INFORMATION

Site Map - Legal Issues

Corporate liability

- (Cariglia v. Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, No. 02-2199, 2004)

First Amendment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employer who fired a worker for making false sexual harassment claims against his supervisor cannot be held liable for violating that employee's First Amendment rights. The court ruled that the internal investigation into the plaintiff's actions was sound and proved that the plaintiff had attempted to enlist other employees to backup the sexual harassment story. Also, the plaintiff's actions were legitimate grounds for dismissal. (Johnson v. State of Louisiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, No. 03-30087, 2004)

Nuclear security

- Two identical bills (H.R. 4212 and S. 2310) introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), respectively, would establish a task force on nuclear material removal within the Department of Energy.

Aviation security

- Several bills currently under consideration in Congress are aimed at enhancing aviation security programs. One bill (H.R. 3959) introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) would authorize the Homeland Security Department to provide air marshal training to law enforcement personnel from foreign countries. The bill has no cosponsors and has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Companion bills (H.R. 4126 and S. 2268) introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-NY), respectively, would alter the federal flight deck officer program--allowing pilots to carry firearms on commercial flights. The measure would add mental health standards and firearms training to the list of eligibility requirements. The bill would also prohibit the disclosure of information relating to a pilot's participation in the program and provide an appeal process for pilots who have been determined ineligible for the program.

Cargo security

- The Coast Guard authorization bill (H.R. 2443) has been approved by the House of Representatives and has been approved in a different form by the Senate. In a conference committee, which is designed to hash out differences in the two versions, lawmakers rejected a controversial provision that would have required Coast Guard representatives to review the security plans of all foreign vessels entering U.S. waters. (Under current law, the Coast Guard is required to review the security plans of domestic vessels.) At a hearing before the bill was passed, Coast Guard Commandant Thomas H. Collins contended that the agency does not have the money or personnel to complete the task, which would have required reviewing plans for more than 10,000 foreign vessels.

Concealed weapons.

- A bill (H.R. 218) that would exempt off-duty and retired law enforcement personnel from compliance with concealed-weapons laws has been approved by both houses of Congress.

OSHA

- One bill (H.R. 2728) introduced by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) would allow businesses extra time to reply to OSHA citations. Under current law, businesses have 15 days to respond. However, H.R. 2728 would allow OSHA to grant exceptions to this deadline in cases where the employer failed to comply due to "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect." Another bill (H.R. 2731) also introduced by Norwood would allow small businesses--those with fewer than 100 employees and a net worth of less than $7 million--to seek reimbursement of attorney's fees if they successfully contest an OSHA citation. Such fees could be collected from the government even if the citation was "substantially justified."

Mass transit security.

- In a recent hearing held before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways, Transit, and Pipelines, witnesses detailed the security measures taken since 9-11 and urged lawmakers to approve additional funding for new security plans.

Security officers

- Johnson v. LaRabida Children's Hospital, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, No. 03-2339, 2004.

Retaliation

- Estate of Michael Harris v. Papa John's Pizza and P. J. Iowa, LC, Supreme Court of Iowa, No. 43/01-0201, 2004

Jurisdiction

-  A federal appeals court has ruled that a copyright infringement case based on a document that was created in France can be heard in the United States. The fact that the work was imported into the United States and was hosted on a U.S. Web site provided sufficient grounds for jurisdiction. (Palmer v. Braun, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, No. 03-13963, 2004)

Vicarious Liability

- Kerl v. Dennis Rasmussen, Inc., Supreme Court of Wisconsin, No. 02-1273, 2004

Unions

- (IBM Corporation, 314 NLRB No. 148, 2004)
 




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