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Safety

- The New York high court has ruled that an employer who has provided adequate safety devices cannot be sued by an employee who failed to make use of these devices. (Cahill v. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, New York Court of Appeals, No. 174, 2004)

Legal Reporter

- Case law on workers' compensation and drug testing; congress considers bills on cybercrime, gangs, and infant abduction; and new security laws in Michigan and Ohio.

Vicarious Liability

- A landlord is responsible for injuries incurred by a third party doing work on his property. In this case, a landlord authorized the tenant to prune the branches on a tree in his yard. A limb fell on the tenant’s daughter causing severe internal injuries. The court found that the landlord is liable for the daughter’s injuries because he should have taken more care in choosing his contractor.

Arkansas: Background Screening

- A bill (H.B. 1012) that would have allowed certain employers access to expunged criminal records has been defeated in the Arkansas General Assembly. The bill would have allowed companies to access the expunged criminal records of employees and volunteers having direct, unsupervised contact with children. The checks would have been repeated every two years.

Discrimination

- A bill (H.R. 2015) introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by employers, employment agencies, or labor organizations. The bill would not be applicable to religious groups or the armed forces. If passed, the bill would not preempt or alter existing state laws on the issue.

Guards

- A bill (H.R. 3068) introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) would prohibit a company owned, controlled, or operated by anyone convicted of a felony from providing contract security guard services for federal government buildings.

Fire Safety

- Two bills (S. 1615 and H.R. 2882) introduced by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), respectively, currently pending in Congress would require that all nursing homes install automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Religious Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a pharmacy did not discriminate against a pharmacist when it required him to refer patients and doctors requesting contraceptives to another pharmacist. The court ruled that the pharmacy had already accommodated the employee and that further accommodation would constitute an undue hardship.

Travel Time

- A construction company does not need to compensate workers for the time they spend traveling to a secure site and going through security screening at the site because these activities are not an integral or indispensable part of the work activities, ruled a federal appeals court.

Trade Secrets

- A real estate worker who took a list of renters with her when she left her company did not violate trade secret law, says a state supreme court, because the renter list was a matter of public record.

Data Protection

- Bank customers cannot sue a bank for future damages that might occur due to lax data security, ruled a federal appeals court, because they had not yet suffered any damages.

Human Rights Law

- Read the complaint from an international rights law firm, suing Chiquita Brands International, Inc., for paying nearly $2 million to paramilitaries to murder and intimidate individuals in Colombia’s banana growing region.

Computer searches

- After being arrested for possession of child pornography and actively soliciting minors via e-mail, Jack Mni Leck filed a lawsuit claiming that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights by searching a computer he had used. Because the computer Leck used was owned by a nonprofit organization for which Leck volunteered, and because the owner of the computer consented to a police search, the court found that Leck had no legal standing to contest the search. (State of Washington v. Jack Mni Leck, Washington Court of Appeals, No. 30714-6-II, 2004)
 




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