Business Litigation Alert: "Legal Issues to Watch in 2018"
Last year was filled with many headline-making issues. As we begin to look at 2018, here are three issues we are closely tracking.
- Bitcoin and Blockchain Litigation and SEC Enforcement
Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) made the news regularly in 2017, but not all of the headlines were positive. Litigation is on the rise surrounding cryptocurrency, and there has been great concern over the lack of regulation surrounding ICOs.
The SEC has taken notice, creating a Cyber Unit to, among other things, regulate ICOs. The SEC recently took action against PlexCorps, an ICO scam that targeted thousands of investors, raising $15 million and promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month. In 2018, we can expect the SEC to continue to increase its oversight and regulation of cryptocurrency and ICOs, as well as to ramp up enforcement actions related to these kinds of scams.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) Expansion into Businesses
In 2017, AI became increasingly important for businesses. This technology once seemed like something we would only see in a science fiction movie, but we are now seeing AI used by businesses for a variety of applications such as cybersecurity protections and sourcing job candidates. Because many AI programs can become more effective over time, they will have a major impact on how companies operate moving forward.
In 2018, AI will continue its expansion into businesses, but as machines increasingly take over the roles of humans, will employee training be sacrificed? As AI works best in tandem with human workers, it will be important for companies to ensure that employees are still effectively trained for their roles, even as AI begins to take over some job functions.
- Workplace Anti-Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment was certainly a headline-making topic in 2017, and we can expect to see this continue. One thing we are likely to see is these allegations spreading beyond Hollywood and Washington to Main Street businesses. This means that companies need to be prepared with anti-harassment policies in place and comprehensive training programs for their employees.
Companies should be evaluating their current programs and policies and determine any areas where they can be strengthened to prepare for what could be an onslaught of harassment allegations in 2018.
As these topics develop in 2018, we will continue to share updates and offer suggestions on how you and your business can stay one step ahead of these changes.