Friday, December 17, 2010

Jobless Benefits to Run Out?

Unemployment benefits provide the jobless with their much-needed help in their finances while they are still looking for a job.

However, these benefits are not always available as there is a time period allotted to jobless workers before their benefits run out.

Before the federal extensions have been approved, a person will only receive these benefits within the 26-week-period after his claim has been granted. But, because of the extensions, the workers will receive a total of 99-week worth of benefits. Unfortunately, this too will change.

Some 454,000 jobless workers in the state of California alone won’t be receiving their benefits before Christmas if the Congress won’t do anything about it.

The California Employment Development Department announced that they are trying to inform all of the beneficiaries about the looming end of jobless benefits. The EDD is the state department responsible for administering the jobless benefits.

With how the economy is going, it is almost impossible to provide all the jobless workers with opportunities to earn income. So, if the congress won’t act on the approaching end of jobless benefits, then, it is almost inevitable that a lot of families won’t have a happy holiday.

Jobless benefits are designed to supplement the needs of a person while he is still looking for a job. But, with the budget deficit that the government is facing, they may have no choice but to stop the extensions to accommodate other needs of their citizens.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oprah’s OWN Faces Discrimination, Wrongful Termination Charges

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is being sued by one of their former employees for allegedly discriminating against her because of her medical condition.

Catherine Dunn filed the lawsuit at the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging discrimination and wrongful termination by the network as she was allegedly treated with hostility because of her autoimmune disease, Multiple Sclerosis.

Dunn was an executive assistant in the network back in August 2008 when she was presented with a hostile work environment because of her medical condition.

In the lawsuit, Dunn claimed that the hostility caused her condition to worsen and she was forced to take leave of absence and stress leave.

The lawsuit did not specify the amount of damages that Dunn is seeking.

Oprah may have not been made aware of Dunn’s working condition at the time, but, she should have made sure that her employees are well treated to prevent lawsuits like this that can result to big amounts of damages.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Budget Cuts Triples Backlog in Narcotics Lab

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said recently that the reduction of employee’s overtime resulting from budget cuts is slowing down the analysis of evidence in their narcotics lab.

Sheriff Lee Baca wrote a report to the LA County Board of Supervisors stating that the department is experiencing problems in the support and investigative units as a result of the budget cuts to aid the $128 million gap.

It has been reported earlier that the average backlog last year of 256 unanalyzed cases has ballooned to around 920 cases. The expert analysts who used to handle these cases were not allowed to work on overtime because of the budget restraint.

Other local law enforcement agencies are also affected in the said delays as they send evidence to the narcotics lab to be analyzed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tractor Hits Farm worker in Fresno

A farm worker operating a tractor was recently injured after he was run over by the vehicle near Sanger. The worker was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

He is said to be the field crew boss and appeared to be in his 40s. His identity is yet to be released.

Reports show that the man was operating the tractor when he got off it while it is still in gear to get water. The tractor then rolled away as the man tried to chase it down. The man then slipped causing him to be run over by the tractor.

The man can file a claim for worker’s compensation as he was injured while on the job. If he does this, he waves his right to sue the company for the accident. Either way, the man can recover his medical expenses for his injuries.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wal-Mart Agrees to Pay $27.6M Settlement in Dumping Case

Employers are required to take care of their employees by making sure that they will not be exposed to hazardous waste materials.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will now have to pay $27.6 million just to settle claims that it improperly dumped and handled hazardous waste at its stores all over California.

According to reports, this move ended a five-year investigation, which was done to see if allegations that the company improperly disposed aerosols, paint, fertilizer, and other types of chemicals are true.

The lawsuit claimed that 263 Wal-Mart distribution centers and stores violated environmental regulations and laws.

Reports said the controversy started in 2005, after a San Diego County Department of Environmental Health worker saw a Wal-Mart employee dispensing bleach through the drain.

Local, state, and federal authorities were all involved in the investigation.

A Wal-Mart employee defended the company’s reputation, saying that it has already implemented improved practices after it became aware of the said violations.

In addition, workers in all of its branches were taught how to handle hazardous products properly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hawaii Legislators Approve Same-Sex Civil Unions

Today, people are entitled to have their own sexual preference. In fact, laws are being made just to accommodate the needs of gays and lesbians in the society.

The Hawaii House of representatives recently approved a bill that will allow the creation of same-sex civil unions.

According to reports, a 31-20 house vote gave the much-needed legislative approval to these civil unions. The bill was approved in the Senate in January.

Under this bill, lesbian and gay couples will be entitled to enjoy the same benefits and rights that are provided by the state to married couples.

Reports said the bill was revived during the legislative’s last session for the year; right after House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro made a motion for everyone to reassess it.

Legislators were unable to act on this issue immediately due to worries that the “Democratic-controlled House" will not be able to gather enough number of votes to overrule Gov. Linda Lingle if ever she decides to veto it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Capistrano School Teachers Holds Rally to Protest Pay Cut

People generally work to earn money, which is often not enough due to the high cost of living today. Problems naturally arise if the insufficient salary employees received are sometimes further reduced due to budget problems.

Hundreds of Capistrano Unified School District teachers in Orange County decided to hold a rally after the school board had decided to reduce their salary by 10.1% after it broke off ongoing negotiations.

According to reports, the salary of these teachers will be reduced to end a $54 million budget deficit, which was caused by problems in state funding. This pay cut will help the district save around $19.9 million.

The Capistrano Unified Education Association president said the union will agree to this pay cut if the school board will end it on June 30, 2011. Educators will not teach until this condition is approved.

However, the district said it will not agree to such condition.

At least 52,000 students did not attend classes after hundreds of teachers joined the rally.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Contract between San Diego Teachers and School District Successfully Ratified

A labor contract is a form of agreement between the management and workers that specifies the nature of their relationship and the rights of each party. Having one is an advantage on the part of the workers because it will protect them from unjust practices of their employers.

Hopefully, San Diego teachers will rejoice in the changes made in the recently-ratified written labor agreement with the San Diego Unified School District.

According to reports, 3,062 union members voted in favor of the contract while 108 others voted against it.

Some of the changes included in the contract are:

• Teachers will be require to take at least five furlough days through 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years.
• Contract language calls for protecting smaller class sizes and staffing levels for both school counselors and nurses.
• Teachers will be provided with three different salary increases, which will happen between the 2012-13 school year.
• The district’s health care costs will be lessened by boosting the teachers’ co-pays.
• Other small changes to the teachers’ health care benefits

Aside from the different changes that the contract will require, this agreement will also serve as an instrument in building a harmonious relationship between the teachers and the school district.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prison Health Care Workers Locked Out after Strike

Employers should listen to the grievances of their employees and try to solve them in a way that is beneficial for both parties. However, not all employers choose this method and some of them opt to punish their employees by locking them out.

Alameda County jails’ health care employees were recently locked out after being involved in a strike as a protest to the slow contact negotiations.

According to reports, around 140 Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West members held a one-day rally at the North County Jail and Santa Rita Jail in Oakland after they have worked for more than two months in the absence of a contract.

In addition, the protest was done after they have paved way for a new contract with the “Tennessee-based Prison Health Services.” A contract currently exists between Alameda County and the company, which requires the latter to provide health care workers and staff to both jails.

The union claimed that the negotiation is mainly concerned on the management’s desire to require workers to pay for about 30% of total costs of their own health care, said reports.

Hopefully, this issue will be resolved and a contract will be drafted quickly so that everyone can focus on their duty, which is to help inmates get the medical attention they need.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Democratic Bill: A Possible Solution to State Employee Furloughs

Implementing furlough days has prevented many Californian employees to receive their regular full amount of salary because their work days were reduced to address the state’s financial problems.

Luckily, a Democrat bill that can end the “three-day-a-month furloughs,” which affect about 80,000 state workers, has been recently approved by the California Legislature.

According to reports, this bill is aimed at reversing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s move of imposing furloughs that could affect about 200, 000 state workers. It will cover different employees who are being paid using funds from user fees, the federal government, or any source that is excluded from California’s general fund.

However, this bill may not be immediately implemented because it should first be approved by Schwarzenegger, which is unlikely due to the governor’s firm stand regarding furlough days.

Schwarzenegger’s office even filed an appeal and requested for the Supreme Court’s help after Alameda County Judge Frank Roesch ordered the state to provide back pay to over 50,000 state employees who were unlawfully furloughed and issued numerous rulings against the controversial policy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Roof Contractor Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Workers’ compensation insurance is given to all employees to ensure that they will receive financial help from the company if ever they were injured at work. A roof contractor who failed to provide it to his injured employee is now facing probable jail time.

Reports stated that Michael Amzie Hollings, 41, from Murrieta, has entered a guilty plea to at least 16 felony counts related to perjury, making false statements, and filing false documents. He can be ordered to spend at least three years inside the state prison during his sentencing, which was scheduled on June 25.

The issue began when one of his So Cal Roofing employees was injured after falling from a roof in March 2003. According to reports, the injured employee filed a workers’ compensation claim but Hollings denied his employment, thus preventing him to receive benefits.

Prosecutors argued that the minimum workers’ compensation policy was purchased by the contractor for his company, but he reported that no one is working for him. His employees were paid in cash and he provided incorrect payroll reports just to conceal their employment.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hit-and-Run Results to Injuries, Property Damages

Every motorist is required to have an insurance policy in order to make sure that they could not escape their liability of ever they get into an accident. However, most people choose to run away thinking that they will escape their liability.

A pick-up driver and his passenger were recently injured after their vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle that took off immediately after the crash. The collision caused the truck to hit a curb and a fire hydrant that squirted water at least 20 feet up.

The vehicle that hit the pick-up in Placentia Avenue was later located by authorities but its four occupants took off running.

The pick-up truck driver and passenger were hospitalized and their vehicle was totaled in the accident. The northbound lanes also had to be closed as authorities fixed the fire hydrant.

The occupants shouldn’t have run off as registered vehicles can be traced to its owners in no time. They should have just got off their vehicle and assisted the injured party who may have needed immediate medical attention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Police Looking for Hit and Run Driver who Struck Woman in San Diego

The police are currently looking for the driver who left a car accident that killed a woman in San Diego early Friday morning.

According to San Diego police, the hit-and-run accident occurred in Market Street at around 2:15 am.

The 35-year-old woman was getting out of her car when she was struck by a blue truck.

The driver was not there when police responded on the scene.

Once found, the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor count of leaving an accident scene.

Under the law, we are required to exchange information with those involved in the accident and assist those who were injured.

Not being able to do so would make you criminally liable and will lead to prosecution by the DA.

The family of the victim may also file a wrongful death suit against the driver once he is found.

The damages collected by the family will depend on the victim’s income, life expectancy and other contributions to the family.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Speeding Caused Crash that Killed Driver

The driver of a northbound Ford Explorer that was involved in a recent vehicle collision was killed after she was broadsided by a speeding eastbound Mercedes that ran a red light at an intersection.

According to reports, 45-year-old Christine Ann Ingle of Rio Linda was driving along the 16th street when she was hit by the unidentified driver of the Mercedes that was going 70-100mph on C Street.

Five others sustained minor injuries in the accident and they were all taken to a hospital.

Sadly, in most cases of speeding and DUI that causes accidents, the negligent driver almost always is the one to survive. If proven guilty, the negligent driver will likely face jail time and pay compensatory damages to the family of his victim.

There is no sure way to avoid accidents caused by speeding or DUI. However, every motorist can discipline himself to make streets safer for everyone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Man Trapped in Burning Van Saved by “Angels”

A high school art teacher received a second chance to live after he was pulled out of a burning van on the 91 freeway by two strangers whom he referred to as “angels from heaven.”

According to reports, Said Abdelsayed, 52, was traveling east along the area using a Dodge Caravan, which was converted to provide space for his wheelchair, when he noticed the smoke’s odor.

He then pulled over and the van began to burn when he opened the right cargo door.

Abdelsayed tried to get out of the vehicle but failed to do so because he was not seated on the wheelchair at that time.

Luckily, two strangers suddenly arrived and pulled him to safety, said reports.

The strangers also saved a number of Abdelsayed’s artworks from the burning vehicle before leaving the area. The art teacher showed his gratitude by trying to give them a piece of his painting.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Los Angeles Rookie Police Officers May be Included in Layoffs

The Los Angeles Police Department is no longer enjoying the immunity that was formerly provided to it by the city.

In fact, the city’s budget analyst recommended that hundreds of the Police Academy’s rookie officers can be removed from the department in the aim of solving the $218 million budget deficit this year.

According to reports, it was suggested that 87 trainees and at least 616 recent graduates who are now members of the department should be laid off.

The cutbacks do not cover a proposal to remove about 1,000 city jobs in the current fiscal year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Muni Video Reveals Pedestrian Accident Happened in Crosswalk

Pedestrians who use crosswalks can still be injured due to the presence of drivers who have no respect for traffic rules.

In fact, a Muni bus video showed how a 78-year-old female pedestrian was hit by the vehicle while she was walking in a crosswalk along the Portola neighborhood in San Francisco.

According to reports, the driver said she failed to notice the pedestrian’s presence and that she apparently swerved at the last moment in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid contact.

Police said the pedestrian, who sustained external and critical injuries, was brought to San Francisco General Hospital and is now under critical condition.

Reports stated that the woman was crossing San Bruno Avenue along Burrows Street when she was suddenly hit by a 9-San Bruno bus that was moving southbound.

The video revealed that she was walking along the yellow-stripped crosswalk located on the intersection’s south area, around 15 feet from the curb, when the incident occurred.

The driver was placed on a non-driving status. Results of alcohol and drug tests are not yet available.

The vehicle was apparently moving at a speed of around 15 mph when it hit the pedestrian.

Reports said the intersection has no stop signs or stoplights.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Man Charged for Crash Caused by Underage Driver

A last month’s fatal accident believed to be caused by an 11-year-old driver who failed to stop at a red light is now blamed on the only passenger who survived the crash that killed the boy, his sister, and their mother.

Thirty-four-year-old Froylan Zamora Gonzalez was charged with two counts of child endangerment and three counts of vehicular manslaughter immediately after he was released from the hospital where he was treated for major injuries he sustained in the crash.

Relatives of the 11-year-old boy, Jose Silva Covarrubias, believe that he was having his driving lessons when the accident happened. It is initially reported that the family along with their housemate, Gonzalez, was heading home after Jose’s soccer practice.

Gonzalez’ negligence and role in the accident is not clear but he will now shoulder all these charges for the car accident which shouldn’t have happened if he didn’t allow the mother let the young boy drive the vehicle.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Songwriter Sues Terry Perry for Copyright Infringement

Copyright law protects the owner of an original work against people who might use it without the owner’s permission.

A songwriter is now fighting for his rights under this law by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Terry Perry, claiming that a Gospel song was illegally used on the show “Meet the Browns.”

In a lawsuit filed by Johnny Tyrone Stringfield in Los Angeles federal court, he claimed that some of the show’s characters sang the song’s lyrics in an episode aired the previous year.

He said that those lyrics were from the song “I Got Away,” which he already copyrighted in 2008.

The songwriter now wants to receive over $100,000 from Perry and the companies that are behind the show.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Madera Man Killed after Diving Off Highway 101to Avoid Collision

The Santa Clara Medical Examiner’s office identified the victim of the 101 car accident who died after diving out of the way of an out-of-control car and fell 30 feet onto a bike path.

According to reports, Abundido Prudente, 32, from Madera and another person exited their car after being involved in a single-vehicle spinout on Highway 101.

As they exited the car, they noticed another vehicle heading towards them.
Prudente jumped out of the car’s path but ended up falling over the freeway and onto the Coyote Creek bike trail.

It took firefighters about an hour to finally rescue Prudente due to the bad weather.

He was brought to the Regional Medical Center of San Jose where he died two hours later.

The family of Prudente should consult a car accident attorney abut filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the other driver.

Although Prudente died as a result of the fall and not because of the collision, the attorney should be able to prove that his death is still proximately caused by the out of control car.

Proximate cause deals more with probabilities where you prove that the death would not have happened if not for the actions of the liable party.

So the attorney’s job is to prove that Prudente’s death would not have happened if not for the negligent driving of the other driver.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chrysler Announces Product Recall Due to Break Failure

About 24,177 vehicles will be affected by the product recall of Chrysler.

According to the bulletin posted by the NHTSA, the product recall was made due to reports of brake failure.

The bulletin said that the vehicles affected may have been produced with an improperly formed or missing brake booster input rod retaining clip.

NHTSA added that the safety defect may cause brake failure without warning that could lead to a car accident.

The following models are affected:

• Chrysler Sebring, 2010
• Dodge Avenger, 2010
• Dodge Nitro, 2010
• Dodge RAM , 2009-2010
• Jeep Commander, 2010
• Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2010
• Jeep Liberty, 2010.

For more information about the recall, you can call Chrysler at 800-853 or NHTSA at 888-327-4236

If you have been injured due to the said safety defect, you should also consult an auto product liability attorney to know your legal options.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Public Awaits NTSB Findings on Cause of Metrolink Crash

A company’s success or downfall depends on the performance of all the people working in it. The fault of a single employee can cause the whole company to suffer from liability. Today, Metrolink is facing a dilemma that was rooted from a crash involving a freight train and one of its trains in Chatsworth.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it will soon release its conclusion on the possible cause of the Southern California commuter train accident that ended the lives of 28 people in 2008.

The agency will conduct a board meeting to address a concluding report on the accident. It will release the concluding report’s summary, including safety recommendations and the accident’s probable cause.

Investigators think that a Metrolink engineer may be text messaging on his cell phone seconds before he ran red light and smashed into a freight train.

Negligent hiring can cause both the employee and the company to be liable in the event of an accident. Companies should carefully select the people who will be given the chance to work in it to avoid being involved in this situation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Negligent Driver Shot and Killed

Authorities had shot and killed a negligent driver who was trying to flee the scene of a six-vehicle accident in Laguna Beach recently.

Witnesses say that the driver was speeding on the wrong-side of the road and caused the accident that sent at least two people to the hospital. He was reportedly heading onto some pedestrians in his heavily damaged vehicle.

Authorities are yet to determine other factors that caused the accident but it is possible that intoxication is a factor as having alcohol or drugs in the system will greatly affect the motorists’ driving skills and good reasoning.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Teen Ferrari Driver in Critical Condition after Fatal Crash

Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents because they are inexperienced compared to older drivers and many of them tend to ignore traffic rules.

In fact, another teen was recently involved in an accident on East Coast Highway that killed his passenger.

According to authorities, Luicci Nader, 18, from Huntington Beach, was the person driving the gray 2008 F-430 Spider that smashed into a tow truck, split in two, and then caught fire.

The Spider’s passenger was identified as Ralph Abi Nader, 24, from Huntington Beach.

The teen reportedly lost control of the vehicle, which jumped the median and swerved onto the road’s other side between Bayside Drive and Jamboree Road, before it smashed into the truck head on.

He is under a critical condition at a hospital and cannot speak, said authorities.

Meanwhile, the tow truck’s passenger and driver only sustained minor injuries.

Nader could face manslaughter charges if he recovers because he was speeding when the accident happened.

It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children the importance of following traffic rules. They should not let their children drive if they feel that the latter are still unprepared to do so.