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Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Uncategorized |

3 Tips For Building An Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

Most people would agree that employment decisions should be based on factors like merit or seniority, not factors like gender or race. Unfortunately, discrimination in the workforce does still happen. When it does, you have options. You may be able to file an employment discrimination lawsuit. But to do that successfully, you will have to build a strong case. Employment discrimination can be difficult to prove. Take a look at some tips that will help you build a discrimination case that will hold up in court.

Document Everything

If your discrimination case goes to court, you’ll be asked to provide proof of your claims. However, memories can fade over time. If you’re trying to prove that you were harassed or treated unfairly because of your race, gender, religion, or orientation, having a record of the times when you feel that harassment or unfair treatment occurred can help. Keep a journal documenting times, dates, and locations of any relevant incidents.

Even if you’re trying to prove that you were passed over for a promotion or demoted unfairly for discriminatory reasons, those actions usually don’t happen in a vacuum. If your coworker tells a racial joke and your supervisor lets it slide, or your manager makes suggestive comments to female employees, those events can bolster your claim, even if they aren’t the main focus of your claim. Make sure to write them down when they happen, and include all of the detail that you can.

Follow Company Policy

This is a vital part of building a discrimination case, and it’s one that many people fail to understand: You must follow company policy. That means that you must report your complaint to your superior or human resources, you must try to resolve the issue internally within the company, and you must not quit or give the company any legitimate reason to fire you.

It’s difficult to report discriminatory behavior to your boss. It’s understandable that you might fear embarrassment or retaliation. But for your case to succeed in court, there must be some evidence that you attempted to give your employer a chance to correct the problem. It’s possible that you’ll be pleasantly surprised—many companies truly do want a non-discriminatory workplace, and will take appropriate steps to correct problems if they come up. But if they don’t take steps to fix the problem, you’ll at least have evidence that you tried to bring it to their attention.

You also can’t quit, because then you will no longer have standing to sue. Only in very extreme cases—such as if you’re actually in physical danger at work—will you be able to go ahead with a lawsuit if you quit over the discriminatory behavior. For the time being, you have to stick it out. You also have to avoid giving the company legitimate reasons to fire you. If they fire you for discriminatory reasons, or in retaliation for reporting discrimination, that won’t hurt your case. It could even help. But if they fire you for chronic tardiness or poor performance and can demonstrate that, then you probably won’t have much of a case left to pursue.

This doesn’t mean that you should wait to see what your company does before consulting a lawyer. As a matter of fact, consulting a lawyer early on can help. A discrimination attorney can help you through the process of reporting the discrimination and let you know whether any action the company does take is legally adequate.

Understand the Timelines

Before you can file a lawsuit for discrimination in the workplace, you need to report the discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who will review your claim and provide you with what’s known as a Right to Sue letter. When it comes to filing a claim with the EEOC and filing a lawsuit after receiving a Right to Sue letter, there are some deadlines that you need to know about.

Generally speaking, you must file your claim with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory action. There are some exceptions—you may have up to 300 days if your state or a local agency has the same type of anti-discrimination law on the books as the federal law—but it’s probably safest to keep that 180-day deadline in mind. Also, once you receive your letter, you only have 90 days to file your lawsuit. Because time is of the essence, it’s best not to wait until after you hear from the EEOC to consult an attorney. You’ll need an attorney that’s ready to go when you get your right-to-sue letter. An attorney can also help you through the EEOC claims process.

You don’t have to settle for discriminatory practices in your workplace. A discrimination attorney in your area can help you take legal action so that you can get the treatment you deserve in the workplace. 

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Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Uncategorized |

4 Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you want to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. This can help to lessen stress and make everything go faster. When going through a divorce, it’s recommended that you hire a skilled divorce attorney so that you can proper legal advice and feel more comfortable. An attorney can help you in many ways. Keep reading to better understand the reasons as to why you may want to hire a divorce attorney

Keep Fighting to a Minimum

Your attorney will help you and your partner focus on the task at hand and the important decisions that can be made. Without help from an attorney, it’s easy to let emotions get in the way of making these important decisions. It can also be easy for disagreements to happen. By focusing on the task at hand, your attorney can help you both minimize disagreements and fighting. 

Get the Best Results for You and Your Children

You want to get the best results possible when going through a divorce. You’ll also want to have the best interest of your children in mind at all times. Your attorney will fight to get these best results for you so that you have a good outcome and everyone’s needs are met. Your attorney can work to come up with the best child custody and support agreement. 

Help Talk to Other Family Members About It

Your attorney can also guide you in how to best talk about the divorce with other family members and friends. It can be especially difficult to talk about this with those who are closest to you and to children. Your attorney can give you tips and guide you to other helpful resources.

Handle Paperwork and Court Correctly

With help from an experienced attorney, you can get assistance with proper paperwork as well as get help with the court process. It can be tricky and time-consuming to guess your way through a divorce. Instead, let an attorney help by leading you through each step. This can help to get things done correctly and more quickly so that you can move on with your life. 

As you can see, it makes sense to hire a divorce attorney. You want to make sure that you minimize added stress and frustration during the divorce process. Allow your attorney to make life easier and to speed up this legal process.

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Suffer from Work-Related Anxiety Or Depression? You May Qualify For Workers’ Compensation

In the aftermath of a debilitating on-the-job injury, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Although workers’ comp mainly covers employees who’ve suffered physical injuries, it may also cover those who are suffering from work-related anxiety and depression. Learn about how you could qualify for workers’ comp coverage if you’re currently suffering anxiety or depression caused by work-related injuries or stresses.

Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety and Depression

Clinical depression is a debilitating illness that affects over 18 million Americans over the age of 18, especially those who are in their prime working years. Workplace depression can also prove costly in terms of lost productivity and treatment costs, leading to over $51 billion in absenteeism, according to Mental Health America.

If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, then you may have experienced some of the following symptoms:

  • Increased fatigue and overall decrease in energy
  • Increased irritability and feelings of restlessness
  • Reduced or lost interest in your usual hobbies
  • Memory loss
  • Persistent loss of concentration
  • Extreme changes in sleeping patterns and appetite
  • Thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm

If you are experiencing these symptoms in the workplace or as a result of a work-related injury, you should consult with a trained mental health expert as soon as possible. Talking with a specialist could be part of your first steps towards receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Understanding the Claims Criteria

In order to pursue a worker’s compensation claim for workplace-related depression or anxiety, you’ll have to meet certain criteria for a valid claim. In addition to being an employee of the company you’re filing your claim against (as opposed to being an independent contractor), the conditions or events leading up to your workplace depression must:

  • Be the result of the company’s workplace conditions
  • Result in an impairment that causes lost wages and productivity
  • Occur while you’re on the job

If your work-related depression or anxiety isn’t the result of a physical injury, then additional proof may be required before your workers’ compensation claim can be successfully processed. For instance, you may need a professional evaluation from a certified mental health physician that proves your depression or anxiety is the result of work-related issues.

In addition, your state may have its own burden of proof you’ll need to meet in order to successfully prove your workers’ comp claim. This burden of proof may not be the same in every state, so it’s important to talk to your workers’ compensation attorney when establishing your claim.

Physical vs. Mental Injury

Workplace depression or anxiety can be the result of a physical work injury or a mental injury caused by unusual stressors within the workplace. It’s not uncommon for severe depression to set in after suffering a severe physical injury that not only results in a loss of employment, but also prevents you from getting back to work. If you already have a workers’ comp claim for physical injury, you may receive additional compensation for any work-related depression you’re experiencing.

Depression or anxiety experienced in the workplace can also stem from mental rather than physical factors. For instance, working in a hostile workplace could eventually lead to anxiety or depression. Common hostile actions that could produce heightened anxiety include workplace bullying and sexual harassment. Traumatic incidents experienced at work can also trigger depressive episodes. For example, your depression could be triggered in the aftermath of an armed robbery or workplace shooting.

Whether your depression or anxiety was caused by a physical or mental injury, work-related depression or anxiety isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s important to take the steps necessary to pursue your workers’ compensation claim. To begin, contact resources like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Uncategorized |

What Maximum Medical Improvement Means In Car Accident Cases

Car accident cases do not usually settle quickly, and there are multiple reasons for this. In many cases, though, it is the injured person who holds up the case from settling, and there is a good reason for this. If you were injured in a car accident and have major injuries, you will want to postpone settling your case for a while too. The goal is to make sure you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you settle. Here are a few things to know about this.

What Is MMI?

MMI is a term used frequently in personal injury cases of all kinds, and it refers to the point in time when an injured person has reached the best he or she will ever be after the accident. In good cases, MMI means the person is completely back to normal and has no further problems to worry about. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When major injuries occur from a car accident, they can often leave a person different for the rest of his or her life.

It can be hard to know when you have reached MMI, but a good way is by talking and visiting with your doctor frequently. With major injuries, you may need to seek various forms of healthcare treatments for the rest of your life. While you may never fully recover, you should reach a point where you are as good as you will ever be. When you do, you can consider that you have reached MMI.

Why Is It Important To Wait?

The main reason you should wait to settle your case until you reached MMI is so that you know exactly what the extent of your injuries are from the accident. If you settle immediately after the accident, there may be lifelong injuries you do not yet know about. The longer you wait, the more understanding you will have regarding the full impact of the accident.

Not only will waiting help you fully understand your injuries, but waiting will also help you see how different your life is now compared to the way it was. For example, if you are no longer able to drive a car due to your injuries, you may experience grief over the loss of freedom driving once offered you, and this is something you can sue for. While money will not give you your health and freedoms back, it can at least help you live more comfortably with your new type of lifestyle.

How Long Can You Wait?

One thing you should realize about waiting to settle is that you cannot wait forever. There is something called a statute of limitations, and this is a time frame you have in which you must file your lawsuit. This time frame varies, but it is normally within one to six years. You will have to talk to a personal injury lawyer to find out the time frame in the state you live in. This time frame gives you time to think about your case for a while before you file, but it is also there to prevent people from waiting too long.

The key point with this is that you must file your lawsuit before the time frame ends. This does not mean you must settle your case by this point. You must only file by this time. After you file, years can pass before the case actually settles, and you can delay settling if you are still waiting to reach your MMI.

If you would like to learn more about car accident cases and lawsuits, you should contact a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Bennett & Sharp PLLC today to schedule a consultation visit.

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Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Preventing Dog-Bite Liability

Dog bites are common causes of personal-injury cases, and they are often the result of negligence on the part of the dog’s owner. If you own a dog, there are ways to prevent the likelihood of a dog bite from occurring.

Invest in Training

Obedience training is necessary for every dog in your household. Some people make the mistake of skipping obedience training if the dog acts appropriately around them and their family members. Such behavior does not mean the dog will obey basic commands or act appropriately in the presence of other people or animals. Your dog should always listen to commands issued by you or other members of your household. As part of obedience training, your dog should learn to walk on a leash with you in command, not running ahead of you or dragging you along.

Socialization skills are also important to minimize your dog’s fear around strangers or other animals, as this can lead to aggressive behavior. A dog should be taught to not bark at passersby or pull on the leash when someone or another animal walks by. Similarly, package- or food-delivery persons should not feel intimidated by your dog when they arrive on the property.

Maintain Identification and Vet Care

Another concern with dog bites is that some owners do not have their dog properly tagged and are not up-to-date with the dog’s needed vaccinations. Your dog should wear identification at all times in case it becomes lost or in case animal control needs to determine their owner. Microchips remain an invaluable tool to identify pets, since some animals can manage to remove their collar. Spaying or neutering your animal can also make them more docile and reduce the incidence of roaming and territorial behavior. Never skimp on vaccinations for your dog. Not only will vaccination protect your dog, but it will protect your family and other people who may come into contact with your dog. If a dog bite occurs, not only will you be liable for medical care if you are deemed at fault, but you may be liable for additional medical bills if the victim must go through a series of rabies shots.

Be Responsible

Responsibility as a dog owner also means keeping your animal properly restrained when it is outside. Your dog should not be allowed to roam free in your yard if it cannot be trusted to remain within the confines of your property. When you are restraining your animal, the leash needs to be adequate for the type and size of dog. Many large dogs are strong, and a simple leash or chain tied to a fence or post may not be enough to keep them restrained.

Taking good care of your dog is also part of your responsibility, especially if the dog will be outside for several hours. Some jurisdictions limit the amount of time a dog can be tied up outside before the owner’s behavior is considered animal abuse. Leaving a dog restrained outside in the heat or cold is not only cruel to the animal but also may increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior and escape attempts.

Consider Your Neighbors

Many people choose to keep their dog in the back yard so it can have the freedom to run around without the concern of intimidating people who may enter the front yard. Although this is important, you must consider how your dog’s behavior impacts your neighbors. For example, a large privacy fence in the back yard may prevent your dog from escaping over the fence, but if your dog is not well behaved, it may bark or growl at people it can see or hear through the fence slats or a wire fence. Your neighbors have the right to use their back yards and should not be concerned or intimidated by a neighbor’s dog who exhibits aggressive behavior.

If you have done everything possible to thwart aggressive behavior, and your dog continues to intimidate other people and animals, it may be time to reconsider your dog ownership. Although relinquishing ownership of your dog may be hurtful, the people around you have a right to live peacefully without the threat of an aggressive animal.

Talk to a lawyer such as Roberts Miceli LLP for more information about personal-injury cases. 

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