under the most conservative community’s standards. The appellate court decision now stands.

Legal Report

- Two recent appellate court rulings offer differing opinions on whether employers can restrict firearms on company property, plus legislation on privacy, border security, retail theft, and emergency management.

Confessions Corrupting Witnesses

- Eyewitness misidentification is the number one cause of wrongful criminal prosecutions, accounting for 75 percent of the prisoners exonerated due to DNA evidence.

Legal Report

- A school board's drug testing policy is judged unconstitutional, and an employee who destroyed company data but was acquitted cannot sue his employer for malicious prosecution. Congress considers bills on state secrets, copper theft, and food safety.


- An employee who sued her employer under California’s fair employment law was treated fairly and given reasonable accommodations, according to a state appellate court. The employee had appealed a jury verdict in favor of her employer. In the case, the employee claimed that the company took too long to respond to her requests. The court rejected the argument, noting that the accommodation process is informal and that it was obviously a success because the company was able to meet each of the employee’s requests. (Wilson v. County of Orange, California Court of Appeal, No. G039733, 2009)

Employee Monitoring

- A federal appeals court has denied a motion to rehear an employee monitoring case. The action means that a prior ruling—that a police department violated the privacy rights of its officers when it obtained transcripts of their text messages—stands. (See the October 2008 issue of “Legal Report” for a more detailed account of the case.) The court ruled that because officers had been told that their messages would not be read, the city had no right to access them without the permission of the officers. (Quon v. Arch Wireless, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 07-55282, 2009)

Malicious Prosecution

- An employee who erased computer data and was later arrested for the crime cannot pursue his claim of malicious prosecution against his former employers. A federal appeals court ruled that the employee could not prove that the company acted without probable cause in turning the case over to the police. (Deng v. Sears, Roebuck, and Company, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No. 07-3331)

Eyewitness Testimony

- Would knowledge of a confession influence your memory of a crime you witnessed? Researchers say it could. See the research online.

Legal Report

- A woman who was fired after giving evidence against a coworker in a sexual harassment case may sue her employer. Also, Congress considers bills on privacy, firearms, and cell-phone use in prisons.


- 128 Number of DHS Safety Act certifications issued from 2004 through February to limit security vendors’ liability.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Privacy

- A bill (S. 141) introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would make it illegal to display, sell, or purchase Social Security numbers without the consent of the owner. Under the bill, the government would no longer be allowed to print Social Security numbers on checks, and businesses could not require customers to provide Social Security numbers when purchasing goods or services.


- A woman who was fired after giving negative information about a coworker during an internal investigation can pursue a sexual harassment retaliation claim against her employer, according to a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Beyond Print

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