Why It's Wise to Pay Attention to Your FCPA Compliance

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Companies in the automotive industry would be wise to pay attention to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) compliance. What has in the past been a risk management issue principally for massive multi-national corporations is now a real and serious risk for almost any company – large, medium or small; public or private – that sells products, manufactures or otherwise operates overseas. Continue reading this entry

Automotive Industry Beware: Increased Attention to Workplace Harassment and Wellness Programs by the EEOC Coming in the New Year

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers

Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing all employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs. Continue reading this entry

The Auto Industry: The Next “Big” Target for Hackers?

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Given the exponential rise in security breaches and hacking activity in past few years and the almost constant headlines in the press of yet another major security breach, information security should be a front burner issue for every business. While the auto industry has, for the most part, avoided being a primary target for hackers in the past, having only faced research demonstrating “possible” attacks, that is likely to change in the near future. There are four reasons for that change: Continue reading this entry

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: A Pitfall in International Trade

Department of Energy Makes it Easier to Access Low-Interest Financing

Just as in 2014, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) should be top of mind for any automotive company conducting or considering international business. Indeed, any doubts that the government was still interested in investigating and prosecuting companies and individuals for violations of the FCPA, were put to rest in 2014. This is so because government enforcement authorities disclosed two enforcement actions in 2014 that resulted in two of the top 10 fines ever paid for violations of the FCPA. Don’t just take our word for it. “This is a wake-up call for small and medium-size businesses that want to enter into high-risk markets and expand their international sales,” said the chief of the Security & Exchange Commission’s FCPA enforcement group after settling an FCPA case. Continue reading this entry

Employee Handbook Mistakes Can Come Back to Bite Employers in the Automobile Industry

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Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language, statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to automobile industry employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee handbooks can come back to bite them later.

A federal appellate court recently determined that statements in an employee handbook may have given an employee the right to sue his employer under the FMLA even though he was ineligible for FMLA protections. The employee handbook stated that “Employees covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act are full-time employees who have worked for the [Employer] and accumulated 1,250 work hours in the previous 12 months.” The problem? The policy did not say anything about the additional requirement that there be at least 50 employees at or within 75 miles of the employee’s workplace – another key component for employees to satisfy to become covered under the FMLA. Continue reading this entry