News and Articles

Legal Update - April 2017 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on: (1) challenges to digital arbitration agreements; (2) a payroll scam alert; and (3) the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.

Digital Arbitration Agreements

When two parties enter into a contract, they may decide to agree to arbitrate, rather than litigate their claims. Parties do this because arbitration can be faster, cheaper, and private. While this practice has long-been commonplace, it is a somewhat recent phenomenon that companies have been seeking to insert arbitration clauses into contracts with their customers on digital platforms (websites). However, in addition to precluding an aggrieved customers access to the courts, an arbitration agreement can also seek to require that each customer bring his or her complaint individually, thereby eliminating the possibility of a class action suit. Because of these potential consequences and nature of consumer agreements, the majority of which are non-negotiable and go unread by the customer, advocates are now asking courts to place limits on arbitration language when it comes to consumer contracts. In one recent decision, a Federal District Court in New York sided with consumer advocates in finding that the arbitration language contained in Uber's customer agreement was unenforceable. The judge reasoned that because the arbitration clause was not readily apparent within the agreement and was not separately agreed to, that customers presumably were not aware of the rights they were waiving. Uber has now appealed to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit.
In light of this decision, employers are cautioned to consider the design of their digital platforms, especially if the agreements relate to consumers and contain arbitration clauses.

Payroll Scam Alert

Employers should be on the lookout for an email scam in which hackers, posing as executives, send messages to payroll and HR professionals requesting personal information about employees. The emails can appear to be quite legitimate and are fooling employers into divulging the social security numbers, birth dates, full names, addresses, and W-2 Forms of employees. The information is then used to file fraudulent tax returns and collect refunds. If your company receives any emails requesting W-2 Forms and other personally identifiable information, do not transmit any such data without first confirming verbally with the requestor. If you do fall victim to one of these W-2 phishing scams, you should contact both the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the IRS so that they can identify suspect filings and implement additional measures to prevent paying out improper refunds.

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 ("DTSA")

In May 2016, Congress enacted DTSA, which functionally expands the scope of federal intellectual property law. The DTSA provides for a private cause of action in Federal court by an owner of a trade secret that is misappropriated, provided that the trade secret is related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce. Under the DTSA, an owner of a trade secret can recover actual damages suffered by the plaintiff, unjust enrichment by wrongdoer, punitive damages and attorney fees. Punitive damages and attorney fees are only available to employers who are trade secret owners who assert a cause of action under the DTSA if they provide notice of immunity for whistleblowers that is also available under the Act to their employees. Furthermore, an action under DTSA can only be maintained if the owner of the trade secret took measures to protect the information they deem to be trade secrets from disclosure in the first place.

In light of this, employers are advised to update their polices and procedures to include reference to the DTSA whistleblower protections available in order to recover punitive damages and attorney fees and to take necessary measures to identify and protect their trade secrets to the extent they have not already.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.


Recent Posts


Tags

Intellectual Property employment discrimination lawsuits Trademark licensing Attracting Investment Security Employment Law New York City Human Rights Law Business Law Criminal Record Immigration Status Westchester Safe and Sick Time Laws Employer Mandate Hairstyle Discrimination stocks Department of Labor Ban the Box Internet Law Alter-Ego Doctrine Sexual Harassment policy New Address Sexual Harassment Firm Announcements AirBnB Credit Checks Federal Overtime Law Employment Contracts Fair Play to Pay Act Tax-Deferred Savings Employee Salary Histories National Labor Relations Act Fair Workweek Law Divorce Non-Qualified Stock Options Business Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Right to Unionize Marijuana Testing Wage Theft Protection Act Illegal rentals Interns as Employees Newsletter Selling Business Facebook Privacy and Litigation Human Rights Law Freelance Isn't Free Executive Negotiation Postnup Payroll Scams National Labor Relations Board Overtime Rules Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. Browning-Ferris Case marijuana usage Interview Series I-9 Verification entrepreneur Executive Severance Womens Rights commuter benefits Transgender protections Real Estate Law New York Earned Sick Time Act Affordable Care Act ACA Salary History Inquiries Employment Offer/Agreement NY payroll law Sexual Harassment and Discrimination In The Workplace Plastic Bag Ban Minimum wage Start-up Ventures Privacy Credit Paid Family Leave Unions Worker's Rights Overtime Exemptions workplace discrimination Trade Secrets graduate students Credit History Independent Contractor Trademark Law Corporate Law Federal Contractors Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Housing Law Web Domains $15 Minimum Wage NYC Human Right's Law's NQSO Interns Mandatory Class Action Waivers Nanny Audit Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order Health Care Public-Sector Union Fees sexual harassment training Lactation Law Fair Labor Standards Act Joint-Employer Relationship Westchester County implementing new leave laws NYC Salary History Law Prenup Negotiating Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council Nobel Prize Workplace Requirements LinkedIn Wage and Hour Law Arbitration Agreements Domain Name Unionization Fair Work Week Legislation Apple vs. FBI Household Employees Technology #meToo drug testing Trade Secrets Act NYC Sexual harrassment law Landlord-Tenant Law EEOC Filing Requirement Fair Chance Act NLRB U.S. Department of Labor federal Department of Labor Pregnancy

Archive

EDIT - blog-container - This controls the styles for the headings

EDIT - BlogTagCloud - Font style

description

  • EDIT  - post-body - Font style

EDIT - side-panel - This is the colour of the sidebar headings

Snap | BC Module - Blog - Blog Description

Snap | BC Module - Blog - Blog Title

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Date - This is the date box style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Post Content - Font style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Post Title - Heading style

EDIT  - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Sidebar Content - Font style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Sidebar Title - Heading style

latest blog title snap text

 

Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is or should be construed as legal advice.
An attorney-client relationship does not exist with our firm unless a signed
retainer agreement is executed, and we do not offer legal advice through
this site or any of the content located on it. For legal advice for your
particular circumstances, please contact us directly.