H1N1 Flu Concerns: Workplace Privacy and Employee Illnesses

In the wake of the H1N1 Flu outbreak (initially named “swine flu”), many employers will be asked to balance employee privacy rights with public and company health concerns. We have recently issued a client alert that offers a brief checklist of guidelines that may help balance the privacy interests of potentially infected workers and the health interests of co-workers and the public.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Labor and Employment Client Service Group and its Pandemic Preparedness Team on May 1, 2009.

H1N1 Virus: Employees in Mexico

In light of the current H1N1 virus outbreak events around the globe, the Mexico Practice of Bryan Cave has prepared a list of issues and recommendations to be taken into consideration by our firm’s clients and friends with employees in Mexico, so as to avoid any improper or unlawful employer conduct under Mexican labor laws.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Labor and Employment Client Service Group and its Pandemic Preparedness Team on May 4, 2009.

New Case Clarifies Copyright Protection for Handbooks, Manuals and Training Materials

Although the copyright term “literary works” tends to conjure images of Hemingway and Faulkner, most companies have a different — and often more valuable — set of “literary works”, including training manuals, employee handbooks, how-to booklets, customer pamphlets and the like. Some are in printed form; others are available at the company’s website. Indeed, some companies are in the business of creating such materials — and this spring, a hotly litigated dispute between two such companies has shed new light on the scope of protection for this special category of literary works.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Intellectual Property Client Service Group on April 30, 2009.

Deadline for Companies to Create “Red Flags” Identity Theft Prevention Program Extended from May 1, 2009 to August 1, 2009

On April 30, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it will delay enforcement of the new “Red Flags Rule” until August 1, 2009 in order to give businesses more time to develop and implement written identity theft programs.

Pursuant to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, businesses that are considered “financial institutions” or “creditors” must create a written program to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft. This applies not only to banks, savings and loans, and credit unions, but to finance companies, automobile dealers, utilities, telecommunications companies, and other businesses that defer payment for goods or services.

For additional information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Consumer Protection Client Service Group on May 1, 2009.

Caution Should be Exercised Before Adjusting the Hours (and/or Pay) of Exempt Employees

To carry themselves through the current economic downturn, employers continue to apply various cost-cutting measures to their workplaces. While layoffs have taken place in certain sectors, many employers have managed to avoid layoffs by implementing certain intermediate measures, such as reducing employees’ pay and/or reducing employees’ work hours.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Labor and Employment Client Service Group on April 28, 2009.

Required Notifications of Breaches of Unsecured PHI Under HIPAA

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the Stimulus Bill, made several changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). These requirements are of particular interest to group health plans. Among the changes, HIPAA now requires covered entities, including group health plans, to provide notification to individuals, the Department of Health and Human Services, and in some cases, media outlets, if unsecured health information has been breached.

For additional information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on April 28, 2009.

EPA Issues Proposed Positive Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases Emitted by Motor Vehicles: First Step Toward Climate Change Regulation Under the Clean Air Act

On April 24, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published in the Federal Register its “Proposed Endangerment and Cause of Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act”. In doing so, the EPA took its first step toward regulation of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

For additional information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Environmental Client Service Group on April 24, 2009.

New Personal Tax Accountability of Senior Accounting Officers of Large Companies

Sarbanes-Oxley may be coming to the United Kingdom. In the Budget on April 22, 2009, the UK Government announced that, in order to ensure that the accounting systems in operation within large companies liable to UK taxes and duties are adequate for the purposes of accurate tax reporting, legislation will be introduced to require appropriate monitoring and certification of accounting systems.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Tax Advice and Controversy Client Service Group on April 24, 2009.

New 50% Top Rate of Income Tax in the United Kingdom

In the Budget on April 22, 2009, the Government announced the introduction of a new top rate of income tax of 50%, on taxable income in excess of 150,000 pound sterling in a tax year. This change will take effect on April 6, 2010. The announcement represents both an acceleration and a toughening up of certain of the changes to income tax and social security contributions, which were first announced last November.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Tax Advice and Controversy Client Service Group on April 24, 2009.

Court Decision Highlights Risks of Dual Representation in Corporate Internal Investigations and Litigation

A recent California federal court decision highlighted the need for exercising great care when a corporation seeks to investigate itself and its executives and is also being sued by shareholders along with those executives. The case is United States of America v. Henry T. Nicholas, III and William J. Ruehle.

For more information, read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s White Collar Defense and Investigation and Securities Litigation and Enforcement Client Service Groups on April 22, 2009.