Since 2010, California has required that certain companies provide information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from supply chains. Similar legislation is now popping up across the pond with the United Kingdom recently passing a law that calls for the reporting of steps taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking from entering supply chains. This is a clear sign that companies must continue their endeavors to both know their supply chains and report on what they are doing to help fight the exploitation of men, women, and children in countries throughout the world.

The U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015

California is no longer alone in its fight to eradicate human trafficking through supply chain monitoring. This year, the United Kingdom proposed a new law aimed at ending human trafficking that substantially overlaps with the California Transparency Act. Titled the U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015 (the U.K. Act), it received Royal Assent March 26, 2015 and is now an Act of Parliament. Reporting obligations under the U.K. Act should come into force later this month.

The U.K. Act broadly requires that any company that “supplies goods or services” and “carries on a business, or part of a business, in any part of the United Kingdom” publically disclose the steps it is taking to ensure slavery or human trafficking is not taking place in its business and supply chains. A slavery and human trafficking statement is either a statement of the steps the organization has taken during the financial year or a statement that the organization has taken no such steps. Similar to California, the U.K. Act requires that if the organization has a website, it must publish the slavery and human trafficking statement on the website and include a link to the slavery and human trafficking statement in a “prominent place on that website’s homepage.”
Continue Reading Transparency in Supply Chains Acts in the United Kingdom and California

Several class actions have been filed recently against companies offering music and video subscription services online for allegedly not complying with California’s Automatic Renewal Laws (California Business and Professions Code § 17602). This statute may apply whenever a company enrolls a California resident in an “automatic renewal” or “continuous service” Yes-Nooffering, where the customer’s subscription or service is renewed until he or she cancels. To comply, a business must take three steps:  (1) clear and conspicuous disclosure of essential terms of the subscription offer, (2) obtain affirmative agreement by the subscriber to those terms, and (3) provide a copy of the terms, including how to cancel the subscription, in a form that the subscriber can keep for his or her records.
Continue Reading New Class Action Threat: Is Your Company Complying With California’s Automatic Renewal Laws?

Law books, gavel and scales Berger v. Home Depot USA, Inc., No. 11-55592 (9th Cir. Feb. 3, 2014) This is a great decision for retailers and consumer products companies. The court affirmed a decision denying class certification, recognizing that variability in consumer experience when entering into a retail transaction makes a case inappropriate for class treatment. In Berger, plaintiff challenged the defendant’s “damage waiver surcharge,” which allows the customer to avoid liability if a tool is damaged during the period of rental. Plaintiff claimed the waiver was deceptive because it was automatically added to all transactions and the defendant (allegedly) failed to disclose that it was optional. The trial court denied class certification and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Continue Reading Variability in Consumer Experience Dooms Class Action