In House

In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Earlier this week, as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the EEOC held a "live Twitter chat" where members of the public could ask questions about disabilities and employment that would be answered on Twitter by EEOC Chair Jenny Yang and Commissioner Chai Feldblum.

So what did we learn from this event? Here are a few takeaways:

"The company is a joke. You sent me a one-armed security guard."

The complaint, from a community association that had hired Florida Commercial Security Services to provide it with a security guard, led to the removal of Alberto Tarud-Saieh from an $8-an-hour security guard position. (Tarud-Saieh lost his right arm in a car accident.) The company failed to reassign him to another post, effectively terminating his employment.

His former employer is now learning a very important lesson, courtesy of a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The customer isn't always right.

Does this sound like a weird incentive to you?

A company has an issue with people not turning in their timesheets on time. Its response? Build a custom "kegerator" that dispenses beer when an employee, whose timesheet has been submitted, swipes his or her keycard.

Out here, in Silicon Valley, free keg beer at work isn't that usual -- startups offer all sorts of weird incentives to keep employees glued to their desks. Alas, here at FindLaw, we only have coffee. But should we (or you) offer such an incentive?

Last year, we blogged about the new "fast track" (Track One Prioritized Examination) system for patent applications. The idea is simple: Pay more upfront, do less work, and get your patent faster.

By many accounts, the new fast track was definitely faster than older expedited methods (an average of 184 days from filing to allowance), and was cheaper too -- research published on the Patently-O blog said that despite the higher upfront cost, fast-tracked patents would actually save money in the long run.

Who's hopped on to the fast-track train since then? No surprise that it's a tech company -- namely, Google.

It seems like every month we wake up to another story about some giant company getting hacked -- or worse, negligently storing user data out in the open where anyone can get to it.

In the wake of data privacy breach after data privacy breach, the FCC is finally doing something other than worrying about Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. On Friday, the FCC proposed a fine of $10 million against TerraCom and YourTel America for data privacy breaches.

How does this affect general counsel?

The U.S. Department of Labor has settled allegations that a Silicon Valley company, Electronics for Imaging, paid temp workers from India as little as $1.21 an hour to install networking infrastructure at its new headquarters in Fremont, California.

EFI, which makes digital printing software and hardware, apparently flew network technicians from Bangalore, India, to the San Francisco Bay Area in late 2013, working them as many as 122 hours a week and paying them in Indian rupees.

We covered the train wreck that was the launch of Battlefield 4 by gaming company Electronic Arts last year: Despite loads of hype and a ton of pre-release awards at the E3 industry tradeshow, the game's release was an unmitigated disaster. Servers crashed, the game was plagued with glitches, online play was nearly unplayable. The issues weren't sorted out for months, other projects were delayed as a result, and sales across the board suffered.

A lawsuit was unsurprising, but the issue wasn't the glitchy game (at least not directly). Instead, stockholders sued over the company's allegedly misleading statements, claiming that EA defrauded investors while insiders sold off their shares of company stock. Unfortunately for the current plaintiffs, their case was as inadequate as Battlefield 4 was.

However, it's not game over yet: An amended complaint could revive some of the claims.

Robert Half Legal is known for a lot of things, including an interesting survey on what lawyers think about our declining wardrobe standards. (Hint: Stuffy lawyers want to dress like they're stuffy.) But this survey might be even more interesting, at least for in-house counselors: It talks about compensation forecasts for 2015.

The Robert Half Legal 2015 Salary Guide was just released earlier this month (H/T to Bloomberg) and it has nothing but good news all around. Here's the key finding: Robert Half projects that salaries for in-house positions will increase in 2015 for attorneys at all sizes of companies and of all experience levels. Everybody's getting paid!

National Flex Day: It has (nearly) nothing to do with fitness.

What is National Flex Day? It's a day meant to encourage employers to recognize and consider flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting, flex time (instead of 9-to-5, employees choose their own start and end times), or compressed work weeks (more hours per day, but fewer days).

Why is flex important? And why should your company encourage it?

When the story of the guy who was fired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after complaining about his Comcast service first broke, his finger-pointing at the cable company sounded to me like insane rambling paranoia. It might be, but not only has Conal O'Rourke provided a lot of documentation to the media to back his claims, but he's now filed suit against Comcast.

True or false, we may know soon: The conversations seem to have been recorded, reports Ars Technica, and while Comcast is keeping them under wraps because of the ongoing litigation, this should be a fun case to watch.