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U.S. Congressional Legislation: Trespassing

- A bill (H.R. 347) that strengthens penalties for trespassing on certain federal properties has been approved by the House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Legal Report

- Courts issue rulings on discrimination, the release of sensitive data, and protected speech while Congress considers bills on trespassing, airport screening, and terrorism.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Employment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee who was terminated for taking seven weeks of unapproved leave may not sue her employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The court ruled that the employee’s spiritual healing trip was not protected under the statute because it was actually a vacation.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Privacy

- The Illinois Court of Appeals has ruled that a public school and a printing company had no duty to safeguard the personal information of school employees and complied with data breach laws. In the case, the school contracted with the printing company to send a notice to former school employees. The employees were erroneously sent a list containing the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, marital status, medical and dental insurers, and insurance plan information for all of the employees. The school sent a letter to the employees asking them to return the list or destroy it. The school also offered the employees one year of credit protection. The employees sued, but the court dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the school and printing company were not guilty of negligence because they had no legal duty to protect the information except under data breach laws, which they complied with.

State Legislation: Washington: Bullying

- Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill (H.B. 1928) that would make it illegal for companies to subject employees to an “abusive work environment,” defined as a workplace where abuse is so severe as to cause physical or psychological harm to an employee. The bill provides a defense for employers. It states that a company must prove that it took reasonable care to correct the abusive conduct and that the employee failed to take advantage of the corrective measures offered by the company. Companies also have a defense if the bullying allegation is based on a legitimate, negative employment decision, such as a demotion or termination, or if the allegation is in response to a company’s investigation of potentially illegal or unethical activity.

State Legislation: Kansas: Discrimination

- A new bill (S.B. 53) introduced in Kansas would expand state discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination by employers based on sexual orientation. Currently, employees are only protected from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and disability.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Aviation Security

- A bill (H.R. 685) introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) would make it illegal to record or distribute images obtained from security screening technology used in an airport or government building. Exceptions would be made for images being used in a criminal investigation or prosecution.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Corporate Crime

- A bill (H.R. 323) introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) would require that the government keep statistics on all administrative, civil, and criminal judicial proceedings against companies and company officials that involve fines of $1,000 or more. The government would make information on improper conduct by companies with revenues of more than $1 billion available to the public via a Web site.

U.S. Congressional Legislation: CFATS

- A House of Representatives subcommittee recently held a hearing to discuss the government’s Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. Under CFATS, chemical facilities work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a security program based on a facility’s risk level. The program, which was established in 2007, will expire at the end of this year. Lawmakers asked witnesses to give their opinions of the program and to address whether it should be made permanent.

Legal Report

- A company's media policy is overbroad, and a police officer is not liable for a recordkeeping error, according to the courts. Lawmakers consider chemical facility security, corporate crime, and airport screening.

Industry News

- An ASIS council holds a meeting on public-private partnerships, the CSO Roundtable hosts its Latin American Summit, two lucky Security Management readers win an iPad, and Anthony N. Byers, CPP, is profiled.  

State Legislation: Michigan: Background Checks

- A bill (S.B. 15) introduced in Michigan would prohibit certain convicted felons from being employed by the state. Under the bill, the state could not hire anyone who had been convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of public trust in the previous 20 years to any position in which the employee would set policy or have discretionary authority over public assets.

State Legislation: California: School Safety

- A new bill (A.B. 13) introduced in the California Assembly would expand prohibitions against sex offenders working in state schools. Under existing law, public schools may not employ anyone convicted of a sex crime or controlled substance offense unless the conviction is reversed or the charges are dismissed. The new bill would clarify that these provisions also apply to charter schools. The bill would also prohibit anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime, controlled substance offense, or violent crime from working as a volunteer in schools.
 




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