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.