In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Should Employers Restrict Political Speech at Work?

Are you for Hillary or Trump?

Yeesh, let's step back from that minefield for a moment and consider what it could do for company morale -- and stability. Many companies can be lax about what conduct should and should not be restricted within a workplace environment, including political speech. We all invariably start talking about politics at work, even if we know better. But should we? And more importantly, should employers watch their lax policies? The solution is probably the easiest compromise in the world.

Legal Considerations With Corporate Wellness Programs

Imagine you are in-house counsel for a large company and its executives have come to you for advice on the current corporate employee rage: wellness programs. What do you tell them? How do you best counsel your client?

Wellness programs are a relatively new craze as far as corporate perks are concerned, but some of the laws that control are old and settled. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

The Department of Justice is planning on filing an antitrust lawsuit to halt two massive healthcare mergers, Bloomberg reports. The move could halt Aetna's $37 billion merger with Humana and Anthem's $48 billion takeover of Cigna.

If the deals go through, they would reduce the largest health insurance companies from five competitors to three, leading to concerns over stifled competition and harm to consumers. If the DOJ successfully blocks the deals, it could signal a further shift away from the merger mania that's spread throughout large corporate firms in recent years.

It took jurors less than an hour of deliberations to find Michael Coscia guilty of illegal "spoofing" and commodities fraud last November. Coscia was the first person convicted under the Dodd-Frank Act's anti-spoofing laws, for making $1.4 million off a bait-and-switch scheme.

His prosecution was widely watched and the ease the jury had in convicting him was taken as a sign of greater prosecutions to come. Last week, a little over eight months since his conviction, Coscia was sentenced to three years in federal prison and two years of supervised release.

In early April, the Treasury Department and IRS released new proposed regulations under Section 385 of the Internal Revenue Code. They have been called “sweeping” and “dramatic” by tax experts and partners at major firms across the board — terms not usually associated with IRS regs. And they come as a bit of a surprise, having only been hinted to in earlier Treasury rule-making notices.

The new Section 385 regulations are so broad that they “fundamentally redefine the extent to which an intercompany instrument will constitute debt, irrespective of whether that group is inverted and who in the group issues it,” as Kevin M. Cunningham, managing director of KMPG in the International group, explains in a new Special Report for Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. (Disclosure: Thomson Reuters is FindLaw’s parent company.) Here’s what in-house counsel need to know.

Social media can be a great way for a company to expand its reach and build consumer loyalty. REI's Instagram photos of kayaks and mountains have garnered a following of more than 1 million. Coca-Cola has nearly 100 million likes on Facebook. That's more followers than the population of Germany. And General Electric (yes, that General Electric, the one with the dishwashers and refrigerators) has been named one of the best brands on Snapchat.

So, social media has its benefits. But, of course, it also has its drawbacks, including potential legal liabilities. Here's what they are and how you can avoid them.

A disability discrimination lawsuit can be a major blow to any company, not just because they can be expensive to defend against, but because they can also tarnish an employer's reputation. Yet, disability discrimination claims are common, and growing. In 2015, disability discrimination made up 30 percent of EEOC bias charges, the third most common charge and an increase of six percent from the previous year.

But disability discrimination claims can be avoided. To help you out, here are our top tips for preventing workplace disability discrimination, from the FindLaw archives.

Google Hires First GC for Self-Driving Car Biz

Perhaps sensing blood in the water because of Tesla's driverless car legal troubles, Google Alphabet's self-driving car arm has named its first general counsel -- just in time for increased scrutiny by U.S. regulators over autonomous driving vehicle technology.

Google has said publicly that there is no current timetable for releasing self-driving cars to the public. And after the recent unwelcome attention to the sector, we can understand the cautionary language.

Tesla Investigated by SEC for Possible Securities Laws Violations

Not that there's ever a convenient time for someone to die in a car crash, but the recent fatality associated with Tesla's Autopilot feature that killed Joshua Brown was decidedly timed badly for the electric car company. Now Tesla is being investigated by the SEC amidst allegations that it breached securities laws in connection with that crash.

On top of being a phenomenally bad crash for the company, it could potentially cast a long and dark shadow over the technology for a while yet.

Running a massive corporation is a stressful thing. And sometimes, that stress can push executives to substance abuse. Imagine, for example, you're an executive at an American fast food chain specializing in build-it-yourself burritos, a chain that just can't seem to stop selling E. coli- and norovirus-contaminated wraps. Would anyone really be all that shocked if you turned to blow to get through the hump?

That may be what happened to Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's chief creative and development executive, who was leading the fast food chain's post-health scandal rebranding -- until he was arrested for repeatedly buying cocaine from a New York delivery service.