On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) signed “ban the box” legislation, making New Jersey the 13th state to adopt such a law. The law bars any employer with more than 15 employees over 20 calendar weeks from making initial hiring decisions based on an applicant’s criminal record. The law becomes effective March 1, 2015 and provides for civil penalties of $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
What’s Making News?
After a spate of high-profile data security breaches, many legislators, businesses, and consumers are asking what can be done to prevent such security lapses and who should be held responsible. The increased attention to data security has led to a flurry of recent activity in state legislatures and in Washington.
One of the world’s most consumer protective spam laws recently went into effect in Canada on July 1, 2014, and many companies operating outside of Canada are learning that the law also impacts them because of how broadly it is drafted.
What Made News?
A group of merchants and restaurants, including Netflix Inc., California Pizza Kitchen Inc., and Ralph Lauren Corp., are fighting back in federal court against a Delaware lawsuit alleging that they have been withholding unclaimed gift card balances that are due to the state.
Background on the Case
Delaware law expressly includes gift cards in its abandoned property law. Under Delaware law, if a gift card has been abandoned or unclaimed for a period of five years, then the remaining balance must be turned over to the state if certain criteria are met. The unclaimed property must be turned over to Delaware if the unclaimed property is located in the state, if the owner who abandoned the property has a last known address in Delaware, or if the owner’s identity and last known address are unknown but the property is held by a business incorporated in Delaware.
Last week, Macy’s and Foot Locker became the latest retailers to be forced to defend allegations that they illegally collect personal information from California shoppers. In two separate suits filed on the same day by the same attorneys, the class plaintiffs allege that customers at the two stores were required to disclose personal information in order to complete purchases with their credit cards.
The complaints allege violations of California’s Song Beverly Act, which generally prohibits businesses from requesting or requiring consumers to provide personal identification information (PII) during a credit card transaction. The Act defines PII as including the cardholder’s address and telephone number. The law has spawned hundreds of lawsuits by class plaintiffs against retailers operating both brick-and-mortar and online stores in California.
The French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. (LVMH) recently settled its long-running court battle with eBay, Inc. over the online auction website’s alleged distribution of counterfeit luxury goods. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the two companies announced that they would collaborate in implementing measures aimed at protecting intellectual property rights and preventing the sale of counterfeit goods online. “Thanks to our joint efforts, consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment globally,” the companies said in a joint statement.
On July 22, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill (A08201) into law preventing employers from discriminating against unpaid interns on the bases of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, religion, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or status as a victim of domestic violence. The new law is effective immediately and amends the existing New York Human Rights Act (NYHRA). The measure follows on the heels of a similar law passed in New York City earlier this year.
Attention West Hollywood (WeHo) shoppers, new furs are no longer for sale in WeHo! A federal court recently dismissed constitutional challenges to the City of West Hollywood’s (WeHo) city-wide ban prohibiting the sale of fur products (Ordinance No. 11-877) brought by Mayfair House, Inc., a luxury retailer of clothing products including fur-lined parkas and shearling gloves and slippers. The controversial ban on fur went into effect last year and prohibits the sale, import, export, trade, or distribution of any fur product by any means anywhere within the City of West Hollywood on or after September 21, 2013 — subject to certain exemptions.
Earlier this month, Lacoste re-signed a deal to outfit the ATP World Tour staff at all pro tennis events through 2015, a partnership that is just one component of the high-end lifestyle brand’s strategic initiatives.
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