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Fourth Amendment

- The strip search of a middle school student violated her Fourth Amendment right that protects against unreasonable search and seizure, ruled the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the school’s zero tolerance policy for drugs on campus did not justify the search.

Ruling Against Fraud Alert Companies

- A recent court ruling dealing a blow to fraud-alert companies leaves consumers in the dark.

Homeowner Arrest A Sorry Sight

- Having a position of power doesn't mean never having to say you're sorry.

Watchdog Investigates Civil Rights Complaints in Federal Prisons, Most from Muslims

- The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General handle dinvestigations into seven alleged of civil rights violations in federal prisons during the first half of the year, six of them involving Muslim inmates, according to a new report.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: National Security Letters

- A bill (H.R. 1800) introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) would amend the Patriot Act to curtail the subpoena power provided to law enforcement via National Security Letters (NSLs). Currently, NSLs are issued in secrecy and do not require court approval. Under the Patriot Act, those who are issued NSLs are prevented by law from discussing them.

Discrimination

- An employee who was denied a promotion because of her family obligations can pursue a sex discrimination claim against her employer. In the case, a mother of four who had worked for the company for nine years and had positive performance reviews was told that she would not be given a promotion because she was likely “overwhelmed” at home.

Privacy

- A federal appeals court has ruled that to recover compensatory damages under a law protecting stored electronic communications, plaintiffs must prove that they suffered actual harm. In the case, the court ruled that a plaintiff whose employer accessed her private e-mail account cannot recover compensatory damages even though the employer violated the law.

LAFD Whistleblowers Claim Retaliation

- Two top commanders within the Los Angeles Fire Department's arson and counterterrorism unit are suing the city for retaliation after they went to their superiors with information that investigations were not being properly carried out, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Preventing Squatting in Britain

- A real estate bust has led to increased squatting in the United Kingdom, but the private sector is offering innovative solutions.

Retaliatory Discharge

- An employee who was fired after she complained that her manager was illegally discriminating against job applicants may not sue her employer for retaliatory discharge. Though the employee did engage in a protected activity, the court determined that she was fired by an upper-level supervisor for misuse of the company’s computer system. The court found that the supervisor had no knowledge of the employee’s complaints and that the timing was coincidental. (Lakeside-Scott v. Multnomah County, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 05-35896, 2009)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discrimination

- In an agreement with the EEOC, YRC Inc. will take steps to enhance diversity to end an investigation into sexual discrimination in its hiring practices. Without admitting wrongdoing, the trucking company agreed to improve its work environment for women and minorities, provide new diversity training for managers, enhance recruiting of women and minorities, and develop new programs to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Employment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that the City of Chicago did not violate the rights of two officers deployed overseas with the U.S. Armed Forces when it asked them to travel to take a test for possible advancement with the police. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, workers who are serving in the military may not be denied any benefit of employment because of their service. The officers argued that because they had to travel from their places of deployment to take the advancement test, their coworkers based in Chicago had an unfair advantage. The court ruled that the police department did not violate the law because the opportunity to take the test, not the location or circumstances, was the benefit of employment. (Sandoval v. City of Chicago, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No. 08-2699, 2009)

Negligent Hiring

- In a California decision, an appeals court has ruled that a company cannot be held responsible for the actions of a former employee. In the case, a man who became romantically involved with a client shot and killed her two years after he was fired from his job.
 




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