terça-feira, 19 de maio de 2009

Dois casos de empresa resolvidos pela Corte Suprema americana

Prof Farlei Martins envia a seguinte informação:

The New York Times
May 19, 2009
Justices Side With AT&T on Maternity Leave
— The Supreme Court ruled for the telecommunications
giant AT&T on Monday in a dispute over how retirement benefits should be
calculated for women who took maternity leaves before the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act took effect in 1979.

In other business-related cases, justices said they would hear an appeal by
the former media baron Conrad M. Black, who was seeking to overturn his
fraud conviction, and would decide a constitutional challenge to the 2002
law that created a national board to oversee public company auditors.

Justices in the AT&T case, by a 7-2 vote, overturned an appeals court ruling
that the company had violated federal civil rights law by not granting women
credit for their entire pregnancy-related leaves taken before 1979.

The 1979 law barred companies from treating pregnancy leaves differently
from other disability leaves. Since then, maternity leave has been
considered disability leave and has been credited toward retirement.

The ruling was a defeat for four AT&T employees who each took at least one
maternity leave from 1968 to 1976 and had sued. AT&T at the time allowed
pregnant women up to 30 days of paid leave, but the women lost between 67
and 261 days of uncredited leave.

The appeals court in San Francisco ruled those days of maternity leave
should count in determining their pension benefits.

The Bush administration had backed AT&T, saying the appeals court improperly
credited maternity leaves before the law took effect and that Congress
specifically did not make the law retroactive.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer dissented.

In addition, justices agreed to review an appeals court ruling that upheld
the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which set up the Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board.

A conservative advocacy group called the Free Enterprise Fund and a small
Nevada accounting firm appealed to the high court in arguing that the law
violated constitutional requirements on separation of powers because it
failed to allow adequate control by the president.

The law created the board, which policy the audit industry, in response to
auditing scandals early in the decade that involved Enron and other

The board’s members are appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission,
with consultation from the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury

The lawsuit, filed in 2006, argued that the law unconstitutionally stripped
the president of all power to appoint or remove board members, or to
supervise or control their activities.

A federal judge and then the appeals court rejected the challenge. But
instead of denying the appeal as the government had sought, the Supreme
Court said it would hear arguments in the case.

And in a third case, justices said they would hear an appeal by Mr. Black
and two colleagues seeking to overturn their convictions for defrauding
shareholders of the one-time newspaper publishing giant Hollinger
International Inc.

Mr. Black has been in prison since March 2008, when he began serving a 6.5
years for fraud and obstructing justice.

The justices agreed to review an appeals court ruling that upheld the
conviction in 2007 of Mr. Black and the former Hollinger senior executives,
Peter Atkinson, John Boultbee and Mark Kipnis.

Mr. Black and the others had been accused of swindling the company out of
$6.1 million by giving themselves illegal bonuses.

Mr. Black, who was Hollinger’s former chairman and chief executive; Mr.
Boultbee, the onetime executive vice president and chief financial officer;
and Mr. Kipnis, the former corporate counsel and secretary, appealed to the
Supreme Court.

Their lawyers sought to overturn their fraud convictions on the grounds the
trial judge had given improper instructions to the jury that found them
guilty. The Justice Department opposed the appeal.

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