Author Archives: Stacey Pitcher

Auditor Security Fraud: Negligence Not Enough Part II

For the second time in a few weeks, the Second Circuit dismissed a securities fraud claim targeting an independent auditor. In Special Situations Fund III QP, L.P.,, the Court was tasked with reviewing the trial court's dismissal of plaintiff’s second amended complaint. The underlying allegations were that the company disclosed that its former CEO and other executives had committed fraud for years by misstating its financials and embezzling funds. Plaintiff alleged that the company’s independent auditor committed securities fraud by issuing a “clean audit opinion” of the company. Ultimately, the Appellate Court upheld the dismissal on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to properly plead the requisite element of scienter.

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Wrongfully Reviewed?  Risks of Performance Review Process

Performance reviews are a necessary step in the path to ensuring a team of productive employees. However, as illustrated by a series of recent lawsuits filed by Yahoo employees against the internet giant, performance reviews are not without risks to the employers who administer them. In one such suit, an employee alleges that he and approximately 600 other Yahoo employees were unfairly fired based upon an allegedly unfair performance evaluation system, and were terminated without the notice required by federal and state laws, including the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

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Religious Objectors: Employer’s Duty to Make Religious Accommodations

Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis was recently jailed due to her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. In other news, a flight attendant refused to serve alcohol due to her religious beliefs. The public reaction to both situations was intense and the debate well-publicized. These events also highlight a new wave of confusion regarding the requirements facing employers with respect to religious accommodations. The answer for employers can differ widely depending upon the industry, jurisdiction, legislation and the specific interpretation of the laws at issue. Some states have enacted so-called religious freedom statutes and thus religious objectors have significant protections. Read on for tips to employers.

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Virginia News Tragedy: Prevention & Readiness for Workplace Violence

Reportedly, more than 1,700,000 workers are injured annually as a result of workplace violence. We were recently reminded that disgruntled employees can be deadly. On August 26th, Vester Lee Flanagan, II murdered two of his former colleagues during a live news segment before taking his own life. This tragedy provides an opportune backdrop for employers to reassess preventative measures in place and disaster readiness in order to minimize the likelihood and impact of violence in the workplace.

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Is Obesity a Disability?

A case currently pending before the Eighth Circuit will address whether ADA protections should extend to obese workers. With more than 2/3 of the US adult population considered overweight, recognition of obesity as a disability under the ADA - defined as physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities - will result in accommodations and protections in unprecedented numbers.

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