In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


IBM Under Scrutiny for Age Bias in Layoffs

IBM, one of the largest employers in the world, is paying closer attention to its layoffs these days.

With more than 380,000 workers worldwide, it was already a touchy issue when the company announced 10,000 layoffs in January. But in the spotlight of a new report, it looks like IBM systematically laid off 20,000 older Americans in recent years.

While the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into IBM's numbers, corporate attorneys might want to double-check their own.

How Millennials Are Changing C-Suite Leadership

Millennials -- those who reach adulthood in the early 21st Century -- are in position to become America's next leaders.

In less than two years, they will make up the largest demographic in the workplace. Most Baby Boomers will have retired or otherwise expired.

So how will Millennials lead corporate America? And will they change how leadership has worked in the past?

In what some might call a turning of the table, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has filed a lawsuit to stop the Karfunkel family, which has a controlling interest in AmTrust, from taking the insurer private.

Icahn's lawsuit alleges that the Karfunkel family is seeking to transfer "huge amounts of value" through a share purchase at a time when the insurer is poised to recover from its recent setbacks. On Icahn's own website, he explains that the deal price the Karfunkel family proposed is less than half of what the share price was about a year ago. The way Icahn sees it, particularly with him owning nearly 10 percent, this just isn't fair (to him and other "minority" shareholders).

CSR: Is Doing Good a License for Workers to Do Bad?

Human behavior can be harder to understand than corporate behavior, and that can be a problem for companies trying to do good.

Those are observations from a University of Chicago economist who is noted for his field experiments in economics. John List recently discussed on a podcast his experiments on corporate social responsibility.

On the internet radio program, he said that workers who took jobs with a good company surprisingly did some bad things. They cheated.

Lessons for Corporate Counsel From TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade won a case claiming it broke securities laws, but it was one of those victories a company doesn't usually advertise.

That's because the federal appeals court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds. The factual allegations -- that the company got kickbacks to the detriment of customers -- are part of the permanent record.

Maybe court files and the internet aren't forever, but it sure feels like it when your business reputation or value goes down. Here are some lessons corporate counsel can learn from Zola v. TD Ameritrade.

DISH Network may soon be paying out a rather large judgment, again, stemming from unwanted robocalls placed nearly a decade ago. Once one consumer filed a lawsuit in 2014 after receiving the robocalls despite being on the Do Not Call Registry, the matter quickly took off as a consumer class action.

Now after several years of litigation and a jury trial, a final judgment has been issued to the tune of $61 million. Individual class members may qualify for significant cash payments, as damages can be assessed at $1,200 per call. However, as expected, DISH Network has filed an appeal, which will delay, or possible upend, satisfaction of the judgment. Notably though, potential class members need to file a claim by next month. Fortunately, there is a website that allows individuals to enter their phone number(s) to see if they qualify.

In our connected times, both serious news and gossip travel at the speed of social media. When tragedy or scandal strikes a company, if that company isn't prepared to manage its reputation, there could be severe consequences. Think Steve Wynn and the $2 billion bad day.

And though a company can't predict if or when it will face the wrath of scorned social media users, it can certainly be prepared to take action. Below, you can find three tips to help GCs handle corporate reputational risks.

When a C-Suite Sues, What's a GC to Do?

It was the worst of times. Period.

That's because it's hard to talk about the best of times when your executive officer has a legal issue with the company. It's really a problem when the C-Suite complains to the company attorney.

And if they sue, it only gets worse. That's when general counsel has to put down the easy reading and look at the hard rules.

AT&T Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

AT&T may need to change one of its plans -- the one that deals with employee pregnancy.

According to a proposed class-action, one of the company's subsidiaries discriminates against pregnant workers. Two class plaintiffs allege that they were fired under a plan that doesn't account for pregnancy-related leave.

Their attorneys claim that the plan "punishes women for being pregnant." AT&T says it does "not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

What to Do When the Company Has a Credibility Problem

For successful relationships, it's a basic rule that trust is paramount.

If you don't trust your partner, basically you have a weak relationship. It's true in personal and business relationships, too.

So what do you do when your company has a credibility problem with customers? Here's how some big businesses are dealing with it.