Commitments and Contingencies
|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2017
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
6. Commitments and Contingencies
Lease Obligations – The Company leases office space and equipment under various operating lease agreements, including an office for its headquarters, as well as office spaces for its events business, sales and administrative offices under non-cancelable lease arrangements that provide for payments on a graduated basis with various expiration dates.
Rent expense, amounting to approximately $268,000 and $258,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and approximately $811,000 and $808,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively, is included in general and administrative expense in the condensed consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss. Included in rent expense is sublease income of approximately $96,000 and $90,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and approximately $288,000 and $279,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
The Company has previously disclosed that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, NAPW, Inc., are parties to litigation captioned Gauri Ramnath, et al. v. Professional Diversity Network, Inc., et al., No. BC604153 (Los Angeles Superior Ct.), a putative class action filed in January 2016 alleging violations of various California Labor Code (wage & hour) sections. During the first quarter of 2016, the Company executed a settlement agreement, subject to later Court approval, in which the Company agreed in principle to pay $500,000 for a global settlement of the class action. During the first quarter of 2016, the Company also recorded a litigation settlement expense in the amount of $500,000. On November 28, 2016, the Court approved the proposed settlement. In December of 2016 the Company paid the settlement amount in the Court’s fund and the third-party administrator began distributing payments to class members. On August 2, 2017, the Court notified the parties that the case is “reported as complete without the need for a further status conference.” This matter is therefore concluded and will not be further reported.
The Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, NAPW, Inc., are parties to a proceeding captioned In re Professional Diversity Network, Cases 31-CA-159810 and 31-CA-162904, filed with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in June 2015 and alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) against the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, NAPW, Inc., where employee was allegedly terminated for asserting rights under Section 7 of the NLRA. While the Company disputes that any rights were impacted, the NLRB has issued its order requiring the Company to take certain remedial actions in the form of posting notices and revising certain policies, as well as to pay the claimant certain back pay and offer reinstatement. The Company has complied with the order in all respects except back pay and reinstatement. The Company disputes the amount of back pay owed to the claimant and disputes that reinstatement is appropriate under the circumstances and an evidentiary hearing on the issue of back pay is currently scheduled for January of 2018. The amount of back pay and other potential liabilities ordered by NLRB is $146,000.
The Company is a party to a proceeding captioned Paul Sutcliffe v. Professional Diversity Network, Inc., No. 533-2016-00033 (EEOC), filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in April 2016 and alleging violations of Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, where employee was allegedly terminated due to his race (Caucasian) and his age (over 40). The EEOC has not yet notified the Company that it has issued a right-to-sue letter, and the complainant has not yet filed a lawsuit.
The Company is a party to a proceeding captioned Wei Aniton v. Professional Diversity Network, Inc., No. 440-2017-04717 (EEOC), filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on July 6, 2017 and alleging violations of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, where employee alleges she was discriminated by the Company due to her race and her sex and was paid less than similarly situated white males. On September 20, 2017, the EEOC issued its Notice of Dismissal and Notice of Rights, effectively terminating this matter before the EEOC.
In a letter dated October 12, 2017, White Winston Select Asset Funds (“White Winston”) threatened assertion of a claim against the Company. The letter alleges that White Winston suffered $2,241,958 in damages as a result of the Company’s alleged conduct that caused a delay in White Winston’s ability to sell shares in the Company during a period when the Company’s stock price was generally falling. The Company denies liability for any such claim.
General Legal Matters
From time to time, the Company is involved in legal matters arising in the ordinary course of business. While the Company believes that such matters are currently not material, there can be no assurance that matters arising in the ordinary course of business for which the Company is, or could be, involved in litigation, will not have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition or results of operations.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef