A big phish is in the water – BEC

That flowery email from a Nigerian Prince who can’t spell has been supplanted by a far more dangerous phish — the Business Email Compromise (“BEC”). According to the FBI, in the past two years over 8,000 businesses, small and large, have been victimized by BEC attacks for combined losses of over $1.2 billion.

What is BEC? BEC is a sophisticated hack in which a scammer (usually impersonating the boss) instructs an employee to send money or sensitive data to what appears to be a vendor or other plausible business recipient. In some cases, the hacker infiltrates the company’s email system and sends the email from a recognized address. In others, the email address has only a minor difference. BEC hackers also research social media and company websites to mimic communication styles and to reference actual company matters.

The best defense against BEC is solid HR training: require in-person confirmation of payment requests; educate personnel in cyber-security; and train employees never to deviate from normal checks and controls.

Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP provides employment law training and HR counseling for cyber-related issues, along with insurance policy review for coverage related to cyber attacks.

Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

Why should I train my workforce in employment law?

When asked to identify the most frequent type of litigation pending against their company, 40% of findlaw.com survey respondents cited labor and employment cases.  According to the respondents, employers are subjected to the most monetary exposure by race, age, and wage-and-hour claims. Not coincidentally, the EEOC reported in its January 2012 Performance and Accountability Report that it had recovered the highest one-year monetary tally, $364.6 million, for private sector complainants.

How do you protect your company from expensive employment claims? Training.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons to invest in the training of your workforce.

1 – Protection Against Discrimination Claims.

Training provides a defense to a subsequent discrimination claim. It allows the employer to clearly communicate the conduct that is appropriate and expected in the workplace.

2 – Higher Morale and Productivity.

In addition to meeting an employer’s legal obligations, a good employment training course can lead to a well-informed and satisfied workforce, which is central to worker productivity and well-being. Employee satisfaction leads to lower costs associated with turnover, tardiness, and apathy.

3 – New Employer Accommodation Obligations.

Under new Department of Labor regulations interpreting the American with Disabilities Act, employers have a higher burden to “reasonably accommodate” disabled employees. Managers should be aware of the employer’s accommodation obligation, including how to identify what might constitute an accommodation request and how to engage in the meaningful dialogue required by the DOL and the courts.

4 – Consistency in Applying Policies.

One of the easiest ways for an employment plaintiff to get to trial on a discrimination claim is to show that a company policy was applied differently to him or her than it was to others. Training your management team gets everyone on the same page, and educates managers on the potential consequences of a seemingly innocent departure from company policy.

5 – Dealing with Wage and Hour Laws.

Employers of all sizes increasingly are becoming the target of DOL audit inquiries and class action or multi-plaintiff lawsuits for wage and hour violations. The misclassification of workers can result in claims of unpaid wages, overtime, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Training to avoid such a result is critical.

There are many other reasons to train, but this list provides some good motivators. And remember, while training provides certain legal protections for the company, a significant additional benefit is to make your environment a better place to work. If we can answer any questions you have about training your workforce, please contact any of our employment lawyers for more information.