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Uber Executive Quits Amidst Racial Discrimination Probe

Liane Hornsey, head of human resources at Uber, abruptly quit following an investigation about how she handled racial discrimination claims there.

According to reports, Hornsey dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against whistleblowers at the company. Reuters, which broke the story, said it "raises questions about Uber's ability to reform its culture and change some of its toxic behaviours."

Although Uber cleaned house after widespread sexual harassment claims last year, it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel for the ride-sharing company.

For general counsel, when lawsuits get filed by and/or against subsidiaries, it's usually no laughing matter. However, when subsidiaries of the same parent corporation sue each other, it's easy to see how a GC might just step back and have a little chuckle.

And while this is a rare occurrence, it is not that uncommon for companies that have the same shareholders to find themselves at odds in the courtroom. Recently, Epic Games, makers of the popular game Fortnite were sued by PUBG Corp., makers of the popular game PlayerUnknown Battleground, in a Korean court. Not surprisingly the case was dismissed with neither company saying much of anything about it.

Though most in house and general counsel hate to admit it, there is a really simple way for any company to get ahead of bad legal press: settle early and confidentially as soon as that first pre-litigation demand letter arrives. Legally, that might not be the best move, but corporations have more to worry about than just what's the best legal move.

As recently displayed by Politico, the media thirsts for sensational legal news and will even present an internal legal hold as some sort of proverbial nail in the they-must've-done-something-wrong-coffin. However, as any litigation attorney knows, a litigation hold is nothing really to write home about, though when a company receives a demand letter, or just a demand for the preservation of evidence, sending out the type of notice Politico reported on is par for the course.

As we enter summertime, general counsel may want to consider requiring a bit of annual preventative maintenance (or confirming that it has been done) to avoid exposure and annoying headaches.

Yes, technically, whoever is in charge of facilities should have already done so, but making sure that your employees have a climate controlled environment, in some places, is absolutely critical, before summertime is fully underway. And, while that facilities manager might try to give you some line about how you don't need a professional to come out an inspect your AC system every year, they don't know the waste of time you'll be faced with if an employee files an OSHA complaint, or worse, someone passes out cause the AC breaks during a heatwave.

Below are a few reasons why you should always make sure your office's AC is in tip-top shape before the summer heatwaves hit.

Whistleblower 101 and Other Lessons for Corporate Counsel

Edward Siedle is a voice in the whistleblower wilderness, only louder because he toots his own horn.

In his biographical sketch, he portrays himself as having the largest SEC whistleblower award in history. Seidle makes a case for teaching whistleblower justice in law schools. If it doesn't take there, perhaps corporate counsel can learn from the school of Seidle.

New In-House Lawyer Task: Vetting Tweets

In-house counsel nationwide may want to start adding "tweet vetter" to their resumes.

It's not just a task. In the Twitter President era, it's a responsibility that in-house counsel have to take seriously.

To tweet or not to tweet; that is the first question in the legal analysis. The second question is, how to tweet?

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 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.