(844) 815-9632

employers

Federal Court: Civil Rights Act Protects Gay, Lesbian Workers From Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Because it was enacted in 1964, many have wondered whether gay and lesbian workers were also protected under the law. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals answered that question this week, ruling that Title VII protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The court reasoned that the statute's ban on sex discrimination also prohibited sexual orientation discrimination because, among other reasons, the discrimination is based on outdated gender stereotypes. Here's a look: Stereotypical Discrimination The plaintiff in the case, Kimberly Hively, contends that she was passed over for full-time employment at Ivy Tech Community College because she is lesbian. Her central claim, as it pertains to Title VII, is that this discrimination was based on her sex or gender -- that, had she been a man, she would not have been discriminated against for being sexually attracted to women. And the majority found it persuasive: Viewed through the lens of the gender non-conformity line of cases, Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype (at least as understood in a place such as modern America, which views heterosexuality as the norm and other forms of sexuality as exceptional): she is not heterosexual ... Hively's claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces, such as fire departments, construction, and policing. The employers in those cases were policing the boundaries of what jobs or behaviors they found acceptable for a woman (or in some cases, for a man). Essentially, Hivey was still discriminated against based on her sex in that she did not conform to stereotypes about female sexual orientation. A Definitive Decision? The court's decision is groundbreaking. Until now, the majority of courts interpreting Title VII have held that it did not cover discrimination based solely on sexual orientation. While the Second Circuit found that sexual-orientation discrimination wasn't explicitly prohibited by Title VII, it recently found that gay workers who were subject to gender stereotyping still had the right bring sex discrimination claims. The Supreme Court has yet to decide the issue, but may need to soon, giving the disagreement between circuits. For now, the Seventh Circuit's ruling applies only to its own jurisdiction: Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Related Resources: Find Employment Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Seventh Circuit Holds That Title VII Forbids Anti-Gay Job Discrimination (The Washington Post) LGBT Worker Protections Missing in Mississippi and Most States (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) 5 Signs of Employment Discrimination (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Timeline for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

If your first thought after a work injury isn't, "When can I get back to work," it's probably, "When can I get paid for getting injured at work." Missing work is tough, especially if you're missing paychecks, too. If you got injured on the job, you probably know you can file a workers' compensation insurance claim. But how long is that going to take? While all cases are unique, here's a quick look at what to expect from your workers' comp claim. Your Steps The timeline for your workers' compensation claim begins at your injury, and there are some steps you'll want to take immediately to ensure your claim is reviewed and completed as quickly as possible. First, take care of yourself and seek any necessary medical attention, even if you're worried you can't afford it. Most states require employers or their insurance company to pay for an injured employee's medical bills as soon as they file a claim. So you do not have to wait until your claim is approved to receive compensation for medical costs. Second, report the injury to your employer, and, if possible, report the injury in writing and keep a copy of the report for personal records. Your employer is then required to offer you a claim form immediately. Make sure the claim form is filled out completely and specifically and that you file it as soon as possible. You should also keep a copy of your completed claim form for your records as well. Employer and Insurer Steps Once your employer receives your claim form, it is their responsibility to immediately notify their insurance company and arrange medical assistance and compensation for you. Your employer may also be required to complete and file a wage verification form with the insurer within a certain amount of time after your claim or compensation form. After receiving your claim, the insurer generally has 30 days to either accept or deny your claim and notify you of its decision. (Be aware this time limit can vary by state.) If your claim is approved, the insurer must start paying out benefits soon after. If your claim is denied, you can request a hearing to review the decision. There is a time limit on the request for a hearing, normally around 60 days after you received notice of denial. A hearing date will then be set, usually within 30 days of your request. After the hearing, the hearing officer normally has 15 days to make a final decision. If you need help filing a workers' comp claim, or if your claim has been denied, you may want to contact a local workers' comp attorney for advice. Related Resources: Hurt on the job? Have your injury claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) How Long Do I Have to Be Employed to Get Workers' Comp? (FindLaw's Injured) How Long Will Workers' Compensation Benefits Last? (FindLaw's Injured) When Is It Too Late to Sue for Injury? (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

What Can and Cannot Be Expunged From Your Criminal Record?

It's welcome news to many criminal defendants that they can have their record expunged. While expungement might not be perfect -- most law enforcement agencies will still be able to see your arrest history and any convictions -- it means potential employers will have a harder time seeing your mistakes. But which mistakes are eligible for expungement, and which will remain on your permanent record? General Information For the most part, expungement eligibility is determined by the severity of the crime and the person's criminal record. State law can vary, but expungement is normally available for crimes committed as a juvenile and most misdemeanors, so long as you don't have an extensive criminal history. Also, expungement is usually a one-time deal -- if you're convicted of crimes committed after expungement, those are likely to stay on your record. Arresting Information Just because you've been arrested doesn't mean you're guilty. But a record of your arrest may pop up on a background check. Luckily most states will expunge an arrest record, especially if there was no conviction. And expungement can be part of a negotiated plea bargain. Getting rid of that online mug shot, however, might be a tougher task. Conviction Information If you've been convicted of a crime, whether you can clear your record will come down to state and local rules on expungement. Some states allow you to expunge a DUI conviction, some do not. This can come up especially if you're trying to expunge an out-of-state conviction. And some states are more likely to expunge a conviction after a certain amount of time has passed. No matter where you live, however, felony convictions are very difficult, if not impossible, to get expunged. The main criteria for most expungement decisions is the severity and nature of the event for which expungement is sought. Felony convictions normally involve more serious crimes, making them harder to get off your record. The expungement process can be complicated, and it certainly helps to have an experienced criminal law attorney on your side. If you have questions about your criminal record or want to have it expunged, contact one today. Related Resources: Find Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) The FindLaw Guide to Expungement (FindLaw PDF) Got Priors? How to Expunge Criminal Records (FindLaw Blotter) When Must You Disclose an Expungement? (FindLaw Blotter)
continue reading

Can I Get Workers’ Comp If I Work From Home?

You work from home but have an employer. One day, while at home, you trip over the dog running to answer the phone, and it is a work call. You're injured from the fall and apply for workers' compensation. Will your claim be denied? You can get workers' compensation if you work from home, but the location may complicate your claim. State statutes vary, and each claim is decided based on the specific details involved, so it is difficult to say in the abstract what will happen. Still, one contested Oregon case demonstrates the typical issues. Work-Related Injury People can and do apply for compensation for injuries sustained on the job but at home. The decision to grant or deny will turn on the wording of state statutes and your case specifics. The Oregon workers' compensation statute says that a compensable injury must "arise out of" and occur "in the course of a worker's employment." In Sandberg v. JC Penney, a woman actually did trip over her dog while going to her garage, where she kept her employer's materials. Her workers' comp claim was initially denied but on appeal the denial was reversed. The woman was a designer and worked in a studio for her employer only once a week, spending the rest of the time on the road or at home. In that case, the appellate court decided that her injury did arise out of and in the course of her employment because her home premises were also her work premises. The designer was required to keep materials at home as part of her job and once the home premises and the work premises are deemed one, "it follows that the hazards of home premises encountered in connection with the performance of the work are also hazards of the employment." Specifics Matter The appellate court concluded, "Here, because employer did not provide space for claimant to perform all of her work tasks, she was required -- as a condition of her employment and for the benefit of her employer-- to work in her home and garage." As you can see, specifics make all the difference. Someone who was not a designer or who did not have to travel might not have had the same outcome as Sandberg. It helps to have your claim reviewed by a lawyer so that you emphasize the important details in your case. Talk to a Lawyer If you're applying for workers' compensation, speak to a lawyer today. Get help and guidance. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case. Related Resources: Hurt on the job? Have your injury claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Workers' Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Workers' Comp Benefits and Returning to Work (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) What Types of Injuries Are Compensable Under Workers' Compensation? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
continue reading

Santa Claus Sideswiped My Car! Accidents With Delivery Vehicles

It’s not easy delivering toys to children worldwide in a single night. So maybe Santa’s sleigh rolled a stop sign trying to save some time, and caught your car right on the rear fender. Did he stay long enough to give his insurance information? And since Santa was driving a delivery vehicle for work, how does that affect your injury claim? Here’s what you need to know if Kris Kringle crumpled your bumper: Frozen First Steps An accident with Santa, or any other delivery vehicle, is much like any other car accident. And your first steps after an accident are always crucial: Stay on the Scene: You’re probably in a rush yourself, but leaving the scene of an accident can be a crime. Inquire About Injuries: Check on the reindeer and Santa himself — make sure everyone is OK and call for medical attention if needed. Exchange Information: Make sure you get Santa’s insurance info and other relevant details like license and sleigh plate number, and provide your own. Gather Data: Get as much information about the accident as possible, including eyewitness statements from elves or anyone else who saw the accident, and document the scene with photos and notes. Make Contact: Santa may tell you he can take care of the damage and that there’s no need to get insurance companies involved, but not reporting the accident could revoke your insurance and, if the accident is serious, you should also contact the police so they can file a report. Deep Delivery Pockets Being hit by a delivery vehicle can offer different legal remedies if you’re injured. Not only is Santa’s insurance on the hook, employers can be held liable for their employees’ negligent acts. So, if one of the elves was behind the reins or Rudolph was making a delivery run, Santa and Santa Industries could be at fault. Even if the sleigh wasn’t on a delivery run, if it was being used “in the course of employment,” the company or employer can be sued along with the driver. Stay safe on the roads out there this holiday season. And if Santa runs into your Chevy instead of sliding down your chimney, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident attorney. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries? (FindLaw) FedEx Truck Crashes Into Bus in Calif.; 10 Killed (FindLaw’s Injured) 5 Car Accident Myths (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Frostbite?

Workers’ compensation is theoretically available for any injury caused by your job, including frostbite. The extent to which you can ultimately recover will depend on how severe the injury is and how much time and expense it costs in lost work and healthcare. The specifics vary from state to state, and certain industries follow special standards, so you will have to look into the particular law that applies to you. But here are the basics on workers’ compensations claims, using frostbite as the example injury. Causal Connection, Not Casual Workers’ compensation claims are not lawsuits. If you are injured at work or by a task causally connected to your job, it is a benefit that is available to compensate for expenses. It is a kind of insurance claim. The key to getting compensation is a causal connection between work and injury. Read carefully — that is causal, and not casual. For example, if you work outdoors and, as a result of spending so much time outside, end up with frostbite so severe it keeps you from work and has you seeing specialists, chances are good your claim will be covered. If, however, you work in an office and just went vacationing in Mount Everest, where you got frostbite, do not file. There is no causal connection between your injury and your claim and, therefore, no benefit due to you. Workers compensation is only for work-related injury. Are You Covered? States do not all extend the benefit of workers’ compensation to everyone. Depending on where you live and what you do, it may not apply to you, unfortunately. There are states that require employers to cover undocumented workers, but very few, while others do not include domestic help in the covered worker category. Note too that worker’s compensation is for employees and many contract workers are not covered. Do You Need a Lawyer? As you can see, figuring out whether you can file a claim can be complicated. You do not need a lawyer to apply for workers’ compensation but it can help. Attorneys are expert administrators, accustomed to handling official forms and paperwork. A lawyer can ensure your claim goes smoothly and defend it if it is denied. It costs nothing to consult with counsel and the guidance could be very valuable. Related Resources: Hurt on the job? Have your injury claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Workers’ Comp Benefits Explained (FindLaw) Workers’ Comp Benefits and Returning to Work (FindLaw)
continue reading

Pay Gap Worsens for Women at the Top

I just read an article titled, “Wage Gap is Worse for Women at the Top,” by Vivia Chen on the The Careerist. Since it requires a subscription, I will try to give you some of the highlights of the studies that she includes in her article. In summary, a new study by PayScale found that “the pay gap widens as you climb the corporate ladder, that men get promoted faster than women, and that women report more negative feelings about job satisfaction, job stress, and communication with their employers.” Lydia Frank, who works with Payscale, addressed the findings in an article for Harvard Business Review and discussed four of the most sticking findings: The gender gap widens as women advance in their careers. This range widens from 2.2% for Individual Contributors to 6.1% for Executives. Leadership training helps women increase earnings, but the same training has shown to help men more. Women need professional advocates. Males with role models see greater salary benefits than women with role models. We also need mentors. Working mothers are making less than working fathers. Frank recommends that companies take proactive steps to correct gender inequity within their companies. She suggests they review compensation packages for employees and make adjustments to cure the gap.  She also advocates for a more transparent approach to discussing pay with employees – which will go a long way in addressing the lack of trust women feel in the workplace. Why do I keep coming back to these statistics? I think there are many women in all levels of positions of power that don’t seem to be moved to action at all. Particularly some women at the top of the legal profession seem indifferent to the overall problems that many women in the field are facing. They may feel that they have succeeded why can’t you? They may feel a lack of responsibility to pay it back through helping other women in the field. The portion of Frank’s piece that most irks me is that even when women have mentors they aren’t advocating for them for equal or higher pay.  When are women going to get the memo that if more women succeed it doesn’t diminish the opportunities for continued success for one of us but enhances us all. Men understand the team approach and pulling each other up, if it has worked for them, can’t the same be true for women in the field? The post Pay Gap Worsens for Women at the Top appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
continue reading

Can I Sue for Being Overworked?

You’re lucky if you work 40 hours per week. Many other employees work 50, 60, or even 70 hours per week. Constantly working too many hours can have serious negative impact on your health, your state of mind, and even your social life. Are you overworking yourself because you need extra money? Or, is your employer overworking you because the business doesn’t want to hire another employee? Can you sue for being overworked? No Law Limits an Employee’s Hours There is no law limiting the total number of hours an employer can make an employee work. So, there is no cause of action for you to sue for being overworked.However, there may be other issues that can enable you to sue or to seek compensation. Overtime Pay An employer can require you to work as many hours as they want as long as they pay you. Federal and state labor laws require overtime pay for hours worked above a certain level. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay overtime if an employee works more than 40 hours per week. Any hours worked over 40 hours must be paid at one and one half the employee’s regular rate of pay. Sadly, this rule currently does not apply to exempt employees who perform executive, professional, or administrative duties. Some state laws are even more generous to employees. In California, employers must pay overtime if an employee works more than eight hours per day, even if they do not eventually work more than 40 hours per week. If your employer is making your work more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day, in certain states, without paying overtime, consult an experienced wage and hour law attorney for help. Workers’ Compensation In addition to suing for overtime, you may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim if overworking affects you physically. According to the Mayo Clinic, working too much can cause headache, neck pain, back pain, depression, or chronic fatigue. Also, if you work more than 10 hours per day, you have 60 percent higher chance of getting a heart attack than someone who works only eight hours per day. When you are injured at work by your work duties or the conditions of your work, workers’ compensation pays you for your medical bills and lost wages. If you suffer an injury because you are overworked, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help. Related Resources: Hurt on the job? Have your injury claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Ca. Overtime Laws Apply to Nonresident Workers (FindLaw’s Free Enterprise) Could Young Associate’s Death Have Been From Overworking at Firm? (FindLaw’s Greedy Associates) Did Long Hours, Overwork Kill Skadden Associate, 32? (FindLaw’s Greedy Associates)
continue reading

Do I Have to Notify My Employer of My Pregnancy?

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that the initial excitement and adrenaline has worn off, you probably have a lot of questions. Many mothers like to wait until after the first trimester to tell friends and family about a pregnancy. But, what about your employer? Do you have to notify your employer about your pregnancy, and when? Sharing the Good News As always, the answer to this question is complicated. Legally, you are under no obligation or deadline to tell your employer about your pregnancy. However, you may want to consider doing so as soon as possible. There are many legal protections and benefits for pregnant women at work, and the only way you can take advantage of those benefits is to notify your employer about your pregnancy. Disability and Accommodations Don't be afraid to tell your employer about your pregnancy. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against you based on your pregnancy. They cannot refuse to hire, fire, change your job assignments or pay, or make promotion or demotion decisions based on your pregnancy. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Acts covers impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This means employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy related disability. Family Medical Leave Act In addition to accommodations, you may be entitled to leave during and after your pregnancy. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for family or medical reasons each year. Pregnancy is a covered medical reason for FMLA leave. To be eligible to take FMLA leave, you must: Work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles Worked for the employer for at least 12,50 hours over a 12 month period Notice Normally, you should notify your employer at least 30 days before you want to take FMLA leave. If leave is needed in an emergency and was unforeseeable then you have to notify the employer as soon as possible. While there is no legal requirement on when you must tell your employer of your pregnancy, you should do so as soon as possible if you think you may need accommodations or at least 30 days ahead of time if you intend to take FMLA leave. If an employer discriminates against you because of your pregnancy or denies leave, consult with an experienced employment lawyer for help. Related Resources: Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) EEOC's New Pregnancy-Discrimination Guide: What Moms Need to Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)/li> UPS Pregnancy Case at the Supreme Court: 5 Things You Should Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do Employers Have to Provide Accommodations for Pregnant Employees? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Where to Find Up-To-Date Legal Forms

While we recommend that you have an attorney help you with legal filings, we do recognize that there are times when you may be able to complete some legal forms yourself. For most motions, complaints, and pleadings, you no longer have to write it out on pleading papers. Most courts have created forms that are easy to fill out. The hard part is finding where to get those forms and making sure that they're the most current forms available. Here is a list of resources where you can find the forms you need for your legal case. 1. FindLaw's Legal Forms Do you want to know how to make a will, or incorporate your business, or write a residential lease? FindLaw's Legal Forms not only has the state specific forms that you need but also guidance on how to fill out those forms. 2. Court Self-Help Centers Most courts have self-help legal centers where you can get free help from staff attorneys to fill out legal forms. The center will also be able to guide you to the forms that you'll need your specific issues. However, these attorneys are not going to be able to give you legal advice or represent you in court. 3. State Court Websites The best place to check for local legal forms is your state's court website: California -- California's court website has forms that are current as of July 1, 2015. Under the Forms and Rules tab, you can search for forms by category, name or number. New York -- On New York's court website, you can find free court forms under the Representing Yourself tab. There are also free do-it-yourself forms to guide you through the process of preparing a court form. Utah -- For legal help in Utah, the state's court website has an Online Court Assistance Program that can help you draft documents for divorce, landlord tenant issues, guardianships, and other legal matters. Washington -- In addition to all court forms, Washington's court website also has a selections of forms translated in Spanish. The state is working to translate more forms into more languages such as Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Chinese, Russian, and Cambodian soon. Related Resources: Family Law Forms by State (FindLaw's Learn About The Law) How Do You Find Free Legal Aid? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Free Legal Aid for Undocumented UC Students (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Getting a Divorce? 3 Ways to Get Help (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading
12