Mattresses & Money Laundering

Puja Valera Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2023 Mattresses and money laundering – two very different topics that have been intertwined in mystery and conspiracy. On Medium, a journalist reported that a reddit user first introduced the concept that Mattress Firm, the largest mattress retailer in the world, is actually a …
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Employees Continue to Fight Compliance with Vaccine Mandates

An earlier blog post explored the challenges of employees returning to work, including questions about the legality of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. In response to the uptick in cases towards the end of the summer and into the fall, many large employers implemented vaccine mandates. As vaccine mandates have increased, so have the lawsuits contesting them. As of October 14, 2021, there have been at least thirty-nine federal cases contesting vaccine requirements imposed by either employers or governments and approximately fifty-seven total decisions, including federal and state cases. In most cases, courts are denying requests for temporary injunctions against the mandates or dismissing the cases.

Working From Home and Its Data Security Implications

Remote work was something once looked at as a gift, a day to work at home in your sweatpants on your couch. But now, some are stuck working from home until further notice or maybe even until they retire. This new method of work has made it much harder for businesses to keep the information of their workers and customers safe despite additional avenues of technology being used to work from home. An average employee may never think about the challenges associated with data security, but it is important to shed some light on this subject so that more people understand its importance. It is also important to understand why the lack of data security laws in the US could be so detrimental to any company doing work here. Company and consumer information is more vulnerable than ever with people working from home all over the country and without comprehensive data security regulations in the US, there is no end in sight.

Let’s Build Better Sooner Rather Than Later

“A building is only built once.”

So writes Ellen Vaughan, Policy Director at the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (“EESI”), and Jim Turner, former Chief Counsel at the EESI. The consequences of new construction can last for the entire life of that building and beyond. Just how and with what materials a building is constructed impacts energy, environment, resilience, and safety as well as cost effectiveness, functionality, accessibility, productivity, and overall sustainability. The how of building is an incredibly important part of the life of residential and commercial builds which can only be affected prior to the start of the entire process.

How Much is Too Much? College and University COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

As schools attempt to return to “normalcy”, approximately 1,000 colleges and universities have mandated vaccines for students. While the majority of these schools have relatively high vaccination rates, students complain that extra precautions including student surveillance and monitoring are going too far. Conversely, many schools in states with notoriously lax COVID-19 mandates struggle to keep students safe while following state mandates.

The “Cyber Pandemic” – COVID-19’s Influence on Cybersecurity Practices

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of life for people around the globe. While the internet has allowed people to stay connected and continue working from home, it has also presented an opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of susceptible remote working setups. Cybercrime has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic, prompting corporations to mitigate the risk of a data breach against an onslaught of new vulnerabilities to their internal systems.

Chicago’s “Decriminalization” of Sex Work

In the United States, according to a HG study, every year, between 70,000 and 80,000 people are arrested for prostitution related offenses, where roughly seventy percent of arrests are made against women sellers, twenty percent of arrests are made against men sellers, and a mere ten percent are made against buyers. In Chicago, the number of arrests are comparable, where according to a Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation study, in 2013, approximately seventy-four percent of prostitution-related arrests were for selling, and in 2017, ninety percent of prostitution-related arrests were for selling. 

Following the enactment of similar laws in other states, in 2014, Illinois passed Public Act 98-1013 which creates a financial incentive for the enforcement of prostitution laws against buyers and traffickers, rather than sellers. However, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) continues to prioritize arrests of sex sellers over buyers. Criminalization of sex work disproportionately harms LGBTQ people, communities of color, and immigrants. At a local level, Chicago needs to decriminalize sex work and reallocate CPD’s enforcement budget to social welfare services.

The Pandora Papers and the Bank Secrecy Act

The recent Pandora Papers leak in October 2021 shined the light on the massive and intricate web of offshore accounting that allows for insurmountable amounts of wealth to be hidden throughout the world. One of the most shocking revelations of these Papers was how heavily the United States was implicated in creating and perpetuating this system. As such, legislators have been pressured to find a way to crackdown on this sort of offshore money. One way that they have proposed addressing the problem is by amending the United States’ current criminal financial legislation, the Bank Secrecy Act.

The Story That Sounded Too Good to Be True Was, Indeed, Too Good to Be True.

The process of the criminal trial of the youngest woman self-made billionaire, has recently started up again after being stalled due to Covid restrictions in the past year. Former CEO and founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, and her former president and one-time boyfriend, Ramesh Balwani, have been accused of misleading investors and raising hundreds of millions of dollars by making false or exaggerated claims in defiance of the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws. While she is currently facing a federal indictment on twelve different charges, including two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and ten counts of wire fraud, Holmes has already settled her civil charges, which were brought forth by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The civil charges brought forth by the SEC have now put Silicon Valley on alert by ensuring that technology companies who claim that they have a new groundbreaking technology that can change the world must be based on factual evidence, not purely myths.

Put the Salary in the Job Description – Pay Transparency Laws’ Impact on Hiring and Pay Equity

Lately, more and more job applicants seem to want to know the expected salary prior to applying to a job. In 2018, LinkedIn conducted a survey of 450 members asking which parts of a job description they found the most important. When surveyed, sixty-one percent reported that compensation was the most important, indicating that compensation is a key factor for many applicants in evaluating whether a potential job opening is worth their time. Although companies offer their reasons for keeping salary information from applicants, pay transparency, especially in the recruiting stages, is one of the main ways to achieve pay equity