Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Statistically Probable Unlawful Termination Case

The California Labor Code mandates that an employee is considered as “at-will” employee unless he/she is hired for a certain period. It implies that an employee could be fired for any reasons or no reason at all. However, an employee could not be fired because of discrimination or unlawful causes.

Hard data on employment litigations are elusive although a widespread perception tells us that employment cases in both state and federal courts have swelled up.

Consequently, most studies on employment cases such as wrongful termination have focused only on jury verdicts rather than on the total filings.

For instance, a Phoenix private preschool teacher won $1.8 million award in a wrongful termination case. Also in 2003, a Yuba County California jury has awarded a doctor a staggering amount of $24 million in compensatory and punitive damages for his dismissal from a hospital.

Figures might not have been exact to inform us of the real deal on wrongful termination. But the fact remains that many employers have exercise their power to terminate indiscriminately.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reasonable Accommodations

Religious discrimination just like any other form of discrimination is rising. Religious practices and beliefs often become source of disagreement between employers and employees.

revealed that in fiscal year 2006, it received 2,541 charges of religious discrimination. Out of them, a total of 2,387 charges were resolved and approximately $5.7 million were recovered in monetary benefits for accusing parties and other aggrieved individuals.

It is a fundamental right of every person to have her or his religion respected. Hence, the law gives employees the right to have their religious needs accommodated by the employer. For instance, an employee shall be given a time in a day to pray or a certain day off to attend to religious obligations.

On the other hand, the employers could not also make decisions which greatly depend on the employees’ religious beliefs. Religious accommodations would be set aside if it would entail prejudice and harm to the business or company.

Apparently, a contradiction exists. As an employer, you must give preference to these accommodations. However, if accommodating these religious practices would mean causing morale problems or other serious concerns then it may be set aside.

The gauge is this; an employer must have room for employees’ religious accommodations or give preference, at least. These reasonable accommodations are not only legally imposed but also morally encouraged. Otherwise, the employer shall be open to religious discrimination cases.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Protecting Californians from Housing Discrimination

The US government is serious in its mission of leveling the playing field by minimizing discrimination in all areas.

The Department of Fair and Equal Housing (DFEH) is a government department, which ensures that every Californian employee is given the equal opportunity to housing privileges. It aims to protect employees not only from employment discrimination but more so with housing discrimination.

DFEH accepts complaints of discrimination in areas such as employment, public accommodations, housing and hate violence. Complaints filed before it are investigated as to the veracity of the allegations.

It serves as a fact finder. It assists the parties in resolving their issues. If sufficient evidence has been found as to the existence of discrimination, a formal accusation may be filed. A public hearing or a lawsuit follows.

Housing is a necessity. We need a roof on our heads for security and convenience. The last thing we want is to be discriminated against.

It is rewarding to know that the government is doing its responsibility towards us. Victims of employment or housing discrimination have now a venue to redress their claims and grievances. If you have been a victim, feel free to visit DFEH. Surely, you will find answer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Workplace Retaliation

Retaliation due to raising issues against the employer is not only unethical but also unlawful.

Retaliation often results when an employee reports an illegal or unlawful act against the employer and the latter retaliates by means of firing said employee or decreasing her or his benefits.

Retaliation may be committed not only against the employee who filed a complaint. It may also be committed against fellow employees who serve as witnesses or in any manner participated in the case.

Even in school setting, retaliation is also practiced. Take the example of a drama teacher at Yale University where after reporting an incident of sexual harassment she was dismissed from work.

It is of common knowledge that retaliation is proscribed and not taken sitting taken down. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act specifically make workplace retaliation illegal.

Many cases of retaliation have been filling up the court dockets. It only signifies that many employers have retaliated against those who filed cases or complaints or participated in any proceedings against the employer.

The California Supreme Court made it clear, however, that supervisors who allegedly retaliated cannot be held personally liable for such act.

Retaliation is never helpful. It could never cultivate a healthy environment between the employer and employees and among employees themselves.

Monday, October 27, 2008

ADA Provisions on Reasonable Accommodation

A disabled employee or worker has certain privileges that other employees do not normally enjoy, even before being hired and when is employed. Reasonable accommodation is a right guaranteed by law to individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The article, “Five Questions Regarding Reasonable Accommodation Employers Should Know”, posted on October 14, 2008, answers some of the questions regarding reasonable accommodation, how to handle a request and identifies some of its common forms.

However, the reasonable accommodation that the law provides has certain limitation to employers. According to law, a disabled employee can be granted this privilege provided it will not cause “undue hardship” to an employer.

Undue hardship means “a significant difficulty or expense and focuses on the resources and circumstances of the particular employer in relationship to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation”. It refers not only to financial difficulty but also to reasonable accommodations that are “unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business”.

Under the ADA, when a request for reasonable accommodation has been made, an employer – if it will not cause him undue hardship - has no recourse but to grant the request.

Reasonable accommodation can take the following form:

• Modification or adjustment in a job application process or during the hiring process

• Modification or adjustment to the work environment

• Modification or adjustments to enable a disabled employee to have equal benefits and privileges as those employees without disabilities

A disabled employee who encounters difficulty seeking modification or adjustments in his job should immediately consult with an employment lawyer regarding possible violations of this ADA provision.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lilly Ledbetter bill, a Move for Fair Pay

Some of us may still remember the story of Lilly Ledbetter. She was once a supervisor in Goodyear Tire plant who discovered that for several years that she had been working in the said company – she was receiving far less than her male contemporaries.

She sued the company in courts. Theory of the case is discrimination in terms of payment. The courts agreed with her, that indeed this was a case of discriminatory pay practices. But upon reaching the Supreme Court, the highest tribunal overturned the decision of lower courts.

The Court said that according to the law, Ledbetter should have filed the discrimination complaint the moment the discriminatory act began.

The Supreme Court, understandably bound by law, didn’t consider the argument that she couldn’t have filed the same on time as she had no way of knowing that a discriminatory act was being committed against her.

Ledbetter lost in her battle.

Taking notice of the soundness and logic of Ledbetter’s situation, a bill was made in her name and recently, the Senate voted on it to become the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Restoration Act. It substantially provides that each new paycheck be subject to a discrimination complaint.

Presently, the issue of fair pay and discrimination against women reaches the political debate.

It is likely that new legislation and measures in labor and employment laws will take place considering the economic downturn that the country, nay, the world, is experiencing. With the feisty campaign, economic situation and all the others that are happening out there – one can only hope and pray.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quitting the Job: Not a Condition Precedent for Filing Disability Claim

Disability can often get in the way of our work. It prevents us from being efficient and effective. It affects not only our physical being but also our financial state and our personal interaction with others.

The fact remains that it is during disability that we should have the most of everything. We need the most care, understanding, money and support.

To help us with the financial burden, we can file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Disability benefits can be under the supplemental security income (SSI) program or social security disability insurance (SSDI). Hence, we come to the query of whether we have to quit work or not before we can file our disability claim.

No! The applicant need not stop working before filing with SSA. Practically, he or she need not wait to succumb totally to such disability. In fact, it is advised to file the disability claim immediately.

In filing a disability claim, the primary consideration is that the applicant has a medical illness that is expected to last for not less than one year and such illness prevents him or her from performing any substantial gainful activity.

Needless to say, the applicant must present proof of his or her medical condition to support the claim of disability.

Becoming disable is not an option for me but in the event that I become one, at least I know what to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Arthritis as an ADA-Defined Impairment

A growing number of California workers are reportedly afflicted with arthritis and it is fast becoming a medical concern for many employers as an increasing number of employees are filing disability discrimination claims under this impairment.

The article, “Arthritis as a Medical Disability in the California Workplace”, posted on October 7, 2008, noted this growing affliction among California workers and warned employers of making discriminatory acts against workers who have arthritis.

Under the law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against any worker based on his disability or medical condition. However, to be able to file discrimination claims against an employer, a worker must first determine whether his medical condition qualifies as a disability as defined by law which is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA defines disability in three ways:

1. a physical or mental impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities

2. a worker has a record of such an impairment

3. a worker is regarded as having such an impairment

On the other hand, a physical impairment is defined by ADA as "any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine."

But not all the diseases or conditions covered by this definition are actually listed under the ADA or the regulations that implement it, which include a disability such as arthritis.

Arthritis, as a medical condition, is a rheumatic disease characterized by inflammation of the joints. It can be caused by several factors such as injury, metabolic abnormalities, hereditary factors and infections.

However, having a medical condition like arthritis is not a reason for an employer to discriminate against a worker or employee.

If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination due to your disability or impairment, you have to consult with a lawyer immediately.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Texting might have caused the fatal train accident

Another blow to the government’s reinforced program and measure against the use of mobile phone while driving has been delivered.

Recent developments in the still on-going investigation of the fatal train accident in California reveals that the Metrolink engineer who was driving the train sent text messages moments before the crash occurs.

One expert estimated that the last text message was sent approximately five seconds after the engineer drive through the red signal. Others said that the last message was sent after the light which could have been the cause of the failure of the driver to see the oncoming train.

While Los Angeles Times reports that according to the preliminary information released by the federal authorities, the Metrolink engineer sent a text message from his mobile phone nearly 22 seconds before the actual impact. The driver was said to have also received text a minute earlier. All in all, he sent 57 messages while on duty.

With these findings, it becomes clear that the engineer was in perfect good health before the accident – thus, negating some theories linking his health condition to the crash.

It becomes clear that he was violating the Metrolink policy, and the law, against using cellular phones while on the job. It somehow becomes clear now whose negligence, at least initially, was it that produced the fatal and horrible train accident.

With this, inevitable legal consequences against Metrolink will surely follow. The victims of this accident, we need not say, needs justice, vindication and reparation for their losses – loss of life, damages and injuries to them and their loved ones.

It will become clearer as the investigation reveals more. Irrespective some statements that the feds investigation dubiously leads to their initial “no-basis” pronouncements, truth will come out – which is just what the victims, their families and the commuting public needs during these times.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Managers and employers to share in the tips - illegal

For now, the rule of the thumb in California is: employers, managers, supervisors or any employer’s agent, may not take part in the division of tips between and among employees. Meaning, what goes on the tip box, pooled together and divided among employees, cannot be shared to above-mentioned individuals. To do so would violate the law.

A CA court so said when it ordered coffee chain giant Starbucks Corporation to pay its baristas more than a whopping $100 million in back tips that the company paid to its shift supervisors.

The ruling of the court is essentially prohibiting managers and supervisors from sharing in the “employee gratuities”. As of the time of this writing, the case is probably elevated on appeal as a spokesperson for the company already signified their intention to an immediate appeal – further on saying that the ruling is “fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason.”

But for now, that is the rule in California. Any case similar to this one may also be brought before the court with the help of a competent employment attorney.

The initial lone complainant in this case, who was later on joined by nearly 100,000 former and current Starbucks baristas in a class-action suit, felt vindicated by the judgment – issued a statement saying, “tips really help those receiving the lowest wages. I think Starbucks should pay shift supervisors high wages instead of taking money from the tip pool.”

There are at least hundreds, if not thousands, of establishments similarly situated with the Starbucks case in California nowadays. As it stands, it is illegal for managers, shift supervisors or any employers’ agent to share in the tips. If this happens or if an employer still employs this practice – contact an expert Los Angeles attorney right away.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Periods for Filing Discrimination Charges

Fighting sexual harassment in the workplace may not be a simple task. Even filing a complaint may take courage and great determination for a victim.

Sexual harassment can take many forms and depends on the circumstances. According to law, this act may consist of “vulgar or lewd comments, or forcing workers to wear sexually revealing uniforms. It can involve unwanted physical touching or fondling, or suggestions to engage in sexual conduct”. Even obscene or sexually suggestive cartoons and posters can be sexual harassment. Occasional inappropriate touching, off-color jokes, or repeated sexual references can be sexual harassment.

In deciding on a case, courts often consider the nature, severity, and frequency of the conduct, as well as the conditions under which the conduct occurred.

The first step in fighting sexual harassment is filing a complaint against an offender. The victim may lodge her complaint with any Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office. This can be done in person, by mail or by telephone.

To ensure that the EEOC may effectively act to protect your rights, you must observe some guidelines when filing charges of discrimination. Here are periods that must be observed:

• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) charges must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.

• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII charges.

• Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII and the ADA.

• Equal Pay Act (EPA) - Individuals are not required to file an EPA charge with EEOC before filing a private lawsuit. However, charges may be filed with EEOC and some cases of wage discrimination may be violations of Title VII. If an EPA charge is filed with EEOC, the procedure for filing is the same as for charges brought under Title VII. However, the time limits for filing in court are different under the EPA; thus, it is advisable to file a charge as soon as you become aware the EPA may have been violated.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Firemen’s Employment Discrimination

The majority of job applicants in this City, or any city, county or municipality for that matter, didn’t know that they have been a victim of some form of discrimination. Large chunk of our citizens has a common misconception that employment discrimination exists only when one is already hired or already an employee of the employer.

Recently, news about potential firemen who weren’t ultimately accepted albeit have passed all the necessary exams and other requirement because they failed in the medical examination, hit the headlines – or at least becomes subject of murmurs.

Truth be told, there can be discrimination in this aspect. One can be unfairly and discriminately deprived of a possible future employment because of a certain medical condition.

Under the law, particularly ADA, it is unlawful for private employers, state and local governments and employment agencies and labor unions to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in the following:

• Job application procedures
• Hiring
• Firing
• Advancement
• Compensation
• Job training
• Employment terms
• Employment conditions
• Employment privileges

If you are among the firemen candidates who believe that you were unfairly and discriminately treated in your job application, our expert Los Angeles attorneys are willing to help you. After more than a decade of handling cases of discrimination, we have recorded one of the highest, if not the highest, settlement amounts reaching more than $1M made from claims arising from employment discrimination.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jogger Awfully Killed in Pedestrian Accident

This blog on motorcycle accidents retell the story of a jogger who was killed in Oak Park reportedly because of a car accident. The accident, which claimed the life of a once lively, pro-active woman, happened one fine morning.

The authorities identified the jogger as Karey Marsh, 46, resident of Thousand Oaks. She was doing her early morning routine when then came a driver who turned out to be driving under the influence and bump her with his car.

Karey was reportedly thrown approximately 30 feet into thick bushes on the side of the road. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident near the intersection of Lindero Canyon Road and Bowfield Street.

The driver was identified as Nicolas Lagrotta, 23 years old. He was driving southbound on Lindero Canyon Road near Bowfield Street around 6:25 in the morning, when, for reasons known only to him, he suddenly swerved off the roadway and struck Karey who was then jogging in the bike lane.

Nicholas didn’t know he has killed Karey, not until police deputies suspected he had hit someone when they saw a jogging shoe on the pavement. They even have to use a thermal camera to find Karey’s body in the bushes – they even have to cut though heavy shrubs to be able to take her.

Nicholas suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital. He was later on arrested for vehicular manslaughter and suspicion that he was driving under the influence.

The gravity of the consequence of this pedestrian accident caused by Nicholas is despicable. The full force of the law must be applied to him. He has wronged someone – gravely. He must, at all cost, pay – dearly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Revisited

It has been said that one of the additional forces which create racial discrimination, is disability. Pieces of legislation are passed to address the issue with the main aim of preventing, if not totally eradicating, discrimination. One of these laws is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the following:

• programs conducted by Federal agencies
• programs receiving Federal financial assistance
• Federal employment
• employment practices of Federal contractors

As regards discrimination in employment, the standard is the same as those provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. Below are some pertinent provisions which highlight the Act and which can be basis of right and cause of action and where to file complaints.

Section 501 of the Act requires affirmative action and non-discrimination by Federal agencies of the executive branch. If you are a Federal agency employee or an applicant and you believe you were discriminated against, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

If however, it is a Federal government contractor or subcontractor with contracts more than $10,000 who/which discriminated you, it is to the Office of the Federal Contract Compliance Program where you should lodge your complaint. Such is the case because Section 503 of the Act also requires those mentioned affirmative action and prohibits them from discriminating.

If you, on the other hand, were excluded from, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by the Executive agency or the United States Postal Service, then you should go to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lastly, if you were denied access to electronic and information technology because of your disability, contact the Center for IT Accommodation of the U.S. General Services Administration for complaint.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Discrimination’s New Label?

The ratification of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) may be a welcome sign for many advocates of labor and employment issues. While this may be an addition to the so-called “arsenal of weapons” for those battling discrimination in the workplace, it may also pose a new level of risk for others, especially ordinary citizens, where the new law may impose a new restriction on freedom of some individuals

In the article, “Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act”, posted on July 29, 2008, provides important information on the new discrimination law. The newly signed law “prohibits discrimination based on genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment.

This means that genetic information derived by human genome technology must be protected and prevented from “misuse” by employers and health insurance companies to discriminate anyone.

GINA defines a "genetic information" to include a disease or disorder of an individual’s family member, as well as information revealed in an individual's genetic tests or genetic tests of an individual's family member, other than information about gender or age. It defines a "family member" very broadly, including any dependent, and any first, second, third, or fourth degree relative.

In addition, the law also prohibits retaliation, by making it illegal to discriminate against anyone who opposes violations of the Act. It also requires employers that have genetic information about an employee to maintain that information in a separate confidential medical file, and limits an employer's right to provide genetic information about an employee to anyone else.

A person, who wants to file an employment case under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act case and succeeds in it, can receive damages for lost salary and benefits, as well as emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs of litigation.

Like many other federal employment discrimination laws, an individual who has a claim under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and receive the a "right to sue" before he can file a federal lawsuit.

Although the new law may discourage misuse of genetic information on discrimination, it bothers me to think that the same information could be used for other purposes that might threaten our civil rights.

This time, is legislation necessary to safeguard our rights?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Los Angeles Safeguards and Guarantee on Discrimination and Employee’s Rights

Los Angeles, the home to people of varied nationalities from more than 140 countries, speaking 224 different languages, as can be gleaned, is indeed the common place where opportunity and pleasure is at its finest.

Los Angeles has ever-welcome immigrants from all over the world, since time being. As a fact, it has been continuously nesting varied nationalities in the realms of its territory. A good point to describe Los Angeles, I fairly said.

With the diverse culture and orientation, it cannot be easily discounted the fact that this diverse organization of people could potentially lead to race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, or age discrimination. This has bearing particularly in the workplaces and other avenues of human activities (whether discrimination in voting, housing, business, federal and state government services, medical services, education and public accommodations in hotels or restaurants and other places).

With these conditions, it is worth knowing that federal and California laws protect people in Los Angeles against such discrimination, particularly in workplace scenarios where constant discriminatory actuations happened.

California is not wanting of anti-discrimination laws in its ruling. Specifically, California has addressed discrimination by exacting laws under the following avenues:

  • California Age Discrimination Law

  • California ADA Disability Law

  • California Race Discrimination Law

  • California National Origin Discrimination Law

  • California Pregnancy Discrimination Law

  • Family Medical Leave Act

And on harassment side, California have exacted these:

  • California Sexual Harassment Law

  • California Racial Harassment Law

  • Retaliation by Employers

With these wager of laws, employees in Los Angeles, irrespective of their diverse beginnings can be held as have been safeguarded and guaranteed in their employment rights, especially against employment discrimination.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Deadly Aftermath of a Car Accident

Car accident happens due to various causes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top six leading causes of car accident re driver distractions, driver fatigue, drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving and weather.

However, nothing in the causes mentioned above can be blamed for the fatal accident that happened at the Delta-Mendota Canal.

The ill-fated accident that claimed the lives of eight people is the main thesis in the blog, “8 Dead as Vehicles Plunge into Canal after Central Valley Car Accident.”

The accident involved farm laborers. All victims were all immigrants and most were in their teens or early twenties. The accident happened on a small bridge over the canal; both vehicles smashed through the barricades and plunged into the deep water.
Upon investigation, police officers said that the bridge is becoming an accident-prone due to its substandard guardrails that made it an unreasonably dangerous highway.

This particular accident only shows that accident happen anytime, anywhere and under any circumstance. Who would have thought that the guardrails could be one of the culprits in the accident?

I am not saying that if the guardrails were sturdy then the accident would not have happened. Of course, there is no way of stopping it from happening.

What I am saying is if only the guardrails are strong enough to prevent the victims from plunging into the water then they may have been given immediate medical attention. What is next after treatment is no longer in our hands so long as all efforts to make them survive are exhausted.

In this case, those who may have sustained injuries and survived the accident itself may have died thereafter not because of the crash but because of drowning since after the accident the vehicles plunged into deep water.

It is a difficult ordeal to have died twice so to speak.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

US Congress engagement to Prohibit Toxins in Children's Products

Recently, US Congressional negotiators agreed to a ban on a family of toxins found in children's products. Specifically, the legislation was aimed to ban three types of phthalates from children's toys and to outlaw three other phthalates from products pending an extensive study of their health effects in children and pregnant women and would ban the use of lead in children's products.

The ban would virtually take effect in six months time.

Without discounting the familiar dirty lobbying in our national legislature and the anticipated wails of protestations from chemical industries, in that, we can only hope, that the force of the measure can take effect in due time.

The legislative measure, if being pushed through, would really have major implications for the U.S. consumers, whose homes probably are filled with hundreds of plastic wares designed for children that may be causing dangerous health effects. More so, it would become a major victory to parents and health experts who have been loudly insistent for the government to remove harmful toxins from toys.

For then, as I previously said, we just keep our fingers crossed to the life of the measure, and continue to be hopefuls for its ultimate passage and enforcement. We will leave the issue to the legislators.

For now, what we can do as consumers is to wait for the outcome of the measure and keep ourselves abreast with the necessary legal knowledge about product liability, in its fundamental bearings and the necessary claims covered in its mantle.

This is completely relevant, as at anytime of the day, we may use or consume products that for all we know may bring harmful effects on our health. Thus, knowing our legal rights is worthwhile endeavor for us especially nowadays where the issue on product recalls and chemical component ban on products are on high.

For these respects, you can take any available on-line tips and pertinent articles relating to product liability from various sources and avenues or for personal clarifications, to a Product Liability Lawyer.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Are Non-Disclosure Agreements Really Important

Non-disclosure agreements are legal contracts that oblige two or more parties to preserve the privacy of particular matters involved in the operation of a company. These issues may include trade secrets, procedures, client name and contacts, financial information, among others.

Although this contract is very vital for businesses, many still do not understand its purpose.

Now, let me lay down an example why it is considered so important.

Imagine that your company has been doing various skills enhancement trainings for your employees to ensure that they are continuously improving on their jobs. In these seminars, you might have as well discussed several company secret procedures and confidential information, which are inevitable to foreclose to them.

Also, after staying for several years in your company, your employees may have taken into account about other confidential issues in the business. Without having them to sign non-disclosure agreements, they may have all the means to divulge such vital information to other people or companies – especially if grievances occur on their part.

A non-disclosure agreement can be as precise as a single-paged document wherein both parties indicate an agreement to safe keep the secrecy of particular items. However, there are instances that compel some companies, particularly large ones, to prepare complex and multiple-paged non-disclosure agreements outlining other vital issues in the company operations.

Meanwhile, for those who are about to prepare their own contracts, I do advise you to read an article stating some do's and don'ts in preparing confidentiality agreements. Better yet, have a corporate lawyer to assist you in drafting a legally binding and complete agreement.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Seemingly Unstoppable Violation of Labor Law

Labor laws, I would like to believe, are there to lessen the immense power of employers. Without this great body of laws, employees will always be at the mercy of their money-hungry employers (kindly pardon the word). Without this great body of laws, slavery will persist. Albeit in a modern kind of form.

However, exactly because of the power that employers possess over the employees, many cases of labor law violations still cannot be circumvented. The law tried to deal with this by addressing the relationship between employers and the union. It recognizes the employees’ right to unionize and allow employers and employees to engage in strike, picketing, lockouts, seek injunctions, etc.

With this as a guiding principle, the Congress enacted in 1935 the National Labor Relations Act under its constitutional power to regulate intestate commerce. The law governs the employer-employee bargaining and union relationship on a national level. Under the same law, the National Labor Relations Board was established to:
  • hear disputes between employers and employees arising under the Act
  • to determine which labor union will represent employees unit
The NLRA makes it illegal for employees to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining, or assisting a labor organization for collective-bargaining purposes, or engaging in protected concerted activities or refraining from any such activity.

It is an unlawful conduct to threaten employees with loss of jobs, loss of benefits and plant closure if they join union or even just to engage in protected concerted activity. In addition, your employer cannot question you about union sympathies or activities.

Promising benefits to employees to discourage union support, transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work task, are also prohibited acts.

Despite such laws, as already intimidated above, there are still violations. Are our laws not enough? Or are laws really made to be violated? One can only surmise that may be, the problem is in the system; that may be, the seemingly unstoppable violation of labor laws can be stopped after all.

I know someone out there agreed to me on this. I know someone knew the answers. Respect the laborers. We work to live; we do not live to work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Protecting your Trade Secrets

Through the years of my practice under the field of Intellectual Property, I have observed that many cases filed for violation of trade secret result in dismissal but for one technical reason.

What many claim as a trade secret is actually not within the definition of the law of what a trade secret really means.

If you are engaged in business of some sort and you are using a certain formula, process or design for a longer period that somebody is also using, it does not mean that you can immediately claim protection, when from the law for violation of trade secrets.

Before you raise your complaint in court, you must first have to examine the merits of your case. Maybe what you are claiming as trade secret are those ideas that are already known to the public.

In addition to this, several complaints in trade secret violation are filed by employers against their former employees.

How can one avoid this situation?

To prevent this, business proprietors or employers must require their employees to sign the non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. These vital documents prohibit them from disclosing trade secrets and help employers secure business information that may be used by employees against their interests in the future. At least with this procedure they can also have a legal recourse against their employee.

Under the law an employee who violated the non-compete and non-disclosure agreement may be subjected to financial liability aside from other sanctions provided by the state or federal laws.

Cases involving trade secret violations are often complicated and may involve many delicate issues that need to be addressed and proved. Hence, if you have any issues with regard to trade secret, the best thing to do is to seek the assistance of an attorney skilled in the field of Intellectual Property.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What to do during retirement

Retirement: from the root word “retire’, which means to rest or to relax. It is the point when an individual chooses not to work anymore or to have some sort of a retirement work.

When a worker reaches retirement age, he will receive a retirement benefit coming from the Social Security. Yet more and more people choose to semi-retire or to be employed part-time from jobs which are different from what they were doing when they were actually employed.

People’s classic idea of retirement entails not working at all. Some retirees may be hitting the beach or may be buying a house in the suburbs. Retirement can only give you short-term relaxation and leisure. But after that, what do you do? After going on a month-long vacation or after catching up with some old friends, what’s next? Nothing, you’re retired remember?

A lot of people cannot bear the idea of not doing anything at all. Solution: Semi-Retirement. People who have already reached the retirement age, or those who want to retire early, are trying to work part-time. What are the reasons? Well for one, they just don’t want to stop. They have to have something to do.

Another is thing is, their pensions and social security benefits may not be enough to sustain their lifestyle or their cost of living. Studies show that retirees are not getting enough pensions to cover their expenses. In order to offset their expenses with their earnings, they still have to work, although not around the clock.

For retirees, try to venture on something you are interested in. Put up a small flower shop or a grocery store. It is a lot better than not doing anything at all. Plus the additional money could help a lot.

Retirement Benefit Lawyer can help employees understand the pros and cons of Retirement; whether it be a Total or Semi Retirement. With the help of a retirement lawyer, you can prepare for your retirement without worries.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, unsuccessful by 4 votes

In California, predominantly in Los Angeles, people of different colors are emigrating mainly because of better work opportunities and lower cost of living.

The United States of America is identified as the “melting pot” of all races. However, it is sad to realize that some races think they are far superior to the others.

It was only recently when the Democrats were unsuccessful in the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act when the Republicans blocked the Bill by a vote of 52-46. The said act was supposed to extend the 180-day period in which to file discrimination claims. Passage of said bill could have given the employees 2 years to file a claim.

Republicans contend that the passage of said bill would only clog the already busy judiciary of discrimination cases already outside the prescribed period.

I disagree with the Republicans. The bill could have given employees, like Lilly Ledbetter, more protection from employers who discriminate them on account of their gender or age. Who cares if discrimination cases build up? Isn’t this all the more reason to push through with the bill? This would only mean that democracy is alive in this country. More people could have been encouraged to voice out their grievances.

Workers, especially women, do not usually disclose to other workers their salaries. As a result, the 180-day period appears to be too short to file a discrimination case.

The law and numerous court rulings point out that the interest of the people should be the country’s primary concern. Why then should the victims of discrimination be left with limited protection, just so the judges could have lesser work to do? Public interest is, I believe, by far more important than observing mere procedural technicalities.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Possible Damages in Patent Infringement Violations

Violations on the use of one’s trademark or product name and design constitute patent infringement. An infringement occurs when any party manufactures, sells, imports, uses and offers a patented technology. In simple terms, anyone who sells a product similar to an existing licensed product is considered a violation of the law.

The article, "Santa Ana Patent Attorneys File Patent Infringement Lawsuit to Protect Wheel Design Patent from Copying", posted on June 4, 2008, discusses how difficult it is to pursue litigation against violators of one’s patent rights.

The case stemmed from a patent infringement lawsuit initiated by the inventor of a wheel design against a company who allegedly sells a similar product with similar design. Although the complaint was filed almost a year ago, and a cease and desist letter was sent to the patent pirate, no response has been received yet.

Patent pirates should realize that they could be held liable for their actions under the law.

When a court or jury determines that someone has infringed on another’s patent, the infringer can face several penalties. Violators face the following penalties for patent infringement:
  • The infringer will be required to pay a certain amount of money to the patent owner, which are made up of several components.
  • An infringer will have to pay money to compensate the inventor for the wrongful use of the patented invention. The specific amount, which can be determined by either a jury or the court, is calculated by figuring out what the infringer would have had to pay if he had legally licensed the invention, which is known as a royalty rate.
  • Under special circumstances, the court can take this royalty amount and awards triple the amount, known as “treble damages.” This is done where the infringer was found to act willfully or intentionally, knowing there was a patent in existence and infringing anyway.
  • The infringer is also likely to be required to pay interest on the money owed as well as the patent owner’s court costs (not his attorney’s fees but, rather, things like the money spent filing documents with the court)
  • the court will often issue an injunction, which is an order that the infringer stop infringing the patent and never do so in the future

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Salient Federal Laws Prohibiting Employment Discrimination

You cannot avoid discrimination. As long as there are people who single out and show prejudice against persons who they think are inferior to them, then discrimination persists.

But the government does everything to fight this wrong. The legislatures have enacted a number of laws to counteract this problem. These legislations’ main purpose is to put an end to inequality and provide equal opportunity most especially in employment.

What are the Federal Laws which protect employees from Employment Discrimination?

• Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII – this law considers it unlawful for an employer, employment agency, labor organization or joint labor management committee to discriminate workers on account of the following:
1. Their Race;
2. Their Skin Color;
3. Their Religion;
4. Their Sex; and
5. Their National Origin

• Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) – this law prohibits employers, labor organizations or its agents to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex, by paying one employee wages at a rate lower than that of another although both rendered equal amount of work and the performance of which required the same skill and ability.

Exception: When payment is made pursuant to:
1. The Seniority system;
2. The Merit system;
3. Quality/Quantity production; and
4. Differential other than sex

• Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) – this law makes it illegal to discriminate employees on account of his age by:
1. Refusing or failing to hire or fire employees;
2. Limiting, separating or classifying employees in a way which deprives them employment opportunities or advancement; and
3. Reducing the wage rate of an employee.
• Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Titles I and V – this law make illegal discrimination against employees on account of their disability by providing equal opportunity in employment. The law orders that no covered entity shall discriminate against individuals who are otherwise qualified and have met employment requirements in regard to:
1. Job application procedures;
2. Hiring;
3. Career advancement;
4. Discharging;
5. Compensation and wages;
6. Job trainings; and
7. Other employment privileges.

• The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505 – these laws prohibit employment discrimination against disabled persons in the federal sectors.

• The Civil Rights Act of 1991 – this law provides aids employees who are victims of intentional employment discrimination in the form of monetary compensation and other protections. The purposes of this law, as mentioned in Sec. 3 of said Act are as follows:

1. to provide appropriate remedies for intentional discrimination and unlawful harassment in the workplace;
2. to codify the concepts of "business necessity" and "job related";
3. to confirm statutory authority and provide statutory guidelines for the adjudication of disparate impact suits under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and
4. to respond to recent decisions of the Supreme Court by expanding the scope of relevant civil rights statutes in order to provide adequate protection to victims of discrimination.

In order to avail of the protections provided by these laws, the discriminated employee should first hire Employment Discrimination Lawyers. This kind of lawyers are the ones that you should be calling in case you have been a victim of discrimination in your employment. They possess the necessary skills and knowledge to defend your case. Contact an Employment Discrimination Lawyer as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Other Prevalent Issues as Race Discrimination

Race discrimination may be considered as one of the most common forms of discrimination in the workplace. Despite growing cultural diversity in today’s workforce, it seems unimaginable to realize that racial prejudice still exists.

The article, "Weight Bias is as Prevalent as Racial Discrimination, Study Suggests", posted on March 28, 2008, brings to one’s attention the growing occurrence of discrimination against obese or overweight people, particularly women.

According to Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, discrimination against obese and overweight people is rising and as prevalent as race discrimination in the workplace.

In order to arrive at this conclusion, the research team obtained data regarding this type of discrimination and compared it with the existing information on race discrimination from the National Survey of Midlife Development. The results revealed that weight bias is as prevalent as race discrimination in the workplace.

The study also showed that women are more likely to experience this type of discrimination and other forms of interpersonal maltreatment than men are.

Most alarming, the author of the research study also indicated that weight bias is more common than all the types of discrimination such as those based on age, gender, physical disability, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.

To prevent discrimination, here are some of the laws enacted to guarantee the protection of one’s rights:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 - Prohibits employment age discrimination against individuals who are at least forty, but less than sixty-five years old.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - Title I and V prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals who have disabilities, because of their disabilities.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Title VII prohibits discrimination in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 - Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to strengthen and improve Federal civil rights laws, provide monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, and for a variety of other reasons.
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Sections 501 and 505 prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the Federal government.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 - Prohibits wage discrimination between men and women who work jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, in the same establishment and under similar working conditions.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Changes in Medical Malpractice Claims

One fine day, I happen to read an article entitled, Doctors Say ‘I’m Sorry’ Before ‘See You in Court. The article relates all about medical malpractice claims which are constantly litigated causes of actions in our courts in this genre.

The story related by the article happens in Chicago where a highly regarded cancer surgeon, Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta made a mistake in operating a patient by removing the wrong sliver of tissue, a segment of the eighth rib instead of the ninth.

Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta had quickly acknowledged his mistakes and corrected the same. Until the passage of years when Dr. Das Gupta now becomes 76 years old, he has continually avow his mistakes and offer his sorry to the patient that was harmed by the occasional errors he committed.

On the same note, the article espouses on improving patient safety and patient communication to cure the malpractice crisis rather than defensiveness and denial, which at all brought tremendous amount of hardship to the victims of medical malpractice and agonizing lawsuits.

To note, the article laid the propositions of some advocates regarding disclosure policies as a method or scheme that may reduce legal claims.

Instead of lawsuits, the bringing out of greater measure of equity by offering reasonable compensation to every injured patient is the key towards this objective. “Defy and defend”, as the most malpractice lawyer counseled, has now to be abandoned and changed to a scenario of disclosure of medical errors and offering of earnest apologies and fair compensation.

The proponent seeks to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.

To my mind, the disclosure project is one of the best avenues that are economical and practicable both for the victims as well as to the erring doctors and medical institutions.

By disclosing the medical mistakes and errors straight to the victims, contending lawsuits, which are costly and timely, can be avoided without of course, compromising the valuable compensation that the victims are legally entitled.

With this considerable shift of views, in order to have ample protection in your rights, you have to seek lawyer help at the first instance so that you can be guided at arriving with a fair compensation less undue influence and consent vitiation.

Before waging a claim settlement under this style, you have to confer with a medical malpractice attorney to help you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to Handle Overpayment Claims?

When it comes to disability benefits, there are instances when you will receive an overpayment claim from the Social Security Administration (SSA). When you do, it is recommended that you deal with it because ignoring it might lead to problems with claiming your benefits.

An overpayment takes place due to discrepancies in the computation of your benefits. You might already be receiving income from your disability but then you seek employment to augment your income. The good news is that there is a way that you can correct the overpayment.

* First, if you think that the overpayment was not your fault, then there is a remedy for that. You can contest the claim and ask for reconsideration. This form is called the “Waiver of Overpayment” and it is available at the SSA. In the form, you will be asked to explain why you think it is not your responsibility to settle the overpayment.

* If your request for reconsideration has been denied, the legal remedy for that is to file an appeal. During this stage, you will need to be represented by an SSA disability lawyer. In the appeal process, your claim will be handled by an Administrative Law Judge.

If nothing works out in your favor, then you have no choice but to settle the overpaid claim. You can work out a favorable payment scheme with the SSA. Usually, the money involves small amounts.

In all of these, getting the services of an SSA lawyer to handle your case is the best thing to do. They know what to do in situations like yours.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Protecting Yourself From Defective Construction

Construction sites always carry threats on the life of its workers. Injuries sustained in industrial accidents can be devastating. It can result to personal injuries as well as death. Construction site injuries are governed by personal injury and product liability laws.

In a report released by the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, 15 to 20% of workers’ compensation claims resulted from injuries in the workplace with 1,400 on-the-job deaths recorded annually. The sad fact is that these accidents are foreseeable and can be prevented if site owners have exerted efforts in making sure that their environment is free from any defects. This is a case of negligence on the part of the site owners and they can be held liable for damages.

Various measures can be initiated in order to prevent similar accidents from happening. First, warning signs should be conspicuously placed within the construction site. By doing so, workers can pinpoint which section of the site they can prevent.

Second, equipments and machines should always be inspected to make sure that they are working properly. Any defective product that causes injuries or accidents to the workers may make them liable for construction liability.

Third, the construction site owners should not hesitate in training their people to use the safety equipments and always remind them to use protective gear.

Finally, if you sustain a slip and fall injury while doing your work, getting the help of a lawyer is your best defense. They can ensure that you are compensated for any broken limb or injuries that you may sustain from your job.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Violation of Trade Secret

Violation of Trade Secret: How to Deal with it

Doing business involves various issues that necessitate careful planning and implementation in order to achieve success, financial stability or productiveness. Likewise, it is very vital for the company officials to employ strict rules in order to safeguard all their business operations and trade dealings. Yet, because of trade secret theft, many companies either suffer from losses or end up in closure.

Also because of such violations or illegal dealings, numerous lawsuits are being filed in courts by businesses to recover the cost of damages that they suffered from. A great example of such is the case filed by Tesla Motors against its competitor for allegedly stealing design ideas and trade secrets.

The definition of trade secret may vary depending on the state where a company operates. Yet, state laws generally define it as company information, which are not commonly known to the public majority. It provides a company of some economic advantages, which makes it worthy of being protected and of maintaining its secrecy.

Meanwhile, in order to protect your company from trade secret theft, following these measures may be helpful:

  • Let your employees sign a “Non-compete agreement.” – This type of contract will prevent your employee from working in your competitor’s company for a set period after his employment in your company ceases. In this way, they will not have the means of utilizing the information that they obtained from your company for the advantage of your competitors.

  • Avoid dealing with suspicious business transactions – Transact only with companies or individuals with proven integrity. Never divulge any of your company’s procedures to people whom you think unworthy of your trust.

  • Hire an attorney who has the expertise in intellectual property laws and other business laws – Having an attorney to give you advices will give your company the protection you need.

  • Treat your employees well – In many circumstances, employees who divulge company secrets are those who were discriminated or unfairly treated. It will also be helpful if you will give them proper trainings and provide their needs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is ERISA law sufficient in protecting working person’s rights?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that was passed to protect pension rights of workers in private industry. It covers most employee benefit plans, including disability, life, and medical insurance and pension benefits provided by an employer.

Nowhere in the provisions of the ERISA law that has it required an employer to establish a pension plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards.

Standards such as,

1. Regularly providing participants with full and clear information about the plan including information about plan features, funding and how and when pension benefits can be collected.

2. Sets minimum standards for participation for pension plans, vesting, benefit accrual and funding.

3. Provide accountability of plan fiduciaries, especially in cases of breach.

4. ERISA law also mandates that a grievances and compliant department be established for plan participants.

ERISA Law also gives participants the right to sue for benefits, breaches of fiduciary duty and those who are waging prohibited actions under ERISA law.

The aforementioned are the protective measures that the ERISA law extends to the workers in general.

On this line, a question would be relevant, Is ERISA law sufficient in protecting working person’s rights. Put is differently, does it effectively cure the end it intends to achieve, which is protecting worker’s pension rights?

To note, ERISA law had replaced all state laws that protected an employee's rights to benefits from an insurance company or employee trust.

The effect had greatly affected vast majority of pension claimants. The changes had made the ERISA law takes precedence over state laws.

One has said that ERISA law has reduced rather than expanded the legal protections available to policyholders.

State law provides a higher level of protection to employees compared to ERISA, in cases of unjust denials of pension benefits


Various State laws provide an employee the right to jury trial and could receive constitutive damages aside from the benefits under the policy. In contrast, ERISA law there is no right to a jury trial.

On this score alone, a safe generalization can conclude that ERISA law provides legal obstacle rather than protection.

Having this law prevailed in our jurisdiction, we can do nothing except to accede to its mandate despite the pitfalls it brings.

Claimants having varied concern on this issue must settle with a lawyer who is adeptly knowledgeable with this law. The lawyer can be utilized give them the much-desired protection and at least level their playing field and made a fair chance on their claims.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fault Issues in Premise Liability

The article “Casino Patron Suffers Severe Knee Injury on Escalator - Unreasonably Dangerous Condition on the Casino Premises”, posted on November 7 last year, highlights the result of an accident, which injured a casino client in an escalator.

The issue involved an injury suffered by a customer whose pants were entangled in an escalator. According to the article, the accident victim suffered serious knee injuries, along with other traumatic injuries, and required surgery.

As a result, the victim sued the property owner and held them responsible for her injuries under premise liability. The customer filed for for a $ 20,000 damage lawsuit .

When there is hazardous condition in a premise that results in harm and injury, an accident victim may file damages under the premise liability. By law, it is the responsibility of a property or business owner to make sure that no conditions exist that could cause a person to slip or trip and fall.

Slip and fall accidents happen most in poorly lit hallways, damaged staircases, uneven sidewalks, debris or liquids left on the floor, and other unsafe conditions.

In determining the fault of business or property owners under a premise liability, the three requisites must be proven:

  1. that the owner of the property or business caused the condition that resulted in the slip and fall accident

  1. that the owner knew about the hazardous condition but did nothing to remedy the situation

  1. the owner should have known about the unsafe condition and done something to fix it.

Under premise liability, a certain standard of care and “reasonableness” also applies to so-called licensees and invitees. Licensees are persons who enter a property on their own or as social guests of the property owners while invitees refer to people invited into the premises, such as a customer in a store.

There are several factors involved in determining whether the standard of reasonableness required by an owner toward licensees and invitees has been met. These include the following:

  • Circumstances under which the visitor entered the property

  • Foreseeability of the accident or injury that occurred

  • Use to which the property is put

  • Reasonableness of the owner/possessor's effort to repair a dangerous condition or warn visitors

The standard of care applied by a property owner may help determine the extent of one’s fault in an accident.

The Bearings of Sales Covenant

A common saying in commercial transactions relates, “Time is of the essence”. The implication of this observation is more on practicality and convenience. That, as much as possible commercial dealings must be closed at the earliest.

To achieve this end, a sales agreement was devised to facilitate commercial transactions among merchants and consumers.

Sales agreement is sanctioned in all jurisdictions around the globe. Specific laws of each jurisdiction are legislated regulating its provisions, stipulations and constitution.

A sales agreement is a contract that deals in the exchange of goods, services or property by the seller to the buyer for an agreed value in money or other compensation. It is a legally binding contract that establishes the respective rights and responsibilities of the merchant and consumer.

Whether you are dealing with goods, equipments, personal property, real estate, or cars, or whether you are engaging in wholesale or retail, specific sales agreement should be entered so that transactions become systematic and that the parties achieve their goal in an economic way.

The bearings of Sales covenant can be outlined under the following directions:

  • It provides practicality and convenience to the parties as well as its transactions expedited.
  • Sales agreement is a device in avoiding fraud.
  • It binds the parties to their specific undertakings and offer sufficient notice to third persons that intrusion is not allowed.
  • Make transactions between seller and buyer straightforward.
  • It contained detailed description of the goods or services for sale as well as the prestation or obligation of both parties to the contract, to avoid parties from unilaterally renouncing their specific undertakings.
  • It secures both parties against nonperformance or non-abidance of the terms of the contract. The party at fault may be held liable for damages.
  • Sales agreement ensures smooth transition of the transactions.
  • Evidenced the completion of a commercial activity, that is, the deal is closed.

With all these inputs, one important consideration that relates to both parties is the need for legal assistance of a lawyer.

On the part of the seller, it is wise that lawyer be waged in drafting the sales agreement so that all the constitutive elements of the contract are considered including its legal elements.

On the buyer’ part, it is advisable to have a lawyer review the document before signing so that legal rights are learned and protected.

No Liability for Retaliation

Federal and state laws protect employees from any form of retaliation from their employers after reporting an alleged wrongdoing such as harassment or discrimination. The protection clause remains in effect even after the case has been dismissed or was proven to have no merit whatsoever.

I think that every employee has the right to report their superiors who are abusing their authority. Employers do not have the right to discriminate their employees because of disability, age, race, sex, or color. They should not be judged based on these aspects but on their job performance. Federal and state laws provide sanctions to employers who will discriminate or terminate their employees.

In my opinion, it would be unfair to dismiss an employee who is doing a good job in the first place just because they are black, disabled, or a woman. Every employee should be given a chance to prove themselves worthy of their positions. So unless the employee is really doing a terrible job, employers cannot use their authority to fire an employee without due process. This means that the employer should give the employees a chance to defend themselves.

If there is valid ground and the employee is not doing what is expected of him, then they can recommend the removal of the employee. But beyond that, they should be given a chance to freely exercise their right to work even though they are handicapped.

Employers should provide their employees an avenue for airing their grievances. Otherwise, it could be another valid reason for employees to report their employer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Incorporating Out of State Is Not Recommended

Setting up a corporation and being your own boss are only some of the rewards of having a business of your own. Aside from that, there is the practical reason of being financially independent while trying to cultivate your own skills in resourcefulness and being responsible.

In the article, “How to Incorporate and Start your Own California Corporation”, posted on March 23, 2007, the issues on how to start a corporation were sufficiently discussed.

The article enumerates the varied reasons and benefits one can derive from incorporating a business. In California, particularly, some of the common benefits of corporation establishment may include the following:

  • It protects your personal assets by having a separation of ownership
  • There could tax advantages available to you
  • It costs less to start a corporation in California ($100)
  • You can easily and professionally raise money through friends and family
  • For non-Californians, the annual franchise tax ($800) is waived for the first year

We all know what incorporation can do to a business, especially for starters and small businesses. However, incorporating a business outside of one’s state can do more harm than good.

Why is that so?

Not only is it impractical, but also incorporating out of one’s resident state can result in more taxes. And unless you are making out a profit of more than $100,000 a year, incorporating out of state will entail a great deal of expenses. For a starting business, this is not so good.

Added to this, you will have to pay for the franchise tax so that you can take your earnings back to your home state and save it there.

Nevertheless, establishing a corporation is a smart thing to do. Because lawsuits are always possible in business, the decision to incorporate is one’s guarantee of protection from it. Perhaps the best thing incorporation can do is protect your personal assets from legal threat so that no matter what happens to your business, your properties will remain secure. It can also help you find remedies in contract disputes and shield you from employee’s mistakes.