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Legal Report

- Courts examine investigative techniques used by security officers and a landowner’s responsibility for a contractor’s injuries. Plus, campus safety, cargo security, and disaster management are topics of proposed federal legislation.


- A bill (S.B. 25) under consideration by the Colorado Senate would prohibit sexual orientation and gender discrimination in hiring decisions.

Legal Report

- A landlord may be liable for negligent security, says an Illinois appeals court. Plus, congressional legislation on chemical weapons and tax credits for security expenses related to agricultural chemicals.

Noncompete Agreements

- A new appellate case strengthens the trend of preemptively suing to break a noncompete agreement. William Manuel worked for an Ohio company. He resigned, promising not to work for a competitor, but he had already accepted such a job in Georgia. He then filed a preemptive lawsuit in Georgia, which has laws more favorable to employees in such cases. The Georgia court ruled that the noncompete agreement was unenforceable. A federal appeals court ruled that the Georgia court's decision would stand because the first lawsuit filed in such a case establishes the venue. (Manuel v. Convergys Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, No. 04-16032, 2005)

Video monitoring

- A new Wyoming law (formerly S.B. 129) makes it a felony to intentionally and surreptitiously record images of people in an enclosed area where they have an expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom, shower, or dressing room.

Drug testing

- In South Carolina, employees become ineligible for unemployment benefits if fired for failing a drug test. A new state law (formerly A.B. 50) requires an employer to prove that it followed certain procedures before firing an employee for failing a drug test. If the company cannot offer such proof, the employee will not be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

Tax credits

- A bill (S. 2052) introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) would provide a security-related tax credit for businesses that sell agricultural chemicals or manufacture, formulate, or distribute certain pesticides. The tax credit would be for 30 percent of the costs for protecting those chemicals and would expire in 2010. S. 2052 has three cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Chemical weapons

- The House Homeland Security Committee has approved a bill (H.R. 3197) that would regulate the purchase of ammonium nitrate. The provision must now be taken up by the House of Representatives.

Premises liability

- An Illinois appellate court has ruled that a tenant who was raped outside her apartment may sue her landlord for inadequate security.

Americans with Disabilities Act

- A federal court has determined that a man who has filed more than 400 lawsuits against companies for violating the American’s with Disabilities Act is a vexatious litigant and will not be allowed to file further claims. The man, who is handicapped, visited businesses—some of them hundreds of miles from his home—and then claimed to have been injured by doorways that were too small. (Molski v. Mandarin Touch Restaurant, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. CV 040450 ER, 2007)

Workplace Violence

- A federal appeals court has refused to overrule a union grievance board’s decision to reinstate a pilot after he was fired after violating workplace violence rules. The court noted that the pilot’s actions, shooting a gun at a DVD containing a union agreement and then distributing a video of the shooting, was a political statement, not an act of violence. (NetJets Aviation, Inc., v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, No. 063851, 2007)

Drug Testing

- The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill (H.B. 6297) that would allow employers to conduct random drug tests on certain employees. Under the bill, tests could be required of those in aviation, public safety, and homeland security positions.


- A bill (S.B. 1035) under consideration in the Oregon Senate would outlaw workplace bullying. Under the bill, bullying includes derogatory remarks, insults, threatening physical contact, and gratuitous sabotage or undermining an employee’s work performance.

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