|November 11, 2008|
Schiff Hardin Labor and Employment Alert
The Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") has published its Supplemental Final Rule regarding Social Security no-match letters. The Supplemental Final Rule did not change any part of the Final Rule issued by the DHS on August 15, 2007. (see Schiff Hardin Labor and Employment Update, August 17, 2007), but does provide additional background for and analysis of the Final Rule. DHS has indicated that this additional material was intended to address issues raised by the California district court judge who issued an injunction against the Social Security Administration ("SSA") on August 30, 2007 restraining the SSA from sending out Social Security no-match letters (see Schiff Hardin Labor and Employment Update, September 7, 2007). In the meantime, the SSA has announced that it will not issue its 2007 no-match letters until the California litigation has been resolved.
* * * *
Illinois Employers Have Obligation to Report Child Pornography Discovered on Their Systems
In recent weeks, the Illinois legislature amended the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to require that employers and their information technology (IT) staff report any child pornography that they discover to local law enforcement agencies or to the Cyber Tipline at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The amendment covers all "electronic and information technology workers" who are broadly defined as any "person who in the course and scope of his or her employment or business installs, repairs or otherwise services electronic and information technology equipment for a fee." Employees and contractors of certain telecommunications-related entities and commercial mobile radio service providers are explicitly excluded from the amendment's requirements.
The law covers child pornography discovered on any "equipment used in the creation, manipulation, storage, transmission of data, including internet and intranet systems, software applications, operating systems, video and multimedia, telecommunications productions, kiosks, information transaction machines, copiers, printers, desktop and portable computers."
If an IT worker discovers child pornography while he or she is installing, repairing or otherwise servicing electronic and information technology equipment, he or she must report this discovery immediately. If the worker fails to report the discovery, the business for whom he or she works is subject to a fine of $1001. Notably, the amendment provides protection from criminal, civil or administrative liability for any worker and/or his or her employer for reporting the discovery, unless the report was the result of "willful or wanton misconduct."
In order minimize the risk of liability from this law, employers should train their managers, IT department workers and other employees about these reporting requirements and establish a policy and procedure for reporting such a discovery both internally and externally. This way, an employer will not only insure that the report is properly and expeditiously made to the appropriate agencies, but it can also prevent any further damage that might be caused by, or related to, the child pornography itself or the perception that the employer condones or permits the use of its equipment for such purposes.
RECENT LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT PUBLICATIONS
A Minute of News and Views: Exit Interviews and Severance Agreements (October 8, 2008)
ABOUT SCHIFF HARDIN LLP
Schiff Hardin LLP represents management in labor matters and employment-related litigation, and provides counsel to employers with respect to all legal aspects of employer-employee relations.
Our firm's labor law practice encompasses both the private sector and the public sector for large and small employers in a broad range of markets and industries.
Our Labor and Employment Group works cooperatively with attorneys in our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group to provide our clients with comprehensive assistance in every aspect of the employer-employee relationship.
For more information, please feel free to contact us.