In order to develop a 'world-class anti-discrimination policy,' Airbnb recently hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. This move follows rather coincidentally after the company became tangled up in a lawsuit alleging discrimination by hosts against guests based on their sex or ethnicity.
Recently in Litigation Category
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.
Last week reports were coming out of tech news that Apple was being forced to stop selling iPhones in Beijing due to a pending patent violation claim by a Chinese smartphone company Shenzhen Baili. As it turns out, sales will continue, but we were struck by the role reversal. That's right: a Chinese company was suing a Western company for copying IP.
But it gets a little bit better than that. It turns out that the business community in China is equally adept at copying questionable Western business practices as it is at copying American trademarks. It's looking more and more like Shenzhen Baili is nothing more than a patent troll.
Federal agencies, that fourth branch of government, have been increasing regulation and enforcement actions in the past years, expanding readings of federal employment laws, targeting individual corporate officers, and even inching closer and closer to institutions once considered "too big to jail." And as government enforcement becomes increasingly robust, many old lessons are starting to change.
To help you stay on top of it all, here are our top pieces on recent government litigation and enforcement trends, from the FindLaw archives.
President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law last week, giving powerful new tools to companies looking to protect their trade secrets from misappropriations.
The act adds two major weapons to the corporate legal arsenal: a federal cause of action for trade secrets theft and a civil seizure mechanism that gives the act some serious bite. But it also places new requirements on employers. Here's what in-house counsel should know.
North Carolina has faced a significant backlash since it adopted House Bill 2, a law meant to force transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their birth gender, rather than the gender they identify with. PayPal cancelled plans to expand to Charlotte, Lionsgate and A+E have refused to film in the state, and last week, the Department of Justice warned that the law violated the civil rights of transgender people, which could cost North Carolina millions in federal funds.
Now, the North Carolina is back on the offensive. Governor Pat McCrory filed suit against the DOJ this morning, calling the DOJ's warning a "radical reinterpretation" of the law and asking for court's to declare it legally sound.
In case you haven't been reading the tabloids lately, Gawker, the Internet gossip site, is currently facing a $100 million lawsuit by Hulk Hogan, the 80's professional wrestling superstar.
Gawker, you see, posted an illicit video of Hogan having sex with a friend's wife, but the real shocker is how poorly Gawker's editors performed when deposed. Gawker's terrible showing is a helpful reminder to the rest of us: never cut corners when it comes to prepping high-level employees for litigation.
Last September, just as the Volkswagen emissions fraud was being revealed, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates declared that there would be significant changes to the way the Department of Justice handled corporate misdeeds. That memorandum, now known as the Yates Memo, made it clear that when corporations break the law, individuals will be held accountable.
Now, six months later, we're starting to see just how that might play out, and it could end up reducing corporate cooperation in enforcement actions.
For the first time ever, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed two lawsuits over sexual orientation discrimination.
Both suits are brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which does not explicitly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Rather, the suits rely on the EEOC's relatively new interpretation that Title VII's prohibition on sex-based discrimination also covers anti-LGBT bias.
Perhaps you've been following #FreeKesha on Twitter, or seen her recent contract dispute pop up in the tabloids. Kesha, the pop star, recently lost a minor legal battle in her suit against Lukasz Sebastian, the record producer known as "Dr. Luke."
But don't write off the dispute as something just for the tabloids. There are important lessons for in-house counsel in there, too, we swear.