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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.

Bullying

- 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.

Identity Theft

- A bill (S. 495) designed to prevent identity theft has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now be taken up by the full Senate.

Terrorism

- A bill (H.R. 1) that will implement the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 Commission has been passed by Congress and was expected to be signed into law by the President at press time.  

Legal Issues

- A court rules that a business owner should have increased security because of gangs on his property. Plus, legislation on identity theft, aviation security, and discrimination.

Workplace Violence

- The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who was fired for joking about workplace violence is not entitled to unemployment benefits. Such benefits can be denied under state law if a worker was fired for misconduct. The employee, who had worked at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel for 22 years, was fired after she jokingly placed her hands around a coworker’s neck. (Medeiros v. Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Hawaii Supreme Court, No. 24318, 2005)

Negligent Misrepresentation

- A New Jersey court has ruled that an employer who chooses to give references on former employees can be held liable for misleading or incomplete information given on those references. In the case, Marsha Singer was fired after her previous employer lied about her job title, calling her a customer service representative when she was actually vice president of operations. (Singer v. Beach Trading, Superior Court of New Jersey, No. A-1617-04T5, 2005)

Sex Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a woman suing her former employer for sex and pregnancy discrimination may pursue her claim even though the company replaced her with another female employee. The employee, ruled the court, need not show that she was replaced by a male employee to establish a case of sex discrimination, previously a requirement under case law. (Miles v. Dell, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, No. 04-2500, 2005)
 




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