Cuomo Cannot Escape Legal Action Even After Resignation

Posted by Andrew Rogers.

Even though he stepped down from office, ex-Govenor Andrew Cuomo still faces legal problems that could cost the public millions. The state has agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to the legal teams of attorneys who are investigating and defending Governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment allegations. It includes the legal fees of the individuals who have represented the office of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. It also includes the costs of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. Newly sworn in Gov. Kathy Hochul can also decide whether the state should continue to pay lawyers to defend her administration.

The ex-governor and his administration face lawsuits from women who accused him of sexual harassment. His attorney general is also investigating his use of state employees to help write a book.”We will be reviewing all legal contracts and making appropriate decisions on the need for legal representation and whether to continue any contracts,” Hochul’s spokesperson, Haley Viccaro, said. After an investigation led by Letitia James, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned following accusations of sexual harassment. One of Cuomo’s alleged victims, Lindsey Boylan said she plans to sue the ex-governor and his aides. “I believe if there is going to be any kind of appropriate conclusion to this, it has to be to make the victims of his misconduct whole,” Debra Katz, attorney for former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, said.

If Cuomo is sued over allegations of misconduct, the public could end up covering the legal fees and any settlement. As governor, he signed legislation that requires state employees who sexually harass on the job to pay the state back. Cuomo could end up using his $18 million in campaign money for legal fees. If he is charged with a crime, Cuomo would most likely have to pay for his own lawyer. However, he could still seek state reimbursement under certain circumstances.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/cuomo-legal-woes-cost-public-millions

Andrew is an accounting major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.

New York City Law Department Compromised by Cyberattack

Posted by Jacob Mahon.

In a time where cybercrime has been escalating the New York City Law Department has been compromised by a cyber attack. On June 5th a cyberattack was discovered. This resulted in the NYC Law Department restricting access to the network and thus affecting their operations. With 1,000 lawyers working in the department, it resulted in paperwork being delayed until the issue was resolved. These lawyers do not practice one specific field of law but instead, practice many.

Despite recognizing that an attack occurred, it is not clear as to what data or whose information was stolen. With the last few weeks being plagued by cyberattacks, with many businesses admitting that they were attacked, it suggests that these attacks are becoming more frequent. Although the severity of the attack is unknown, it illustrates a need to have businesses and governmental organizations be better equipped to deal with these problems.

There are a few things that can be taken away from the article. The first is that no one is safe. As long as someone can benefit financially there will always be people breaking into systems. The second is that currently businesses and government establishments are not ready for the current cyber environment and thus are likely to lose money from having operations shut down. Lastly, this article reflects that institutions as a whole must find ways to remedy the threat of cyber attacks as it is becoming more frequent.

Jacob is a student at Seton Hall University.

Fox Business Editors, editor. “New York City law department hit by cyberattack.”
Fox Business, FOX News Network, 8 June 2021, www.foxbusiness.com/
lifestyle/new-york-city-law-department-hit-by-cyberattack. Accessed 8 Sept.
2021.

Wells Fargo and Fees

Posted by Catriona Larouche.

Several years later after the fraud scandal taking surface in the world, Wells Fargo is still dealing with the consequences of its mistakes. In 2016, it was discovered that Wells Fargo had created savings and checking accounts on behalf of their clients without their consent. This being said, clients noticed this change when they started getting unanticipated fees and receiving credit and debit cards they had never ordered. It was later on discovered that this fraud was created by a pressure of higher ups from the company, demanding their workers to open as many accounts as possible through what is called cross-selling (Wells Fargo Account Fraud Scandal). Cross-selling, which in this case is fraud, is a selling technique in order to get customers to spend more money by purchasing products that are related to what has already been bought in the past. Cross-selling “involves offering the customer a related product or service” (Cross-selling definition – what is cross-selling). An example of cross-selling would be that a sales representative at an electronic retailer suggests to the client that they should buy the memory card when buying a camera and not just the camera itself (Cross-selling definition – what is cross-selling). 

Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in the United States and because of this fraud scandal, ever since 2018, the bank has been operating under orders from the Federal Reserve and two other United States financial regulations. These regulations were put in place in order for the bank to improve their oversight of the government and having the Fed’s capping the bank’s assets within their company (Person and Stempel, 2021). 

On Thursday September 30th 2021, a New York judge rejected the Wells Fargo bid to dismiss the lawsuit against them. This being said, the lawsuit will continue as it is believed that Wells Fargo did in fact defraud its shareholders five years prior of the scandal about the treatment of its customers. Shareholders had claimed that bank officials had falsely said in TV interviews that the bank was “mending its ways” and that their process was viewed as “deficient” and “unacceptable” (Person and Stempel, 2021). District attorney Judge George Woods in Manhattan said that the shareholders had mentioned that some of the statements claimed from the bank higher ups, including the former Chief Executive Tim Sloan, were “deliberately or recklessly false or misleading” (Person and Stempel, 2021). As well, shareholders from the San Francisco Wells Fargo bank said that the bank lost more than $54 billions of their market value. This was revealed over a two-year period which finally ended in March 2020, so right at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. 

Judge Woods also dismissed the claims against the current Chief Executive of the bank, Charles Scharf, stating that he is not responsible for all of the claims made by the shareholders and that it is rather the responsibility from the past higher ups and Chief Executive. To add, in an email written by Wells Fargo, they mention how they will “continue to vigorously defend the litigation and strongly disagree with these claims” basically saying that the shareholders are lying about their company (Person and Stempel, 2021). In another email, the lawyer of the Chief Executive Sloan, said that Sloan’s statements were truthful and that Sloan worked “tirelessly to bring Wells Fargo into compliance with consent orders and regulatory demands” (Person and Stempel, 2021). 

Back in 2016, the bank had opened about 3.5 million accounts without their client’s permission. They also charged hundreds of thousands of dollars to these clients for insurance they did not even need, which is why this scandal arose because it is illegal for a company to do so. Because of this, Wells Fargo paid more than $5 billion in fines and their Fed’s cap for assets was placed at $1.95 trillion, which is a lot of money. Thanks to this cap, this greatly restricts the company’s growth and it is shocking to think that before this cap they had even more assets (Person and Stempel, 2021).

In 2019, Chief Executive Sloan stepped down from his position with no heads up and one year later the company cancelled his bonus of $15 million. Woods then wrote a 61-page paper and did not make a decision on whether the bank officials did intend or not to defraud its shareholders; but he mentioned that it would have been impossible for Sloan to not have known about the situation which technically makes him an accomplice to the fraud crime (Person and Stempel, 2021).

So, overall, it looks like Wells Fargo is facing many issues and lawsuits because shareholders are allowed to sue them because they were frauded. The bank may have taken unnecessary profits out of it and it is therefore illegal to do so. Even five years later, the case is still going on and it is not close to being finished. 

Catronia is a student at Seton Hall University.

What Is Cross-Selling.” Shopify, https://www.shopify.com/encyclopedia/cross-selling.

“Wells Fargo Must Face Shareholder Fraud Claims over Its Recovery from Scandals.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 1 Oct. 2021, https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/wells-fargo-must-face-shareholder-lawsuit-over-compliance-with-consent-orders-2021-09-30/.

“Wells Fargo Account Fraud Scandal.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Sept. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Fargo_account_fraud_scandal.

Members of Congressional Committee Question Whether Amazon Executives Misled Congress

Posted by Caroline Schwier.

Facing charges for lying under oath and possibly misleading Congress, Amazon executives are under investigation. Congress is searching for evidence to prove that the several executive member’s sworn testimony was provided to the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee in 2019 and 2020. This piece of evidence will prove whether or not Amazon’s executives are guilty of interpreting data from third party and private sellers to boost sales within their own brand. The article even quotes that Congress has written in the letter, “’We strongly encourage you to make use of this opportunity to correct the record and provide the Committee with sworn, truthful, and accurate responses to this request as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate,’”. If Amazon’s executives are unable to provide adequate evidence to verify their innocence, Congress will be taking the case to a more serious level. 

 In response, an Amazon spokesperson elaborated on how the company has an internal policy which forbids individual seller data to be interpreted and recycled into Amazon products. However, last year’s Wall Street Journal contradicts this statement and reports that employees of Amazon regularly reversed engineered best sellers to appear as their own brand. After Congress further recited the Journal, Amazon responded how the information reported was false and misrepresentation of their services while proceeding to refuse to answer any questions that followed. Additionally, Congress discussed the matter with Amazon’s products regarding Ring doorbells and Fire TV. In another investigation, Congress discovered Amazon prevents competitors from buying search spaces and ultimately boosts their own sales. Amazon did not directly confront these findings but rather discussed how it is common practice for retailers to choose what they promote. Amazon is a part of the four technology companies investigated by the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee. And just last year, the Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee decided that Amazon along with Facebook, Apple, and Alphabet have monopoly power. Overall, Congress is determined to ensure that Amazon is using ethical and proper business policies in their everyday operations. 

After learning more about the investigations Congress is holding on Amazon, there are various business practices which sound problematic. Being such a large online marketplace, Amazon’s third party and private sellers have the right to ensure their product is being protected. Amazon’s executives agreeing to this right and then altering data to benefit their own products is a very inappropriate and unethical business policy. Additionally, the contradicting statement in a previous Journal provides more reason as to why Congress would start an investigation. The second investigation which provides evidence that Amazon is reducing competition by limiting their search opportunities also builds a case against the company to prove their guilty. In conclusion, Amazon does not have any evidence or proof other than their own word to combat the accusations made against them. Therefore, I believe that Amazon executives need to reevaluate their business practices to ensure a safe marketplace and fair competition. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/members-of-congressional-committee-question-if-amazon-executives-misled-congress-11634551201?mod=business_lead_pos2

Caroline is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.

Facebook Agrees to Pay Over $14 Million in Settlement Over Discrimination Against Workers

Posted by Ryan Callahan.

An article published on October 19 by the Wall Street Journal, talks about how Facebook agreed to pay penalties of over $14 million due to findings by the Justice Department that Facebook’s hiring practices purposely discriminated against U.S workers in favor of foreign workers. In addition, Facebook agreed in a settlement with the Labor Department to do more to recruit U.S. workers for technology related jobs and to be subject to federal scrutiny for up to three years. These agreements came after Facebook was sued by the Justice Department in December for allegedly failing to advertise around 2,600 jobs properly and consider applications from U.S. citizens. These jobs were offered to foreign workers the company was sponsoring for green cards to grant permanent residency in 2018 and 2019. The lawsuit stated that Facebook’s practices violated federal laws that require employers to demonstrate that there are no U.S. workers available that are qualified before offering positions to foreign workers they are sponsoring. As a result, Facebook has agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to the eligible victims of the alleged discrimination and a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the U.S government. The Justice Department will work with the company to determine possible victims, but at the time it was said to be too early to know how many people are eligible for damages. 

As a part of the settlement, Facebook has agreed to train employees on federal anti-discrimination requirements and to have their petitions for temporary visa holders audited by the Labor Department for the next three years. In a statement, Facebook said that they believe they met the standards of the federal government under federal law, but they agreed to settle the case so they can put this behind them and move forward. Facebook also said that the settlements with the federal government “will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world, and supporting our international community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence” (Nakamura and Zakrzewski). The settlement reflects the growing focus among Democrats to regulate big tech firms. This is seen in the nomination of large tech critics into key administration positions. For years, Facebook has tried to increase the ranks of high-skilled foreign laborers in the U.S. to power its highly technological operations, including programs such as the H-1B visa. The Justice Department said that Facebook changed its traditional hiring process when they wanted to hire an employee on an H-1B visa for a permanent position. Federal law generally allows a company to sponsor a temporary worker for a permanent position only when there is no qualified U.S. applicant. The lawsuit found that if a U.S. worker applied for one of the jobs, and Facebook determined they were qualified, the company appeared to hire them in a different capacity. 

Times are changing and the government is cracking down on big tech firms. The Democrats are concerned with the power the big tech firms have and want to control it. By penalizing Facebook with more than more than $14 million in fines, the government is sending a message to big tech firms that they will be scrutinized for their business practices. The agreements came after Facebook was sued by the Justice Department for allegedly failing to advertise jobs properly and consider applications from U.S. citizens before the spots were offered to foreign workers. At the time the article was written, it was too early to determine the possible victims, but the Justice department is working to figure that out. As a result, Facebook agreed to do more to recruit U.S. workers for technology related jobs. Although the fine is a small one compared to Facebook’s worth, it has sent a strong message to all big tech firms.

Ryan is a sports management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.

Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/facebook-discrimination-settlement/2021/10/19/7d7f4b34-30f6-11ec-a1e5-07223c50280a_story.html

Wrongful Practice Happening at World’s Largest Corporation

Posted by Tyler Fearon.

This huge retail corporation, also known as Walmart, was sued for the wrongful firing of Marlo Spaeth, an employee with down syndrome after working there for almost 16 years. This had not been the first incident with Walmart as attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, Monica Murphy, had represented six Wisconsin women with disabilities in the previous years. A main issue that disabled people such as Spaeth faced, was Walmart “refusing to accommodate these workers and instead took away their hours or forced them to take unpaid leave.” This decision by Walmart is unethical because they are discriminating against people with disabilities and disregarding their rights within the workplace. For example, a worker with disabilities needs accommodations that a worker without disabilities needs putting them at a disadvantage for work. Spaeth had been working at Walmart for more than ten years “folding towels, tidying aisles, and helping customers.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s main argument was how this corporation unfairly fired Spaeth rather than making the accommodations necessary for her disability. Equal opportunity is a colossal issue within the workplace because employers like Walmart would rather let go of a qualified person with a disability and give the job to a “normal person.”

Back in July of 2021, the court ruled that Walmart had violated a federal law. They ordered the corporation to pay more than $ 125 million in damages becoming one of the highest amounts in history for a single victim. After the ruling, the judge brought the money damages down to $ 300,000 which is the most allowed under this specific law. This was the right decision by the jurors as Spaeth was being wrongfully discriminated and she lost her job as a result. Currently, there is a holdup between Walmart and the EEOC to determine if the “nation’s largest private employer will face tighter supervision or be forced to make changes to its corporate policies.” I believe that there should be a committee to ensure that disabled people are being treated fairly and are receiving the accommodations necessary to fulfill their duties as an employee. Also, a revision of company policies would bring drastic changes in creating a positive and safe work environment for all employees with disabilities. After implementing these new changes, we can prevent this issue from arising time after time.

Walmart has claimed that they accommodate thousands of people with disabilities every year and even went so far to refute the EEOC’s request for more supervision. The corporation’s main argument was how they did not overstep the Americans with Disabilities Act and there was no evidence that they would do this to future employees. On the contrary, attorney Murphy claimed that Walmart began to utilize a “computerized scheduling system.” This new system had altered employees work schedules and the corporation denied fixing their hours. It is very unfair how these employees had been working on this schedule for many years and now Walmart steps in to change them. For example, two longtime employees with disabilities were fired when they said they would not be able to work eight-hour shifts and they had never returned to work. Workers should be given the choice to continue working on their own schedules or change to the schedule given by this computer system. These corporations are taking advantage of people with disabilities as they are basically saying take the schedule, we give you or we are firing you. In conclusion, I feel that there must be something in place to monitor the operations of employers in order to prevent the discrimination Spaeth and many others have faced from happening.

Tyler is a sports managmeent major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/15/disability-attorney-walmarts-firing-of-down-syndrome-woman-is-part-of-pattern.html

FDA Grants Full Approval to Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine, Opening Door to More Vaccine Mandates

Posted by Isabella Nigro.

The article, FDA Grants full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech Codiv-19 vaccine, opeing door to more vaccine mandates, by CNN, goes into detail about how the Pfizer/bioNTech covid-19 vaccine is the first carona virus vaccine to be fully approved by the FDA. Around the world, all ages, races, and religions have been effected in some way by the Corona virus outbreak. In America esspeically, citizens have been in denial of wanting to recieve the vaccine from any of the three brad options being distributed to the community. Over 170 million Americans have been vacinated sicne the option has become available to Citizens. The medicine was first authorized to be released as Emergency Use because of the severity of the pandemic. 

With the FDA finally approving the Pfizer vaccine, people who have been worried about the administrative law regaring the vacine can now choose to get this dose. “While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA approved Covid-19 vaccine, the public can be confident that this vaccine meets the FDA’s gold standard for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality that we require for an approved product,” FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said during a briefing on Monday, calling the approval “a pivotal moment” for the United States’ fight against the coronavirus pandemic.” While there was not a very large number of the population that was waiting for the vacine to become FDA approved, there was still a vast amount of people that once they heard the news they then went to get vacninated.

No matter what the situation, when taking medicine or anything that is realted to your health, it is always important to make sure you know what you are putting into your body. With the FDA having a clear approval for the drug, those who have been waiting for mroe conformation to recieve the shot will now most likely become more inclined to recieve it. Out of personal belief, I do not think it is fair for those who do not want to recieve the vaccine for personal and religious reasons should not be forced to out something into their bodies in order to still be able to fully participate as a equal in society. 

Isabella is a business major at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/23/health/fda-approval-pfizer-covid-vaccine/index.html

Corporate Action on the Issue of Diversity Among Law Firms

Posted by Amritha Pillai. 

The lack of diversity in the workplace is a growing issue in many fields and even extends to both the legal and corporate worlds. However, in the article “Diversity at Elite Law Firms Is So Bad Clients Are Docking Fees” by Ellen Milligan and Todd Gillespie, the authors discuss how corporations are using this lack of diversity to their advantage. Many large global companies such as Facebook and HP have threatened law firms to cease collaboration if diversity continues to be lacking. This isn’t a threat that law firms can take lightly, as these major corporations bring  in large amounts of money, thus law firms are forced to consider this problem head on. What I found to be most interesting was that in the article it stated, “It’s not that the companies pushing for change are models of diversity. Most have their own distinct struggles with representation.” (Gillespie and Milligan 2021). This issue is on both sides of the equation; however, corporations are more concerned because they fear that they have more to lose. Many law firms are being run in a highly influenced manner. Often one or a select few individuals are charged with making major decisions and the rest of the firm tends to follow. The fear is that without diversity, there is a lack of questioning and creativity. Therefore, these corporations feel that they are not getting the best resources available to them. 

This push for diversity has been an on-going battle, however law firms have been slower at addressing this issue. This can be seen by simply observing the numbers. The article stated, “Women make up a little more than a quarter of partners at 10 of the most prestigious firms on either side of the Atlantic” (Gillespie and Milligan 2021). This is a concerning statistic, as this is purely based on gender and has not even stepped into the realm of race or economics. The article went on to state, “About 10% of partners at U.S. firms are people of color,” and, “Racial minorities make up only 8% of U.K.-based partners at elite British firms” (Gillespie and Milligan 2021). Once again, a staggering number because this is just an indication that majority of the field is comprised on people belonging to the same race and same gender. This only backs the idea that the lack of diversity is an ever-growing issue. 

HP Inc. was one of the first companies to really push this issue and went as far as to say that they would refrain from paying a percent of the fees if diversity benchmarks were not met (Gillespie and Milligan 2021). Facebook then followed suit but had their own conditions. Facebook required “half the lawyers on its external U.S. legal teams are diverse—in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability status— “. Similar to HP, Facebook also threatened to withhold fees if these requirements were not met. The only solution in sight is the growth of diversity among young lawyers who can incorporate themselves into major positions in these law firms in the years to come. While reading the article, I questioned whether corporations held the power to make such demanding requests. However, given that they are paying for a service I think that wanting the best representation is something in the realm of their control. I also think that diversity is important for the world as a whole, because at this point, many aspects of society are tailored to people from one specific background. However, it is important to cater to the needs of people stemming from various different identities and backgrounds.

Amritha is a biology major at Seton Hall University.

Article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-05/big-law-has-a-diversity-problem-and-corporate-clients-are-stepping-in

Amazon Sends Message to Counterfieters

Posted by Alexander Gomez.

On September 30th Amazon settled with TikTok and Instagram influencers regarding their involvement in peddling counterfeit goods through the Amazon store. The influencers being Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Kreji will be barred from ever selling products through the Amazon marketplace. Although Amazon refused to disclose the financial aspect of the settlement this situation comes as a constant reminder of the challenges Amazon faces. Since the introduction of the Amazon marketplace which encouraged third party selling; counterfeit products have always been a trouble for the corporation. However, “The marketplace, launched in 2000, is made up of millions of third-party sellers and now accounts for more than half of Amazon’s overall e-commerce sales.”(Palmer) so naturally Amazon has chosen to crack down on counterfeit products.

Amazon in an effect to curb counterfeit merchandise being sold on their platform has elected to chase down these criminals in court. Amazon has even introduced several programs to aid in the crackdown of this practice. They have even rolled out a Counterfeit Crimes Unit which is comprised of several former federal prosecutors. In this aspect we know how serious Amazon carries their marketplace.

Within my own opinion I think it is good that Amazon is cracking down on these counterfeiters. As mentioned before if the marketplace attributes to much of its e commerce sales it is good to take legal action against these criminals. However, Amazon did also mention that most of the defendants for these counterfeiters are in China. In this regard Amazon has a great obstacle to overcome but this is a good first step for Amazon to start the crackdown process.

Alex is a fintech major at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/30/amazon-settles-with-influencers-who-allegedly-ran-counterfeit-scheme.html?&qsearchterm=amazon%20lawsuit

You’re a Leader. But You Can’t Stomach What Your Company is Doing.

Posted by Robert Benites.

Are you in a certain position of command at your job? Maybe you are a manger or a supervisor.  If you ever had the question, how do I know if something is ethical or not? Or if the company you are apart of is doing something illegal. Who do you tell? The article gives every employee tip on how to report unethical or illegal behavior in the workplace if you are someone in the hierarchy. If you see something in the workplace that is unusual or not supposed to be permitted by your company’s rules you should start by seeing if you boss is involved in making these decisions. By staying internal first, you can see who you can trust within the company.

If you find out that your boss is making the unethical or illegal decisions, then you should still seek help internally. The article suggests that if you find another manager who is on the same level of hierarchy as you; you can talk with this coworker and discuss a plan to approach your boss and discuss what is happening is wrong. If you can’t find a manager or another boss in different department it might be time to recruit any coworkers based off any work experience level.  If all this doesn’t work, it might be time to “blow the whistle”. This term basically means that instead of continuing to try and work internally to stop a problem you should reach out to agencies or authorities. A company you should contact is the SEC as they have rewarded a total of $387 million to 72 whistleblowers in the past 8 years.

The last thing that is discussed in this article is to avoid staying quiet. It is actually very common for people who see something wrong in the workplace to stay quiet because they are scared of the aftermath.  If you stay quiet, there is a good chance you can develop chronic stress on your body and mind and if tampered with enough you can start to feel depressed. I personally enjoyed reading this article as it is very informative, and I believe it is important for all kinds of employees to read this article. I believe it can help everyone out in the long run if they see any unethical or illegal actions happening in the workplace.

Robert is a business management student at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2023.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/success/executives-values-ethics-conflict/index.html