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In the beginning of the 2000s, as a result of the advance in technology, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) looked to Congress to pass legislation that would ensure protection of citizens' privacy rights. However, Congress thus far has been unable to pass comprehensive privacy protection legislation, leaving it instead to the states to pass their own such legislation in a piecemeal fashion ...

In the last edition of The Site Report, we discussed the legal issues surrounding the damage caused by Skanska's construction barges to the new Pensacola Bay Bridge ("Bridge") between Pensacola, Florida and Gulf Breeze, Florida during Hurricane Sally ...

The COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic era saw an increase in the number of employees working from home. For employers, this raises questions of liability for injuries that occur while employees are working from home. Specifically, when does workers’ compensation coverage or deliberate intent coverage apply? A New York appellate court recently discussed the applicability of workers’ compensation coverage in a work-from-home scenario. Matter of Capraro v. Matrix Absence Mgt ...

Recently, leading officials in the Biden administration have taken steps to prevent employers from sharing their lawful views on collective bargaining in order to aid union efforts to organize more employees. These actions range from encouraging employers to refrain from discussing unions with employees, to seeking to prohibit any discussion about unions with employees while they are working ...

On March 18, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act ("CROWN Act") of 2022. The purpose of this bill is to address the routine deprivation of educational and employment opportunities that people of color face for wearing their natural hair ...

Shortly after his administration began, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government." In April 2022, in accordance with this Executive Order, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released its "Equity Action Plan," which contains several items that may impact employers ...

The pandemic generated a migration of employees from metro-based offices to smaller, more affordable communities where they could work from home. New complexities – mostly centered around pay scale – have arisen with this shift to remote work. Many companies have struggled to find equitable ways to compensate employees, and some employers have decided to pay them less ...

How should an employer respond if an employee is experiencing relationship violence? What if the partner has threatened the employee at work? Employers must consider these situations because relationship violence in the workplace is more prevalent than it may seem ...

INTRODUCTION In a previous issue of Decoded, we discussed the alarming fact that many medical devices, including those implanted in patients' bodies, are leaving the manufacturers with known cybersecurity flaws. Due to these known flaws, these devices are vulnerable to being hacked, and patients’ personal/protected health information ("PHI") stolen; or worse, the device being held hostage in a ransomware attack ...

What follows is a cautionary tale for anyone involved who fails to follow a natural disaster preparedness plan. Taking short cuts and failing to follow agreed upon emergency preparedness plans are a recipe for disaster. While the litigation we analyze in this article stems from bridge construction in Florida, the lessons learned from this real situation are applicable all across the country ...

Companies may purchase third party technology from time to time. When acquiring patents from outside the company, or from related entities, there are important factors to be considered. Here are certain issues for buyers when preparing a patent acquisition agreement.    The buyer should first determine that all the record owners of the purchased Intellectual Property are party to the patent acquisition agreement. A particular patent may be assigned to a subsidiary of the seller ...

Businesses are increasingly relying upon the cloud computing infrastructure for hosting their websites, storing their data, and deploying artificial intelligence. Using a cloud computing service saves businesses the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, allowing them instead to purchase the services and storage that they need ...

With COVID-19, employers are receiving and processing an ever-increasing amount of their employees' confidential health information. From COVID-19 test results to vaccination status, many employers are routinely collecting medical information on their employees for compliance with internal or external rules and regulations ...

A patent has the attributes of intangible personal property - it can be sold or mortgaged; it may be bequeathed by a will; and it may pass to the heirs of a deceased patentee. The patent law provides for the transfer or sale of a patent, or of an application for patent, by an instrument in writing. An assignment is such an instrument and may transfer the entire interest or a partial interest in the patent ...

OSHA’s long-anticipated (as we have previously discussed) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard ("ETS") is out and, as promised, it will require companies with at least 100 employees – across all facilities – to either institute a vaccine mandate or compel unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly testing and workplace masking for at least the next six months ...

Some West Virginia businesses have implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees. While the West Virginia COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act (W. Va. Code § 55-19-1 through § 55-19-9) protects people, businesses, and entities from some COVID-19 related claims, the Act does not address whether employees who suffer an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine mandated by their employers may bring a workers' compensation claim ...

Over the last 18 months, nearly everyone has experienced increased stress as once simple decisions about day-to-day routines became more complicated, going to work and school became a potential health risk, and many families experienced financial hardship. Stress associated with the pandemic has exacerbated mental health impairments and other conditions triggered by stress and led people to seek professional help for their struggles ...

Consistent with a continued expansion of statutory rights under the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") confirmed her view that certain athletes at academic institutions are "statutory employees, who have the right to act collectively to improve their terms and conditions of employment ...

On Monday, November 1, 2021, CNBC reported the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") completed its review of OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard ("ETS") that will require larger employers to either adopt a policy for mandatory employee vaccinations or an alternative allowing weekly testing and masking for all unvaccinated employees. OMB approval of the ETS is the last step prior to finalizing the rule and its publication in the Federal Register ...

OSHA is considering rules to address heat injury and stress in the workplace. On October 27, 2021, OSHA filed an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("ANPRM") for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. The ANPRM includes 114 questions and seeks public input on heat-related issues that should be addressed in any standard, including possible controls or measures that might be considered to address heat-related injury and stress ...

The end of the year is both a busy and a celebratory time. As employers close out 2021 and look forward to 2022, here are five issues for employers to consider to prepare for success in the year ahead: 1. Holiday Bonuses - If you are considering a year-end payment to employees, make sure you know the tax and wage and hour rules and the difference between discretionary and nondiscretionary bonuses. A true holiday bonus is purely discretionary — meaning it is not tied to performance ...

Over the past couple decades, building codes have responded to disasters, rather than averting them. Resilience is now an essential design element needed to withstand our changing climate. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “the times, they are a-changin’.” Intensified and more frequent hurricanes on the East and Gulf Coasts, more devastating wildfires on the West Coast and more frequent, powerful tornados in the heartland ...

When a patent is issued under the seal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it is signed by the Director of the USPTO or an Office official. The patent contains a grant to the patentee, and a printed copy of the specification and drawing is annexed to the patent and forms a part of it ...

Two articles (Newsweek and Fierce Biotech) describe the new lawsuit by the Henrietta Lacks Estate surrounding the HeLa cell line. The claim is "unjust enrichment," a difficult claim to win, but one that seems to fit this case, if any does. If you don't know this story, I recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. It is the true story of an apparently wonderful woman, Ms ...

Under the patent statute, any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” subject to the conditions and requirements of the law. The word “process” is defined by law as a process, act, or method, and primarily includes industrial or technical processes. The term “machine” used in the statute is self-explanatory ...

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