During the coronavirus outbreak, many employers around the world are seeking to prioritise the wellbeing and safety of their employees by asking them to work remotely instead of risking exposure while commuting and working in populated office spaces. Organisations must consider increased risks to the security of their networks, systems and data during this time.
The US courts of appeals increasingly agree on how to interpret the definition of 'automatic telephone dialling system' under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. A unanimous Seventh Circuit panel recently refused to revise a putative class action after concluding that the dialling system used did not qualify as an autodialer. Like recent Eleventh Circuit and Third Circuit decisions, the Seventh Circuit held that an autodialer must use a random or sequential number generator to either store or produce numbers.
A recent action by the National Advertising Division (NAD), a self-regulatory arm of the Better Business Bureau, illustrates that advertisers that participate but decline to be bound by an NAD decision can expect to be referred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The NAD recently announced that it had referred advertising claims made by a dietary supplement company to the FTC for further review, following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
The Eleventh Circuit panel recently released a landmark ruling in Glasser v Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC. The key issue was how to interpret ambiguous language in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act's (TCPA's) definition of an 'automatic telephone dialling system'. In recent years, imprecise statutory phrasing and the Federal Communication Commission's liberal reading of the legislative history has empowered plaintiffs to assert TCPA claims based on a wide array of calling systems.
Two recent cases highlight the increased False Claims Act risk that cybersecurity compliance poses for government contractors. The first is a cautionary tale for contractors that self-certify that their IT systems provide adequate security for sensitive federal information which they store, process or transmit in performance of a federal contract. The second signals the importance of accurately representing compliance with federal cybersecurity standards when selling IT products or services to the government.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a new guidance memorandum entitled "Evaluating a Business Organisation's Inability to Pay a Criminal Fine or Criminal Monetary Penalty". This memorandum aims to provide greater clarity, transparency and uniformity as to how the DOJ's Criminal Division evaluates companies' claims that they cannot pay a proposed criminal fine or monetary penalty.
A court has expressed concern with the government's "routine outsourcing" of investigations to the targets of those investigations seeking cooperation credit. The court noted the corporate target's "uniquely coercive position" over its employees, who may also be potential targets of the investigation. The decision may profoundly affect the structure and scope of cooperation agreements between the government and the corporate targets of criminal investigations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently confirmed the importance of implementing a robust compliance programme that is not only well designed, but also adaptable and able to function effectively. The DOJ's latest guidance makes clear that companies have a strong incentive to maintain an effective compliance programme. Most importantly, these programmes must be fully implemented, account for the structure and scope of a company's business and actually operate effectively.
Throughout 2018 the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued to ring the clarion call for cooperation and sought to provide some certainty, consistency and coordination regarding the incentives offered to companies that provide voluntary disclosures. In particular, the DOJ centralised its guidance memoranda into what is now known as the Justice Manual. The DOJ's goals were to identify redundancies, clarify ambiguities, eliminate surplus language and update the manual to reflect current law and practice.
Government attorneys now have additional discretion in False Claims Act civil cases to award cooperation credit to a corporation that meaningfully assists the investigation without necessarily identifying every individual person outside of senior management involved in the alleged misconduct. The new policy reflects the reality of modern corporate investigations and encourages realistic cooperation efforts without compromising the Department of Justice's policy of holding individuals accountable.