In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Full disclosure: I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan. So it was with constant, uninterrupted joy that I watched Monday's molly-whopping of the New England Patriots by my hometown team.

Uninterrupted, at least, until a wee little mistake by the referees in the fourth quarter. After the Chiefs' Husain Abdullah snagged an interception and ran it for a touchdown, he immediately slid to the ground and prayed to Allah. A yellow penalty flag flew, giving the Patriots 15 yards on the ensuing possession. The subsequent touchdown made no difference -- the final score was 41-14 -- but it was worrisome that a player was penalized for praying on both knees (as Muslims do) while Christian players often drop to a knee in prayer without penalty.

However, the National Football League did the right thing and rescinded the call Tuesday morning, the closest thing to an apology a player will get from the league.

Let's talk dress codes. Obviously, your company can't have a dress code requiring women to wear super-revealing clothes; this isn't Sterling Cooper Draper Price. But dress code discrimination in 2014 takes a different form, by presuming what men and women will wear and dividing them up accordingly or failing to take into account transgender employees or employees of a different religion.

What are the limitations of an employee dress code?

By now, you've probably heard the "tin foil" theories about Yelp: The site, which has a filter for spam, allegedly filters out positive reviews until you become a paid customer, after which, they'll boost your positive reviews.

It's all allegations for now, and the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that even if it were all true, it wouldn't amount to extortion under California law. Your best bet, if you have negative Yelp reviews, is to respond with professionalism and niceties.

Or, you could just embrace the suck and tank your Yelp reviews, aiming for a one-star review.

The FTC is here to drink milk and kick butt -- and it just finished its milk. Operation Full Disclosure is an FTC initiative designed to encourage truth in advertising. According to a press release, the FTC sent warning letters to 60 advertisers regarding factual claims and disclaimers in TV and print ads.

Weight loss ads were targeted for not noting that the results embodied in testimonials weren't typical. Ads claiming a "free trial" of a product didn't say that the consumer had to pay for shipping. And so on.

Most states have no employment protection for transgender discrimination; that is, an employee can be fired or not hired merely for being transgender. Last year, the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Employment Non-Discrimination Act's protections to gender identity or sexual orientation; the House hasn't acted yet.

Nevertheless, is transgender employment discrimination a thing? And can it subject your company to liability?

You've probably heard of "Call of Duty." It's one of the biggest video game series, in terms of sales, of all time. In "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," real-life dictator-turned-prisoner Manuel Noriega makes an appearance as ... a dictator.

Turns out Noriega (the real one, not the video-game character) is mad and is suing over the use of his likeness. Activision, the company behind the game, is trying to get the case tossed and has enlisted a very interesting choice of counsel to help: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The NFL has announced that it will train league staff on recognizing and preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. The news comes after, well, a whole lot of players were allegedly involved in domestic violence: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and Jonathan Dwyer all received suspensions while investigations are pending.

More importantly, the news comes after sponsors pulled their deals when the league failed to act initially.

No matter what the true motivation was, the program is a good move for the league, which in the past, has been criticized for ignoring the problem. Should other companies follow suit?

A recent survey finds that 10 percent of U.S. workers have gone to work while high on marijuana.

In addition, 3 percent of respondents say they've gone to work under the influence of a drug other than marijuana, and 28 percent under the influence of a prescription drug, according to the Mashable/SurveyMonkey survey of 534 Americans.

While these self-reported figures aren't authoritative, they should give you pause. Does your company have a drug policy? What does it cover? And, importantly, does it comport with state laws?

Is this deja vu, or deja deja deja vu?

Back in April, Senate Republicans rejected the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014. At the time, The Washington Post noted that it was the third attempt in recent years to pass the wage equality legislation. But hey, maybe the fourth time would be a charm?

No. Not at all. This time, according to The Hill, Wednesday's vote was 52-40, short of the 60-vote procedural hurdle needed to advance. The vote seems like more of a political move than an actual attempt to pass legislation -- it's not like a handful of senators swapped party affiliation since the 53-44 vote in the spring, after all. But more importantly, for businesses, this should cause more than a few GCs to utter a sigh of relief.

Attorneys for BP, the multinational energy company, were called out this week for sneakily reducing the line spacing in a court filing. What can lawyers learn from this incident?

As if it weren't enough for BP to recklessly operate the Deepwater Horizon, sending millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing millions in economic damage to the Gulf Coast, killing some people, and incurring billions in fines, they had to go and pull a junior high trick.

Here's what happened: