An internal investigation is a formal inquiry conducted by an organization to determine whether external laws or regulations or internal policies have been violated and to allow either discipline of wrongdoers and/or changes to internal compliance policies. An internal investigation can also allow an organization to respond to inquiries from law enforcement and regulators, improve internal procedures and respond to public inquiries and manage reputational risk. Below are some areas of law to be mindful of when determining whether to conduct an internal investigation, and if so, how to proceed while avoiding common mistakes.
In an increasingly regulated environment, businesses and nonprofits often get inquiries — formal and informal — from government agencies at the municipal, state and federal level. Sometimes the issues raised by the government are quickly resolved with a letter or meeting and sometimes they evolve into a full blown, white collar, investigation that can divert time, resources and attention away from other business matters. It is important to have attorneys who can determine whether your organization is in compliance with all relevant rules and regulations, and manage formal investigations when they cannot be avoided.
In an increasingly regulated environment, businesses and nonprofits often get inquiries — formal and informal — from government agencies at the municipal, state and federal level. To manage their risk, it is important for businesses to stay up to date with their industry’s rules and regulations. Additionally, it is incumbent upon businesses to have a robust compliance program which includes regulatory updates and training.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) applies to all schools – public and private – that receive federal funding. Once a school receives federal funding, its existence as a private or independent school does not exempt it from Title IX’s requirements except in certain specific ways, discussed below.
There are a number of laws that regulate how employers must treat salaried employees, including laws related to paid overtime for working more than forty hours a week. Federal, State and City government all have a variety of legal and regulatory schemes that offer employees protection, and it is important that both employers and employees understand these interlocking laws.
New York’s Adult Survivors Act (ASA), is a landmark law that created a lookback period allowing the adult victims of sexual assault and abuse, whose claims were time barred, to pursue those claims in court.
Who Can be Held Accountable Under the Adult Survivors Act?
The perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse against people over 18 years old that would otherwise have been time barred can be held liable under the ASA. Importantly, in many instances, so can institutions that negligently allowed the abuse to occur under their watch. It is important to consider all of the potential defendants when drafting a suit under the ASA.
On May 1, 2023, the attorneys for Bill Cosby filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Adult Survivors Act. Last week, on July 5, 2023, the survivors who filed the lawsuit against Cosby responded. We discuss both the motion and the response below, concluding that the survivors’ response is more powerful and likely correct – the ASA is constitutional.
In a highly regulated environment, businesses and nonprofits are increasingly receiving inquiries from government agencies at the municipal, state and federal level. Sometimes these inquiries are quickly resolved with a letter or meeting. Other times, they evolve into full blown, white collar, investigations that can divert time, resources and attention away from other business matters. In either situation, it is imperative to have lawyers with experience in government and government regulation interacting with the agency in question. These lawyers can help navigate the process and provide insightful guidance to their clients.
Understanding the Investigative Process
The investigative process is a series of activities or steps that include gathering evidence, analyzing information, and developing and validating theories of potential misconduct. No two investigations are exactly the same, but some general common steps do exist. These include:
Government agencies regulate many facets of business and nonprofit life. Failing to comply with these agencies’ rules and regulations can have dire consequences including fines and penalties, as well as being prevented from future participation in government programs.
A regulatory attorney can help keep your company or nonprofit in compliance with all relevant rules and regulations. If your company fails to comply, a regulatory attorney can help you take corrective action, and negotiate with the government to prevent excessive fines and penalties from being imposed.
In the current business environment, the way in which companies and their boards of directors investigate potential misconduct can affect that company’s reputation almost as much as the alleged conduct itself. Moreover, without understanding the full scope of the misconduct it is impossible to reckon with the issues that occurred, create a compliance program and prevent future problems.
Below are a number of issues that organizations should consider when determining whether to undertake an internal investigation. Continue Reading
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination that violates federal, State and local law in New York. Employers are required to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and, if sexual harassment is reported, to take immediate action to address the situation. Moreover, an employee who reports sexual harassment is legally protected against retaliation from her, his or their employer. Continue Reading
According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) the leading advocacy group in this area, 26-percent of female college students and almost 7-percent of male college students will suffer some form of sexual assault during their undergraduate years. Many of these students, however, will never report the assault to the authorities.
The decision to report the assault, either to law enforcement or college officials, is a serious and highly personal one. What follows is some information concerning what constitutes an assault and what college officials are required to do if the assault is reported to them. Continue Reading
There are more than 100,000 charities operating in New York State and they range in size and mission quite dramatically. They are mostly, in one way or another, governed by New York State’s lengthy and detailed Not for Profit Corporation Law. They are also regulated by the New York State Attorney General and must register with and make annual filings to the AG.
It is important for charities, their senior staffs, and their boards of directors to be familiar with these rules and registration requirements. Even charities that are otherwise well run and faithful to their charitable mission can get caught up by a failure to register or otherwise follow these rules with drastic negative consequences.
Some of the most important of these rules are below.
In the current business environment, the way in which companies investigate potential misconduct can affect that company’s reputation almost as much as the alleged conduct itself. Moreover, without understanding the full scope of the misconduct it is impossible to reckon with the issues that occurred, create a compliance program and prevent future problems.
Below are a number of issues that you should consider before undertaking an internal investigation.
As the workplace becomes more complicated and there is an increase in workplace related litigation, having an up to date and thorough employee handbook becomes increasingly important. A well drafted employee handbook can introduce employees to the corporate culture, mission and values; set expectations; increase compliance with federal and state laws; and help defend against employee claims.
The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), if enacted, would be a landmark law that would create a lookback period allowing the adult victims of sexual assault and abuse, whose claims are now time barred, to pursue those claims in court.
In February 2019, New York State passed a “lookback window,” the Child Victims Act (CVA), extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York.
How do law enforcement agencies request information?
There are multiple ways that a state attorney general, U.S. Attorney’s Office or other law enforcement agency can request information: a simple letter request; a civil subpoena; or a grand jury subpoena. The method chosen is a first clue as to the investigation’s status