Week In Review

July 18, 2016

Court Upholds Conviction of Ex-Employee for Conspiring to Access Company Data through "Shared" Password

A federal appellate court has upheld the conviction of a former employee who conspired to use the login credentials of a current employee to access his former employer’s confidential database. Focusing on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s prohibition on accessing a computer or network "without authorization", the court held that "once authorization to access a computer has been affirmatively revoked, the user cannot sidestep the statute by going through the back door and accessing the computer through a third party."

Home Health Provider Fined $98,000 for Failing to Protect Employee from Workplace Violence

The sexual assault of a home health care worker has resulted in a willful citation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) against a company for failure to protect its employees properly from the dangers of workplace violence. OSHA opened an investigation following a complaint from an employee who reportedly was sexually assaulted by a home care client after the company had been warned by another employee of sexual assaults. OSHA said it had received numerous reports of verbal, physical, and sexual assaults on employees, as well as a report of an employee forced to work in a house in which domestic violence occurred. OSHA cited the company for one willful violation related to employee exposure to workplace violence, including physical and sexual assault. OSHA inspectors found the company exposed employees to the risks of physical assaults and had no system for reporting threats or incidents of violence. OSHA fined the company $98,000 for the hazards.

New Colorado Law Grants Employees Access to Personnel Files

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed legislation requiring employers to permit current employees to inspect their personnel files and obtain a copy of any part of their personnel files at least once per year; former employees are permitted one inspection of their personnel file after termination. The legislation does not apply to banks, trust companies, savings institutions, credit unions, or other financial institutions chartered and supervised under state or federal law. The legislation is effective January 1, 2017.