INFORMATION

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Background screening

- Gene Moran was hired as a paralegal in a law firm. However, in conducting a background check after he began work, the company learned that Moran had several felony convictions. The company requested Moran's resignation. Moran asked for the records the company used to make its decision, citing the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRA). The company mailed the information a day after receiving the request. Moran filed a lawsuit claiming that the firm violated the ICRA by not providing him with the information before it made its decision. A state appeals court found in favor of the firm, ruling that it had acted in good faith and had provided the information to Moran in a reasonable amount of time. (Moran v. Murtaugh, Miller, Meyer & Nelson, California Court of Appeal, No. G033706, 2005).

Weapons

- The Illinois House Human Services Committee has approved a bill (H.B. 1098) that would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or possession of .50 caliber sniper rifles in the state. The bill, which is awaiting a vote in the full House, is designed to prevent a terrorist from using the rifle to shoot down a civilian aircraft during takeoff or landing. Violating the law would be a felony under the new measure.

Firearms

- A bill (H.B. 896) currently under consideration in the Texas Legislature would make it illegal for employers to ban firearms from their parking areas. Employers could not establish, maintain, or enforce any policy or rule that constitutes such a ban. The provision would allow employees who have a concealed-weapons permit to bring the guns to the workplace so long as they are kept in a locked vehicle. ASIS International has announced its opposition to such legislation, noting that employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace and that bills such as H.B. 896 make accomplishing this impossible.

Cargo security

- A bill (S. 376) introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would require that the government develop a system to increase the number of shipping containers physically inspected, monitored, and tracked within the United States. The bill would require that at least 50 percent of all ocean-borne shipping containers be inspected by 2007.

Privacy

- Two bills (H.R. 1069 and H.R. 1263), introduced by Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) respectively, would require that data collection organizations notify consumers when their personal information has been compromised.

Port security

- The 2006 U.S. Government budget (H. Con. Res. 95) proposed by the Bush administration does not include funding for the port security grant program. The program, which has distributed $565 million since its inception in 2002, would be replaced by the Targeted Infrastructure Protection program. The new program would offer a total of $600 million in grants. Under the Targeted Infrastructure Protection program, ports would compete with other transit systems, railroads, and buses for funding. The Coast Guard, along with container security initiatives and trade partnership programs, would, however, see an increase in funding from 2005. @ Details of the budget, which had passed both houses at press time and awaited the President’s signaure, are available at SM Online.

Electronic Records Management

- To reduce liability, companies must know how to manage electronic records and how to respond to electronic discovery requests.

Private Security and the Law, Third Edition

- Charles Nemeth has released the third edition of his highly acclaimed Private Security and the Law. For years, it has proved to be an indispensable guide to civil and criminal liability stemming from acts or omissions committed by the security function. This newest edition updates the principles with new case law.

Seaport security

- A bill (S. 378)introduced by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) that would create several new seaport security crimes has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been accepted for consideration in the Senate.

Surveillance powers

- The House Judiciary Committee has held several hearings on the expanded police powers included in the Patriot Act, which will be expiring at the end of this year. The first (S. 318), introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), would amend and make permanent the expiring computer trespass provision of the Patriot Act. Another bill (S. 737), introduced by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), would limit the use of the surveillance powers more so than is the case currently in the Patriot Act.

Information security

- A bill (S. 500) introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would regulate information brokers and would allow individuals to bring civil lawsuits against companies that fail to protect consumer data. A companion bill (H.R. 1080) has been introduced in the House by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA). The House version has 13 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Energy Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

Workers' compensation

- The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that an employee who was assaulted in a parking lot shared by her employer and other businesses can recover workers’ compensation benefits. (Zoucha v. Touch of Class Lounge, Supreme Court of Nebraska, No. S-03-971, 2005)

Legal Report

- Court cases on background screening and workers’ compensation, and bills on surveillance powers and cargo security.
 




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