Site Map - Legal Issues

Medical-Record Privacy

- An employer acted improperly, ruled a federal appeals court, when it fired a woman for refusing to sign a medical release form about her mental health.

Harmful Horseplay

- An employee may pursue a negligence claim against his coworker after an incident of horseplay left him physically and psychologically injured, ruled the Delaware Supreme Court.


- A single comment about a worker’s accent is enough to allow the worker to proceed with a discrimination claim, ruled a federal appeals court.

Religious Discrimination

- An employee who was fired for refusing to attend spiritual and meditation sessions fashioned after Buddhist and Hindu belief systems may pursue his religious discrimination lawsuit against his company, ruled a federal appeals court.

Surveillance Legislation Expected

- A bill to overhall the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has reportedly been drafted by the chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

Legal Report

- Must bar owners intervene in an attack on a patron? A California court decides. Also, Congress addresses transit security, OSHA, and other topics.

House Passes Bill Subjecting Private Security Contractors to U.S. Law

- Companies like Blackwater USA could be subject to U.S. law. White House objects.

Border Security

- The Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, signed into law (P.L. 109-90) by President Bush in October, contains $940 million for border security initiatives, including 1,500 new border patrol agents and expanded detention capacity.


- A bill (H.R. 3165) introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX) would hold companies criminally liable for the deaths of contract employees that result from willful violations of safety standards set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. H.R. 3165 has 12 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

First responders

- Two Senate bills have been introduced to address communication issues that arose in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. One bill (S. 1554), introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), would establish a grant program to improve overall communications equipment for first responders. Collins, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said that “This bill takes an important step toward improving emergency communications nationwide so no community experiences the communications failure we saw in parts of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.” The bill has one cosponsor—ranking minority member on the committee Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)—and has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Another bill (S. 1762), introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), would also establish a grant program. However, it would be designed to establish an interoperable communications system for first responders.

Confidentiality Agreements

- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that a company’s confidentiality agreements violated federal labor laws because they prohibited employees from discussing their wages and conditions of employment with one another.


- A Washington appeals court has ruled that Steven White can proceed with his invasion of privacy lawsuit against his employer, a municipality. White, who was a town marshal, claims that when his boss revealed to a local newspaper that White suffered from epilepsy, the town illegally disclosed his private information. The town argues that since White suffered a seizure in public, the information was no longer private.

Premises liability

- A California appeals court has ruled that the owners of a bar had a duty to intervene in an attack on a patron. In the case, the court ruled that bouncers at a bar who anticipated an assault did not attempt to keep the parties separated, resulting in the injury of a patron and liability for the bar.

Beyond Print

SM Online

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