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Category Archives: Rights

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Knowing Your Rights In The Workplace

People know their job’s duties and responsibilities but may not know their rights in the workplace, especially if they are new to the workforce. By the same token, you are responsible for understanding the terms of your employment. The employee-employer relationship should be based on mutual respect for each other’s rights. Employee rights cover a variety of aspects of work, such as pay, health, safety, discrimination, and more.

You can learn more about these rights below

The Right to Minimum Wage

Your employer is responsible for providing you with a regular payday. Any employee or worker has the basic right to receive a minimum wage, at the very least. The minimum wage can be set by an industry court, a wage board, and others with that authority. Minimum wage differs from state to state. It may also differ according to your age, experience, or if you work full-time, part-time, or remotely. Minimum wage protects you from unjustifiable low pay. Most minimum wages average to at least $7.25 an hour, but if you’re 20 years old or younger, it could be a lower amount for the first 3 months of employment. Some employees are exempt from minimum wages, such as executives or those with a professional career.

The Right to Overtime Wages

There are many disputes between employees and employers about overtime wages; or lack thereof. Overtime wages are one and half-times your regular pay. You’re entitled to receive this as money and not in any other form, such as in a gift. A workweek is calculated to be 168 hours. Any work done exceeding these hours is considered overtime work that you get paid for rightfully. Overtime is also calculated on a daily basis, so you can work 168 hours or less per week but receive overtime if one of your shifts crosses the eight-hour mark.

Rights In The WorkplaceThe Right Not to Be Discriminated Against

Discrimination in the workplace is an explosive topic and has many complicated legal factors. Discriminatory rights are actually awarded before employment. An employer cannot prevent you from applying for a job based on your race, gender, sex, origin, a disability (that doesn’t prevent you from working), or religion. At the same time, an employer cannot pay you less, reprimand you, refuse to train you, fail to promote you or demote you based on those same factors.

People who believe they’re being discriminated against need to educate themselves more on this topic and see more here to know if they have legal ground to bring a case against an employer, manager, or supervisor who does not adhere to anti-discrimination laws. Additionally, a hired lawyer can build a case and bring a suit against an employer and hold them liable for knowing about discrimination happening in the workplace and not taking any action to halt it, or a workplace that adopts certain discriminatory policies. These are expensive mistakes made by employers because employees may sue and receive heavy financial compensation.

The Right to Challenge Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination often works in tandem with discriminatory laws. “At-will” employment presumes that the employer has the right to terminate an employee’s job at their own free will. This basically means the employer doesn’t have to have any reason for the termination, nor do they have to give the employee a fair warning of the termination.

Under the law, termination must be based on the employee’s work performance. Federal laws protect you from being dismissed on account of your race or gender, for instance. People are also protected by these laws if they report any form of illegal activities or abuses happening in the workplace. Firing an employee for reasons other than poor performance is subject to an investigation.

The Right to Work in a Safe Environment

Employees and workers have the basic right to work under safe, healthy conditions. Under The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), employers have the obligation to provide a safe workplace, maintain machinery and equipment for safe use, provide proper training for workers, and more.

You also have the liberty to notify your boss of any safety hazards and request an on-site inspection. These hazards are ones that can cause serious or fatal injuries. Workers can refuse to work under hazardous conditions without fear of being reprimanded or losing their job.

The relationship between employers and workers is much deeper and more complex than simply doing your job and getting paid for it. Dozens of situations happen during a normal workday that could be infringing on employee rights. If your rights are not fulfilled, a lawyer will explain to you what you can do to receive due compensation. As an employee, you have rights and privileges within the workplace to exercise.

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3 weeks ago Rights

Finding Economic Justice in the Face of Hardship: Meet Forensic Economists

When someone is injured in a car accident or is the victim of medical negligence causing death or personal injury, there are many factors to consider and questions that need to be asked. How much is the individual’s pain and suffering really worth? What are the economic damages accrued as a result of the incident? How can we even begin to put a price on seemingly intangible concepts? When it comes to economic damages, the experts who determine these sums are forensic economists, who apply economic theories and methods to the litigation framework.

Here are a few key things to know about forensic economists and how they can help you or your loved ones get the fairest payout in times of legal hardship.

What exactly do forensic economists do?

Forensic economists, like the ones at The Knowles Group, offer a variety of services, including the calculation of pecuniary damages in litigation cases, liability analyses, statistical analyses of discrimination, and asset valuation.

The most common cases handled by forensic economists are wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. Generally, these cases require economic appraisals to determine how much the court should award the plaintiff in monetary damages in a lump sum payment. To determine this amount, economists consider factors like pre-injury annual earning capacity, post-injury annual earning capacity, wage growth, and work life expectancy.

What is the difference between a forensic economist and a forensic accountant? And which of these should I consult?

If you’ve heard of forensic economists, you may have also heard of forensic accountants. Though the two terms may seem synonymous, the roles are actually significantly different. A forensic accountant examines where a company’s financial resources are being allocated and where they have been allocated in the past. A forensic economist, on the other hand, considers income, business earnings, and any other economic damages to formulate an accurate representation of an individual’s or a business’ finances.

Forensic economists are generally more equipped to handle the complexities of the legal world than forensic accountants since their role requires them to take a more holistic approach in assessing matters such as income loss and financial damages.

Why should I consider hiring a forensic economist? And what do I need to know?

There are plenty of myths surrounding personal injury cases and what the best practices are when pursuing such claims, which can make it difficult to know which resources are worth investing in. That said, you cannot put a price on your peace of mind – and forensic economists can play a significant role in ensuring exactly that. Their expert guidance can minimize stress and aid in securing a legal victory.

Litigation is also inherently an adversarial procedure, which can make it extremely difficult for people who are emotionally implicated in the proceedings to be impartial. Recruiting an expert forensic economist is an excellent way to mitigate this because it is their job to provide their professional and objective opinions in these cases. A good forensic economist will stick to the economic facts of your case, thereby improving its validity.

When should I hire a forensic economist?

It’s advisable to seek the assistance of a forensic economist sooner rather than later. Engaging a forensic economist late in your case can create issues as it leaves minimal time for appropriate research and analyses to be conducted, particularly if interrogations have already concluded.

Legal proceedings can be complex and overwhelming, particularly in cases of personal injury or medical malpractice. However, with the assistance of expert professionals like forensic economists, the stress surrounding litigation can be greatly alleviated. Additionally, forensic economists can be extremely helpful in strengthening your case and increasing your chances of a legal victory.

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2 months ago Rights

Entrepreneurs Move to Secure Covid-19 Trademark Rights

It is undoubtedly the case that Covid-19 has caused entrepreneurs and established businesses alike to rethink financial models and orient new business practices around the emerging reality of the ‘empty store-front’.  Indeed, the broad closure of physical restaurants, bars, and shops coupled with the mandate to socially distance has all but moved any remaining forms of commerce to the digital market. Companies that are not adapting are dying.

Perhaps one of the more interesting and arguably cynical manifestations of this ‘adapt or die’ philosophy is the rising trend among entrepreneurs to seek protection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Covid-19/Coronavirus based-trademarks. What do these trademarks actually entail? Will they procure registration? Are they in bad taste?

This article will consider all of these issues

What is a Trademark?

If you live in the modern world, Trademarks are quite literally, all around you. They are inescapable. The moment you open our eyes in the morning and see the Samsung logo attached the flat-screen TV mounted to the wall of your bedroom, you are observing, a Trademark.  What is a trademark? It may be a name, logo, or slogan that when used in conjunction with the sale of a good or service, identifies to the consumer the producer of that good or service.

The Samsung Corporation has done a remarkably good job establishing their brand in the domain of technology. Assume for the moment that you really do have a flat-screen TV in your bedroom with the Samsung logo – why did you really buy it? Consumers like to believe that they are firmly in control of their purchasing decisions but the reality is that the decision to buy or not to buy is happening on a much deeper and yet simultaneously simpler level of analysis than what we would otherwise expect from the purchase of a large and expensive item.

More likely than not, you did not buy this expensive television because of a rigorous analysis of the underlying technology and its tested superiority. You bought it because you believe in the quality of the Samsung brand – this belief is the essence and ultimate purpose of obtaining a trademark.

Trademarks Are Principled

Trademarks can therefore be boiled down to having two components; the mark itself (the name Samsung) and the products sold under the banner of the mark (the TV). If the name Samsung was not actually used in conjunction with the sale of anything, it would just be a clever name – not a trademark with proprietary rights to prevent others from using it in conjunction with the sale of specific goods (TV’s etc.).

The most important thing to understand about trademarks is that they are designed to protect the exclusive right of a company/individual to sell something under the banner of that trademark.  Thus, trademarks are created when two separate events coincide; the development of a novel and distinct name/logo/slogan and the use of that name/logo/slogan in conjunction with the sale of goods/services across inter-state commerce. If both of these criteria have not been satisfactorily met, the USPTO will issue a Trademark Office Action, which states the defects in the trademark application and what if anything, can be done to cure the defects. Ultimately, if/when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “confirms” after a tedious application process that these criteria have been met, the trademark applicant is conferred the exclusive right to use the trademark in concert with the designated goods/services.

The Rise of the Covid-19 Trademark

It should come as no surprise that entrepreneurs have identified what is perceived to be an emerging opportunity, namely, capturing the energy and focus surrounding Covid-19 and monetizing it. How? By developing products and subsequently branding those products with Coronavirus/Covid-19 based names and slogans. Indeed, since the Covid-19 outbreak, roughly 600 trademarks have been filed which are anchored by common words/phrases associated with the virus.

Here are a couple important ones to note:

  1. QUARANTINI
  2. #CORONAVIRUS
  3. CORONANOMICS
  4. TELECORONA
  5. CORONA KID

Remember, the trademark proposition is a two-part test; it must be both distinct and related to the sale of a good/service. What sorts of goods/services are sold under the banner of these marks? Well, they run the gamut from Apparel (clothing, shoes, socks etc.) to more creative services like “Providing information in the field of medicine; promotional services, namely, promoting the charities of others” which an Applicant from California assigned to the trademark, WE CURED COVID-19. Another trademark, CLUB QUARANTINE, was filed for the services “Dance club services; Entertainment services, namely, conducting parties; Entertainment services, namely, providing virtual environments in which users can interact for recreational, leisure or entertainment purposes”.

So, what’s really going on here? What is the ultimate purpose of these trademarks? Well, all of these trademarks represent the shared-belief of their owners that that they can make money from exploiting the energy/fear/momentum of Covid-19. Selling goods/services under Corona Virus-themed trademark will supposedly create a compelling reason for consumers to purchase associated products and services.

Are Corona/Covid-19 Trademarks Obtainable? Enforceable?

The extent to which these trademarks will be accepted by the USPTO is unclear and largely dependent on the distinctiveness and novelty of the given mark. For example, #CORONAVIRUS will undoubtedly face difficulties; CORONANOMICS, conversely, is of course far more unique and idiosyncratic and thus will likely fare much better.

Are these Trademarks in Bad Taste?

This is not a legal question in as much as it may be considered an ethical quandary but as a trademark attorney, I personally feel that trademarks are inherently ethics-neutral. They are neither good nor bad.  While I understand the concern that there is at least something superficially cynical about profiting off of the nightmare that is Covid-19, I also tend to sympathize with those who are attempting to make lemonade from lemons and turn an otherwise devastating situation into something more tolerable.  What do you think?

Abe Cohn is a Partner at Cohn Legal, PLLC, a law firm specializing in intellectual property and corporate transactional law.

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Crucial steps to take if you are being racial discriminated at work

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. This is not just a nice thing to do; it is a matter of law. Both federal and state laws prohibit racial discrimination against employees. Racial discrimination comes in many forms. If you have been denied a job, a promotion, a pay raise, or an opportunity enjoyed by others because of your skin color, ethnicity, or national origin, then you have been discriminated against. And the person or persons who did it and the organization that allowed it to happen have broken the law.

The first instinct of anyone who has been treated in this way is to solve the problem at the lowest possible level. You don’t want to cause an uproar; you want to get on with your job like everyone else. You don’t want to draw negative attention to yourself or make trouble for those associated with you. It is okay to feel this way. And it is a good idea to speak to the person whom you suspect of discriminating against you. You may have misunderstood the entire situation, which is why you should first talk to your colleague directly before you report them.

If the person you suspect of racial discrimination does not give you a satisfactory answer, if they deny plain facts, try to disingenuously spin what they have done, or crudely change the subject, then you will need to elevate your complaint.

Your company should have established procedures for making complaints about racial discrimination. Make sure you follow them to the letter. If you are forced to later litigate the matter in a civil suit, you don’t want to give them any reason for saying that you did not follow proper procedures.

Personal Action and Conduct in the Wake of Racial Discrimination

Accusing a colleague or company with racial discrimination is serious. No company wants to be tarnished with the stain of racial discrimination, which is why the people you accuse will make every effort to discredit and diminish your claim. You must be very careful in how you carry yourself after you have made the allegations. Indeed, before you go on the record with the charge, you should do the following:

1. Save all records of communication with the person

People who are bigoted do not announce it openly. They understand that in today’s world there are certain things that one cannot get away with saying or doing. Bigots speak in language that is seemingly race-neutral but is meant to demean and intimidate people of color. You should save all emails, text messages, and social media exchanges you have had with the person who has engaged in discriminatory behavior against you. You should also save all voice mail messages, as you don’t know which ones will be relevant.

If your exchanges with the person occurred on computer servers, cell phone systems, and PDA devices owned by the company, then you should forward the relevant content to your personal accounts immediately. Once you have officially launched an action against the company, you will probably be shut out of your company accounts.

2. Cautiously speak to others who may have been discriminated against

You should also quietly, carefully, and cautiously speak to others who may have been the victim of the person’s racism or a witness to it. You will need to exercise your best judgment in collecting this information. You will need to determine quickly who you can trust to keep your inquiry in confidence and who is likely to go running to management about it.
You need not speak to everyone who looks like you. Indeed, the more people you speak to, the more of a risk you will run of being found out. Speaking to two or three people who may have experienced racism at the hands of this person will suffice. In your questioning, be sure to avoid making accusations. The more business-like you can be about the inquiry, the more cooperation you are likely to receive from the individuals concerned.

3. Hire a lawyer

If you have tried to speak to the person directly about their conduct and gotten no result, if you have taken your complaint to the proper authorities in your company and have not received a satisfactory response, then you will need to hire a racial discrimination attorney. Hiring an employment attorney in Los Angeles is a last resort. And when you speak to your lawyer, they will understand the tremendous strain you are under and act accordingly.

The above are the actions you should take if you have been discriminated against. Here are a few things you should avoid doing:

1. Making a scene in the office

Being the target of bigotry and prejudice can be humiliating, embarrassing, and infuriating. It will of course elicit an emotional response. Most bigots aim to do exactly that. However, you must master and control your feelings. You can vent to your family and your non-work friends in the privacy of your home, but you cannot make scenes in the office. Doing so will only help the racist in your midst.

2. Posting about it on social media

You must also avoid posting anything about your complaint on social media. The contents of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and other such sites are used as evidence in civil suits. The lawyers for the company you are taking on can use any intemperate language on social media against you.
In fact, you should limit your use of social media until the issue is resolved. Even postings that seem innocent and innocuous can be used to undermine your case.

3. Discussing it with work colleagues

You should avoid discussing the details of your complaint with your work colleagues. You will have formed bonds and friendships with many of your colleagues. But the less you say about your racial discrimination complaint the better. This is for your protection and theirs. In the end, you are accusing another colleague of racism. If you have elevated it to an official complaint, then the person’s behavior and yours must be treated as confidential.

Even if you have moved passed the stage of official complaint and launched a lawsuit against the company, in which case the accusations become a matter of public record, you should avoid discussing the subject with the people you work with, as they can be subpoenaed and deposed by the company’s lawyers, and the testimony they give may do damage to your case.

How the Case Will Be Handled

If you have decided to take legal action against the company, you must put the case in the hands of a racial discrimination attorney. A racial discrimination lawyer is an employment lawyer dedicated to getting justice for those who have been mistreated in the workplace. Although your employment lawyer will act in a kind, cordial, and sympathetic way toward you, their primary purpose will be to get to the facts of your situation. If you have been fired, denied promotion, or subjected to some other form of mistreatment owing to your race, a law has been broken, and it is the job of your attorney to get you justice.

West coast employment lawyers who specialize in racial discrimination will know how to best handle your case. The company will want to avoid a costly and public trial. They will instead want to settle the matter out of court. West coast employment lawyers know how to gather the kind of fact and evidence that will give them an advantage during negotiations.

If you have been the victim of racism at work and have exhausted all in-company means to resolve it, you may need to speak to an employment attorney in Los Angeles to get other options.

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9 months ago Rights

Know Your Rights with Medicare Part F

Medicare Plan F is by far the most comprehensive supplement of Medicare you can purchase in 2019. This plan covers all coinsurance and copays as well as Medicare deductibles, ensuring that you have no expenses from your pocket. Despite its popularity, some wonder does Medicare Part F covers prescriptions. In essence, Part F plans include all the medication administered in a clinical setting or the hospital. Nonetheless, it does not cover retail prescriptions. If you are looking solely for prescription coverage, you can use additional supplement plans.

If you are unaware, Medicare is a federal healthcare program for those who are over 65 years old, have a disability, or have End-Stage Renal Disease. It typically comes in three parts. Part A is for hospital insurance, Part B is medical, and Part D is for prescriptions. These parts of Medicare do not provide full coverage, and this is where supplement plans, like Part F, come into place. If you receive social security, you are automatically enrolled into Medicare. Therefore, it is essentially legally required for you to participate in Medicare once you are 65

What does Medicare Cover?

Medicare Supplement, or a Medigap plan, pay after Medicare and helps cover your coinsurance, copays, and deductibles which you would otherwise pay from your pocket. Medigap plans don’t usually replace the typical Medicare Part B. To qualify; you need to first enroll in both Part A and Part B, which grants you the eligibility of obtaining in Medicare Plan F.

Medicare RightsAfter adding a Medicare Supplement Part G or F to your initial Medicare benefits, the coverage becomes more comprehensive. Essentially, Part F offers the most benefits of all Medicare Policies. Note: Normally, people allude to Plan F as Medigap Part F or Medicare Part F. Remember, Medicare alone has parts.

Forget Copays Next Time You Visit Your Doctor:

With most Medicare supplement plans in Arizona, Medicare Part F is a standard option mainly because it helps pay for virtually ALL gaps found in Medicare Part B and Part A. This includes the outpatient and hospital deductible. Moreover, it also further covers the 20% not covered by Part B (Medicare) hence the reason it is considered the #1 Medicare Plan in 2019. It means no costs for you when you visit your doctor’s office.

What makes Medicare Plan F so Competitive?

  • It is Comprehensive:

Medicare Part F has your cost sharing fully covered. All the policies of this plan are considered first-dollar coverage. Soon after Medicare pays its part of the claim, Part F covers the remainder leaving you with absolutely nothing from your pocket. It fully covers your Part B outpatient deductibles and Part A hospital deductible. Moreover, it also covers the full 20% Part B (Medicare) does not pay.

  • Covers all Excess Charges of Medicare Plan B:

With Part F, you never have to pay for the standard (15%) excess cost which doctors under Medicare usually charge for Part B services.

  • You can Pick any Doctor:

You can take your pick from more than 880,000 doctors from across the USA.

  • No Referrals Needed:

Medigap plans afford you the chance to visit any Medicare specialist of your choice, anytime. You do not to get a referral from your main care doctor.

  • Guaranteed Renewable:

The plan can never cancel your coverage either because of the number of claims filed or your health conditions.

So, does Medicare Part F Cover Prescriptions?

If you are wondering does Medicare Part F cover prescriptions, it covers any medical you receive in a medical environment. So, unfortunately this does not include prescriptions. Because of how much Part F does include, it is easy to see that Medicare Plan F is a comprehensive and thorough coverage option. Part F is a popular option to include with Part A and B because of how much coverage you receive with all three.

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11 months ago Rights , Patent Attorney

How to Secure a Patent Right

Securing a patent is important for inventors as they need to bar other people from copying, selling, or using their inventory for a certain period of time. With patent law, investors feel secure and protected from fraudsters who might want to use their unique ideas for their own personal gain without giving the inventor any credit. 

If you’re an inventor, you must understand that your patent may not be secure until it is filed, reviewed, approved. The U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is charged with patent approval. 

The USPTO only issues a limited number of patents with only one patent per inventory lasting for a period of between 14 to 20 years. You can secure a patent in two ways; one is to get the patent yourself from the USPTO or get permission from the current patent holder. 

Before you can successfully secure a patent, here are what needs to be considered.

Determine what is patentable

You cannot just come up with any kind of inventory and say that you want to secure a patent for it. For an inventory to qualify as a patent, it should be novel and non-obvious. A novel inventory in that which is not similar to any other inventory in either one or more parts. 

It must not have been sold, used publicly, or already patented by another inventor in a period of one year of your application. A patent is non-obvious if a skilled person will consider it unique or surprising development.

You cannot patent anything that is discovered in nature even if it’s unique. All naturally occurring events, ideas, or products are not patentable even if you’re the person behind the discovery. 

Other things that are not patentable include fundamental truths, calculation methods, mathematical formulas, and abstract principles. You can, however, patent the process for arriving at such formulas. Moreover, you cannot patent a suggestion or an idea. Any inventory that is illegal or has no legal purpose will not be granted a patent.

The Usefulness of the Inventory

Before you can be granted a patent for a certain inventory, you must be able to prove that your invention is useful. It must have a beneficial use and be usable in ways that can generate some profit. 

For your inventory to qualify into a utility patent, it should fall into categories such as machine, process, the composition of matter, manufacture, or an improvement of any of these. There are also unique items that are made by humans and the process for making those items that are patentable. 

Computer software and hardware, medical devices, drugs, formulas and processes, jewelry, designs, etc. fall in the category of patentable items. So if your inventory is patentable, that is, unique and non-obvious and is useful, you can then go ahead and apply for patent protection. 

You must understand that a patent is different from the copyright and it does not arise automatically if you don’t apply for it. You should contact an attorney to help you make a preliminary patent search to determine if you can proceed with the application. This should happen within one year of publishing or disclosing your invention to the public.

Provision Application

The first way to secure a patent is by filing a provisional patent application. This is essential for a preliminary version of the patent application. At this stage, you’ll not get the patent yet but have certain rights for the patent which you’ll get full access to at a later date. At this period, you can claim ‘patent-pending’ and have a right to sue anybody for using the patent.

Final Patent Application

Getting a complete patent right entails two processes. This could be turning the provisional application into a final patent or filing for the final patent without passing through the preliminary patent application. 

To avoid wasting time and going through different processes that you don’t understand well, you should contact an attorney to help you out. If your patent qualifies as a novel and useful inventory, the USPTO will issue you with the patent. The application process takes 18 months or more. 

License Agreement

Another way to secure a patent is through a license agreement. This entails negotiating a license agreement with the patent holder to use an existing patent. You can either get an exclusion or nonexclusive right which permits you to use the patent. The licensing agreement gives you the same right as that of a person who secured the patent right from the USPTO.

Purchase Agreement

Finally, you can secure a patent by purchasing the patent from the current holder. The patent owner has the right to sell the patent to anyone at any time without restrictions whatsoever. So, if you want to secure the rights to a patent that is already owned by someone else, you’ll have to purchase it. The parties involved can come up with a purchase agreement. The agreement has terms and conditions which you need to meet to become the new owner of the invention.

Contact a Patent Lawyer

Getting a patent right is a legal way to secure your inventory, which might be highly profitable hence greatly coveted by others. You should, however, take all the necessary precautions when it comes to patent because you can easily lose it. 

A patent can sometimes be so complex as to raise complicated legal matters. When this happens, the only person you’ll have to rely on is a patent attorney.  Paying a lawyer some fees to get a patent right is usually a wise decision since lawyers have all the legal expertise which is necessary to protect your rights.

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Collection Agencies on Your Trail? Know Your Debtors Rights

Did you take out a bigger loan than you can afford to repay? Are you now receiving several phone calls from collection agencies?

Having a large chunk of debt can affect more than just your credit score. Constant collection calls and daily letters can cause high anxiety. You may feel like there’s no way out or that you’ll be in debt forever.

Luckily, you have something called debtors’ rights. We are going to tell you what you need to know about these rights and how to use them. Keep reading for more information!

Debt Collectors Have Guidelines

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA,) collections agencies can’t call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. They also cannot call your place of work if you have asked them not to do so.

Collectors also can’t tell other people about your debt but they can ask third parties for your contact information. They can’t use abusive language (which includes profanity or threats of violence) lie about how much you owe or to whom, nor can they claim to be law enforcement.

If the agency is threatening to garnish your wages or come after your property, they must have court-ordered rights to do so.

You Can Hire an Attorney

If the collection agency tells you that they are filing a lawsuit against you, you can take a default judgment or you can fight against your debt lawsuit by obtaining legal representation.

Once you retain a lawyer, the collectors can’t communicate with you anymore and must speak to your representative. At this point, your lawyer will look into whether you actually owe the debt, if the debt is within the statute of limitations, and if the collector filed suit in the correct court.

Make Payments Securely

If your attorney advises you to begin making payments, be sure to do so through a third-party or money order. Do not use checks or give full access to your bank account and routing number.

Unfortunately, some agencies will abuse this information and still withdraw funds even if you only have a few dollars left in your account. This will throw you into an overdraft situation and add even more fees to pay.

Sometimes this mistake has already been made. When you are noticing that payments are still being automatically withdrawn, speak with your bank. There are forms that allow you to stop all automatic payments to a company–unauthorizing their use.

Other Debtors’ Rights

Aside from the fact that debt collectors must follow the above rules, you have a few other debtors’ rights. A collection agency must inform you of the steps to take if the debt isn’t yours and stop contacting you when given written notice.

Remember that stopping the calls and letters won’t cancel your debt. You should probably speak to the agency at least once to confirm the debt is yours and how much you owe. You may also choose to ask for a payment plan.

However you choose to handle your debt situation, there are resources available to help.

If you enjoyed this article and would like more information about debt collections or other legal matters, check out the rest of our site!

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12 months ago Laws , Rights , Safety

The Medical Ethics of Informed Consent

Most medical professionals take an oath before they begin practicing to promise to not do any further harm to their patients. Medical ethics is crucial to maintain an effective and helpful health care system. While sometimes deciding what the ethical choice may be, health care professionals must work to provide the best treatment for their patients. The ethical choice also might differ depending on which physician you ask. Many ethicists agree on four basic values to keep in mind when deciding on a medical ethics choice, which are  autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence. They must also look outside of their own personal values and keep in mind the values and wishes of patient’s and their families. 

Medical ethics ensures that physicians will make choices in good conscience. In many medical cases and emergencies, a patient is not able to make choices for themselves, leaving their doctor to make decisions for them, keeping in mind what’s in their best interests. One of the most important reasons to uphold medical ethics is to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. A strong doctor-patient relationship can allow a doctor to provide better care for their patients. 

Arguably the most important part of the doctor-patient relationship is the need for a patient to be able to trust their doctor. A patient’s trust in their physician is typically associated with better outcomes from treatment. Trust is needed for patients to effectively address their needs to their doctor, as well as for their doctor to listen to these concerns. Aside from medical results, it’s also important for everyone to feel well-cared for when they seek medical treatment. All patients have the need to feel comfortable receiving care from any medical professional. Trust is the foundation in any relationship, for the one you have with your doctor to the one you have with a motor vehicle accident lawyer.  

What is informed consent?

Informed consent is a necessary part of medical ethics. It’s also an important part of maintaining a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Informed consent involves a healthcare provider explaining the details of treatment, including the risks and benefits to their patients. When patients are given adequate information about their care, they’re able to make decisions for themselves if they’d like to go through with that treatment, consider other options, or turn town treatment altogether. In most cases, typically excluding emergency situations, informed consent is the law and permission must be given to provide treatment. 

Importance of Informed Consent 

Anyone without medical education can’t make well-informed decisions about their treatment on their own and require their doctor to aid them with this. Patients are often given the choice to either receive medical treatment or deny it. Minors are not generally considered to be able to make decisions regarding their medical care, but doctors still have a responsibility to keep informed about what their treatment entails. Those who aren’t able to make decisions for themselves will often have a court-appointed proxy who can act on their behalf to make it for them. When a person isn’t able to give consent, it’s especially important for doctors to act ethically.  

Informed consent is needed most times a patient receives care, such as routine blood tests. While many medical procedures can save lives, they can also be extremely difficult and have the chance of reducing the quality of life for patients. For example, if a patient has a terminal illness, but treatment can be provided that might make the remainder of their life painful or difficult, they might understandably want to turn it down. Patients have autonomy and a right to be able to choose what happens to their bodies, and the only way they can properly do this is with the guidance of their physician. If doctors alone were able to make these life-altering decisions for their patients, people would often be subjected to pain and hardships against their will. 

Without informed consent, a patient can’t fully be able to trust their physician. Communication needs to be open for a patient to truly receive proper care. Doctors also need to understand the importance of transparency in their conversations with patients. Information regarding treatment should be unbiased to allow patients to decide what is best for them. When getting consent, it’s important for a physician to truly care about educating patients and respecting them, rather than convincing them to hand over their signature. Medical ethics play a heavy role in informed consent when doctors need to act according to what their patients want, not what they would want if they were in this situation.

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1 year ago Rights , Safety

Could Poor Hygiene and Body Odor Fall Under Wrongful Termination?

Have you ever seen an episode of The Office? This iconic TV show often portrays how personalities clash in the workplace.

When employees congregate, it’s almost inevitable that some won’t get along. What happens when a co-worker’s poor hygiene or odor begins affecting your productivity? How should the office respond?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about body odors in the office.

Identifying Poor Hygiene Problems

Workplaces should be safe and inviting for all employees. When one employee’s bad breath or body odor offends another, what action should get taken?

Is there a body odor workplace law to seek advice from? Currently, there’s not.

The best course of action for an employee is to report the situation to their HR manager.

Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, and Harassment Concerns

HR managers must remain sensitive when dealing with these situations. Why?

Not all offending smells are a result of poor hygiene. Some odors are a symptom of a disability, which means they’re protected under law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act would protect an employee in this situation. HR would need to provide accommodations for the disability.

The main point is to distinguish where the offensive odor is stemming from. here are a few examples of what’s protected and what’s not:

  • Odors from unwashed clothes: Not protected
  • Odors caused by medications: Protected
  • Odors caused by not wearing deodorant: Not protected
  • Odors caused by medical conditions: Protected

A wrongful discrimination suit could arise if the employee gets fired for their odor.

It’s also illegal to create a hostile work environment by being passive-aggressive. Never try to placate employees by being overt with air fresheners.

Possible HR Solutions

So, what are some potential solutions for HR when informed about smelly coworkers?

First, identify what’s causing the problem. If personal hygiene is the problem, then refer to your company’s dress code policy. If the odor is disability related, then you’ll need to seek other options.

Work with the employee to create a reasonable accommodation. The solution may include a work-at-home office, or it could involve using perfumes.

How Can I Manage My Symptoms?

Have you ever gotten called out for being one of those smelly people at the office? Such labels can feel very demoralizing and hurtful.

If it’s hygiene-related, then you’ll have to work to correct the problem. Here are a few solutions:

  • Try a new, scented laundry detergent
  • Start using deodorant, cologne, or perfume
  • Shop these e-liquids to reduce the smell of second-hand smoke
  • Work on improving your self-care habits

Understand your rights when a disability is causing the problem. Consider what accommodations would work for you, and discuss them with your employer.

Know Your Rights and Boundaries

Poor hygiene, body odors, and other social faux pas are a sensitive topic to approach in the workplace. Employees need to know their rights, and HR needs to know how to cope with these issues.

Have you ever experienced working with someone with poor personal hygiene? On the flip side, do you suffer from a disability that causes undesirable odors? Tell us your stories by leaving a comment in the box below.

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The Ultimate History of Immigration in the U.S. Timeline

The U.S. is known to be one of the most common destinations of immigrants over the years. In 2019, the laws of immigration in the U.S. state that a legal U.S. citizen must fund foreign citizens seeking to immigrate into the country. The immigrant must also have an approved petition before any further applications.

To become a lawful U.S. resident, the immigrant must obtain the immigration visa before packing their bags. However, this wasn’t the case in the 1870s when immigration into the U.S. first started. The conditions leading to immigration were quite different from today, and so was the process of immigrating.

Do you know the complete history of U.S. immigration? Find out in this comprehensive history of immigration in the U.S. timeline.

In 1790: The Naturalization Act

Unlike today, in the year 1790, immigrants were given a law that requested them to apply for citizenship and stay in their country one year after the application. Once they did that, they could go into the U.S. and remain there at least two years without leaving the country.

As for those allowed to apply for citizenship, only white people of “good character” could apply. Those were the requirements for getting U.S. Citizenship. Nonwhite persons who didn’t get to receive citizenship would be denied opportunities for voting and other constitutional securities.

Later in August same year, the U.S. government ran its first census. Tally resulted in 3.9 million residents, with one in five Americans being of African background.

In 1815 to 1875: Immigration of the Irish and Germans

After the war of 1812, peace was finally established between the British and Americans in the year 1815. After this, immigration by the Irish into the U.S. drastically grew. Between 1820 and 1860 the Irish (who were mostly of Catholic denomination), totaled to a third of all immigrants in the U.S.

Germans also made their move at a similar time to join residents in the United States. Some of these Germans were moving into the Midwest to buy farms.

Unfortunately, due to their method of migration, many new immigrants could arrive feeling unwell, or worse – dying. As they traveled through the Atlantic Ocean by ship, they got to experience cramped conditions and climate that didn’t favor their general health.

All these led to Congress passing legislation through the Steerage Act of 1819, which had two major requirements:

  1. Sustenance rule where all ships must have better conditions for the immigrants arriving in the United States. This protected immigrants from illnesses and ensured they were comfortable during their journey into the country.
  2. Congress established a law where ship captains would report, or instead give information on passenger’s demographic and destinations.

In 1849, the worst happened to immigrants when a party known as the Know-Nothing-Party formed. The reason behind this formation was as a result of the backlash after noting the increasing number of Germans migrating into the United States.

After the civil war, a few states passed new immigration laws in 1875. In the same year, the Supreme Court declared the federal government the entity for enforcing immigration laws.

Chinese Exclusion Act

In 1880, Americans began a rapid period of urbanization and industrialization. The same year, a second immigration wave began.

Forty years from then, over 20 million immigrants moved into the country from Eastern, Southern, and Central Europe. This tally includes 2 million Jews and about 4 million Italians who came to work in factories and settle in main cities like New York.

Around the 1850s, a substantial number of Chinese had immigrated into the U.S. In 1882, the Chinese got unlucky when they were barred from getting into the United States. This was done by passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act that year.

Most of the Chinese immigrants worked in the gold mines, built railways, worked in cloth factories, and took part in agricultural jobs. With time, these laborers became quite successful in the United States. This led to Americans becoming anti-Chinese; hence the Act.

This Act is first one to impose extensive constraints on a specific immigrant group.

The Immigration Act of 1891

In 1891, the Immigration Act was further crafted to exclude more immigrants into the country, some of which include:

  • Sick people or the diseased
  • Polygamists
  • Convicted criminals

It’s in 1891 when the federal government of the United States created the office of immigration. This office was to be used to coordinate immigration laws and ensure all immigrants adhere. Immigration inspectors were stationed at main ports of entry in the U.S. to process each immigrant who tries to get into the country.

The first immigration station opened in January 1892 in the New York Harbor in Ellis Island.

The U.S. & Japanese Sign Gentleman’s Agreement in 1907

The Japanese immigrants settled in America and began to work at farming jobs. White workers would lose their jobs, and their wages cut. This became a worry to the government, leading them to sign the Gentleman’s agreement in 1907.

This agreement gave the Japanese government the mandate to restrict Japanese immigrants into the U.S. The restriction was limited to business people and professionals. This way, the white workers would keep their jobs and have better wages.

World War Bore Restrictions from 1917

More immigration restrictions were enacted following America’s involvement in World War I. The immigration act stated that literacy requirements were to be considered for all immigrants into the States. The Act then excluded Asian immigrants.

In 1924, the federal government established the U.S. Border Patrol to capture illegal immigrants (mainly Asians and Chinese) trying to enter America through the Canadian and Mexican borders.

World War II brought about labor shortages which prompted the government to allow in Mexican agricultural workers into the country through the Bracero Program in 1942.

Quota System Ends

In 1965, the immigration act and Nationality Act refurbished the American immigration system ending enacted laws in the 1920s, which favored specific racial and ethnic groups.

Later in 1986, President Reagan signed the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which gave pardon to over 3 million legal immigrants living in the U.S.

Child Dreamers and Terrorist Immigrants

In 2001, President Barrack Obama signed an Act known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It helps some dreamers avoid deportation.

Unfortunately, the Act does not help them get citizenship. In 2012, President Donald Trump issued executive orders to prevent travel and immigration of people from selected Muslim countries. They include Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria.

This move is meant to help protect the country from terrorist entries. Find out more about eligibility.

History of Immigration in the U.S. Timeline

From the year 1875 to 2001, the history of immigration in the U.S. timeline has been through tremendous changes. They affect both adults, and child dreamers.

The federal government has tried to maintain favorable conditions for immigrants to apply for their immigration visas while also trying to protect the livelihood of current U.S. citizens

Do you have any questions about current immigration laws or other legal matters? View our other articles on the topic to learn more.

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