A Likely Increase in Sexual Harassment Claims

Nov 23, 2017 by

It’s been clear from recent events that the culture of abuse is changing. Increasingly, women in particular but men also are speaking out about different forms of abuse they have suffered and kept silent. So far, most of those who have paid the price have been in the media, but that is only because those are the most well-known names. It’s likely this will continue at a more local level, especially considering the success seen by those making the accusations.

What does that mean for everyday life? Very likely, many jobs will see an increase in sexual harassment training, both for those who may abuse their position and those who may be taken advantage of. With so much fall out not just for the abuses but for coverups, more companies will likely push very publicly for more openness and fewer consequences for those who come forward.

All of this, most will agree, can be taken as a net positive for society. It’s clear that far too many people have been taken advantage of and far too few have felt there was support within their organizations and in the culture, in general, to come forward earlier. The fact they feel they can come forward now speaks well of how far our society has come in recent decades.

However, there are potentially some negative consequences. First of all, there may be some lumping of egregious crimes (like those perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein) and more banal offenses. While the latter can still cause harm and should be dealt with, painting with a broad brush can lead to dire consequences for actions that were thought harmless at the time. It’s easy to imagine managers being fired for a poorly considered joke in a moment of poor judgment, for instance, when a bit of stern disciplining would be more appropriate.

There is also the less common but still potential possibility of false claims being made. While it’s important not to dismiss the vast majority of cases because of this very rare problem, it could, in certain highly ambitious circles, be employed as character assassination. Such charges, according to the law firm Kohler, Hart, and Powell, permanently destroy a person’s reputation.

A further issue may be a flooding in of claims that could be disruptive to the work environment. While it is again very positive that serious issues (and even minor offenses) be brought forward if all are on the lookout for offense and come forward all at once, the potential for chaos in an office increases.

The fact some unfortunate consequences may occur in tandem with this social change does not in any way mean the change should be discouraged. It is simply important for businesses to be aware both of the likely increase of claims and also the potential for some extra complexity in the work environment. With a little forward planning, these problems can be minimized, and the workplace can be improved without any negative issues.

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When to look for an employment lawyer

Aug 28, 2017 by

Considering quitting your job? There are a lot of personal benefits and consequences that comes to making the final decision to move on and leave your job. According to Above the Law, employment lawyers give their perspective on how to exit with grace.

No matter how you want to exit, there are particular ways to make your exit smoother no matter what is motivating you to leave your job. There are particular ways you can exit. Do you want to feel the satisfaction by send off a good “f-you” to the employer who you feel most deserves it? There are ways to exit than the destructive employee send off. Above the Law has seen its fair share of send-offs including “Bye Felicia” emails in real life).

Farewell emails may seem like a good idea, and they often do not do any damage to the reputation of the employee, nor do they “burn bridges” with other co-workers or supervisors. Sometimes, however, the emails can be devastating. Most employment attorneys will tell you that you should always leave your employer with class and try not to vocalize (or print) grievances, no matter if they are justified or not. If you have a serious issue with an employer, a lawsuit or formal legal action may be better than putting the company “on blast” in print or online review.

If you are unhappy at work, you can seek alternative employment, work-from-home opportunities, or other ways to stage your exit from your current company. There are many different ways that you can find satisfaction at work, and with these four easy-to-remember tips, you can leave your current job with dignity:

  • Try to obtain a good reference to help you find your next job. A colleague or supervisor at your current job (even if you are not completely satisfied with your current position) may be a good resource. Former colleagues or even satisfied clients can also be a resource for a reference.
  • Record your “victories”. Make sure to highlight the things you’ve achieved, awards or recognition you’ve earned, and any accolades that you can add to your resume and discuss in interviews.
  • Utilize your network. Everyone has resources that can help them network or learn about industry certifications that can help them with their job search. The more certifications you can earn, the more qualified of a candidate you will appear to potential employers.
  • Familiarize yourself with your contract and agreements. Before leaving your employer, make sure you are familiar with the contract you signed, any non-compete agreements that might be in place, and anything else that you may need to know before you exit. It would be a shame to start working at a new company, only to find yourself in contractual “hot water” over a non-compete agreement you forgot about!

It is important to maintain professionalism and find a happy balance in your career. Employment lawyers help employees hold businesses accountable for workplace violations, including harrassment, discrimination, and other claims. Call a lawyer when you need help or if you are being mistreated by your employer and keep your reputation intact by leaving with grace and dignity! 

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Depakote

Aug 17, 2017 by

Although Depakote has improved the lives of several people suffering from epilepsy and bipolar disorder, for some, the drug has completely devastated the lives of others. Researchers have now found evidence of how harmful the drug can be to a still developing fetus. Pregnant women that took the drug believing they were safe have had their children suffer from:

  • Spina bifida
  • Brain defects
  • Malformation of the face or skull
  • Malformation of the cardiovascular system
  • Fetal valproate syndrome
  • Infantile scoliosis

The drug has particularly extreme and dangerous side effects for pregnant women. The victims affected by this drug should contact experienced Depakote lawsuit attorneys, as they may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering.

Had the victims known about the dangers of the drug, they would have avoided all the medical problems they must now deal with. There have been cases where the child born with the defects as a result of the drug needed more than three heart surgeries. Along with those children, studies show that pregnant women who took the drug had a 4.42% chance of their child developing autism as opposed to 1.02%.

These injuries can be catastrophic both health wise and finance wise, so it is important to contact an experienced lawyer to get the compensation that all these victims deserve. No one deserves to have this happen to them, the least the victims could get out of this is compensation for all the pain and suffering Depakote brought to them and their families.

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Work-Related Injuries under the Workers’ Compensation Laws can Include Aggravations of Prior Injuries and Conditions

May 26, 2017 by

For the years 2013 and 2014, the numbers of fatal work-related accidents reported to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) were 4,585 and 4,679, respectively. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has worked hard to significantly reduce the number of workplace injuries and deaths since its establishment in 1971 (from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 13 a day in 2014), fatal accidents in work environments continue to happen.

Every workplace has its own type of dangers; however, of all types of workplaces, construction sites remain to be among the most dangerous due to all the possible sources of injuries workers are exposed to every day, like falling objects, the presence of heavy machinery, risk of electrocution, and risk of falls, especially among those working on roofs and scaffolds and those who always use ladders. Aside from these, many workers are also regularly exposed to toxic chemicals which can cause deadly and chronic illnesses.

The effects of accidents can never be undone; however, there are ways to prevent these (through strict observance of OSHA safety rules) and ways to make sure that workers who get injured on the job are never left to carry by themselves the financial burden resulting from the injury. This is because injuries will definitely render a worker unable to work, which will mean no pay during the whole duration of treatment and recuperation – just at the time when the financial needs increase, the very source of earning is cut.

To remedy this dilemma suffered by injured workers, the government passed into law the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program. This state- mandated and administered program provides immediate financial help to workers who sustain injuries while performing their job or who develop an illness due to exposure to toxic chemicals at work. Workers’ Compensation or Workers’ Comp covers lost wages, cost of medical treatment, disability, rehabilitation, retraining, and death (this may include payment of benefits to survivors of workers killed on the job).

Workers’ Comp pays benefits to injured workers regardless of who was at fault in the accident (there is no need for an injured worker to file a case in court just to avail of the benefits); however, if the injury was self-inflicted, was sustained because the worker was drunk, or was a result of actions in violation of OSHA law or company safety policy, then a worker’s application for a claim will be denied.

Work-related injuries under the workers’ compensation laws can include aggravations of prior injuries and conditions as well.

In the state of Pennsylvania, specifically, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides legal guidelines for payment of workers’ compensation benefits. State law governs WC coverage, though some employees may be covered by other federal compensation laws. All companies must have workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees in Pennsylvania. However, unfortunately some employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance despite what the law says. In Pennsylvania, an employee injured at work while working for an uninsured employer may pursue benefits from the Pennsylvania Uninsured Employer’s Guaranty Fund. However, there are several deadlines applicable under the law creating the Uninsured Fund, so it is important that you contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured at work.”

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The Dangers of Defective Seat Belts

Feb 19, 2017 by

Seat belts are some of the most vital safety equipment in vehicles, along with airbags. They prevent drivers and passengers from sustaining traumatic injuries in collisions and ejections. But sometimes, the drivers and passengers sustain unnecessary injuries because of defective seat belts. According to a defective seat belt article from the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, careless manufacturers may be held liable.

Common Seat Belt Defects
Defective seat belts can manifest in many ways, but there are defects that are much common than the others. Below are the most common defects involving seat belts.

  • Improper latching: Seat belts that do not buckle or latch properly are extremely dangerous when an accident occurs, because they may lack the power to restrain the occupant and cause him or her to be thrown or ejected.
  • Loose constriction: Like improperly latched seat belts, loosely constricting seat belts do not have restraining power to hold on to an occupant in case of a crash, possibly causing a traumatic injury.
  • Excessive restriction: Seat belts that are too tight can also be considered defective. They should be loose enough to allow movement and restrictive enough to prevent occupants from getting ejected.
  • Weak materials: The use of weak materials and products to create seat belts also poses a danger. Seat belts that are composed of substandard materials may not have optimal functionality and may even be the reasons for injury.

Injuries from Defective Seat Belts
Most injuries sustained from defective seat belts are from the force of the collision itself and the seat belts’ inability to protect their occupants. The worst injuries are fatal or lifelong, such as severe traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, neck fractures, and internal bleeding. Other injuries may not be as bad, but they still pose serious threats to your health, such as spinal cord injuries, whiplash, chest and back issues, and shoulder and arm problems.

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