There are Laws that Protect Employees from any Form of Discrimination and Retaliation
“The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.
The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.”
The EEOC was passed into law by the United States Congress in 1964; its primary task is to uphold and protect the rights of all individuals in the U.S. to equal employment opportunities by enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, a federal mandate that illegalizes any form of workplace discrimination.
Though many discriminatory practices in the workplace have already been exposed and many of those complained of and found guilty, including employer, co-worker or client, have been brought to justice, the fight to finally stop workplace discrimination is still far from being won. Employees should bear in mind that no EEO law violation will be exposed and no violator will be held liable if everyone, especially the victims of discriminatory practices, will keep silent.
Well, truth is, not complaining will not make matters worse and keeping silent will keep unaffected employees safe – as long as they do not become the target of discriminatory practices. However, employees should be aware that the very laws which protect them from discrimination and harassment also protect them from retaliatory acts. The EEOC, besides enforcing Title VII, also prohibits punishing employees and job applicants who assert their right to be free from harassment and all forms of employment discrimination. Asserting one’s EEO rights is legally called “protected activity,” and it can take many forms, including:
- Filing or witnessing in an EEO charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit;
- Informing a supervisor or manager about discriminatory practices, including harassment, in the workplace;
- Answering questions during an employer investigation regarding alleged harassment;
- Refusing to follow orders aimed at discriminating anyone;
- Resisting sexual advances or intervening to protect a co-employee;
- Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice;
- Asking a manager or co-workers about salary information to uncover possible discrimination on wages; and,
- Participating in a complaint process, or opposing discrimination.
While discriminatory and retaliatory acts (such as denial of a promotion or a raise, demotion, being fired from work, reduction in salary and/or bad referencing) are obvious, some are made with subtlety to make them least apparent, like change in work shift or job relocation.
The John Melton Law Firm strongly emphasizes the illegality of discriminating or retaliating against workers who exercise their rights. Proving someone guilty of any of these illegal practices can be difficult, however, especially without help from a skillful and experienced discrimination or retaliation lawyer. Thus, having legal help, especially in the filing of a legal complaint, may prove greatly advantageous, considering the fact that even the filing a complaint has a statutory limit.
Thousands of Car Accidents Still being caused by Drunk Drivers
Driving while under the influence (DUI) of illegal drugs or alcohol is totally illegal due to the big risk it puts other motorists and pedestrians into. Long before actually getting to sit behind the wheel of their own car, drivers have long learned that drinking and driving are a very dangerous combination.
The author of One for the Road, a book that looks at the grassroots of drunk driving in the U.S., says that love of drinking and love of driving are both deeply rooted in the nation’s culture. This is why, despite stricter laws, harsher punishments and heavier fines, so many Americans still drive while under the influence.
In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received 10,322 reports of fatal motor vehicle accidents that involved alcohol- impaired drivers. Two years prior to this, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested after they were found intoxicated either by alcohol or illegal drugs.
The present blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in all U.S. states is 0.08%, while for drivers below the age of 21, a “No Tolerance” policy, is in effect. This policy mandates that no trace of alcohol should be found in their blood system while they are driving, (traffic accident by the way, is the leading cause of death among teens). Punishment for violators include huge fines, jail term and probable loss of license.
The law sees drunk driving as a grave act of negligence, much more so if someone gets injured or killed. Drivers who will be found intoxicated will be charged with DUI, or driving under the influence, a serious violation of road safety rules. Depending on the BAC level or if anyone is hurt in the accident, the punishments become heavier and the fines, more costly; there are also the possibility of the court ordering that an ignition interlock be installed inside the driver’s vehicle and the acquisition of an SR-22.
As explained in the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, DUI is characterized as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%. While this is the threshold at which it becomes illegal to operate a motor vehicle, one may still be charged with a DUI if his/her BAC was below the legal limit. In many states, such as in Tennessee , there is what is called an “implied consent” law. This law declares one’s position behind the wheel of a vehicle as consent for mandatory submission to a chemical test. Refusal to submit to a chemical test should an officer ask him/her to do so will result in automatic revocation of his/her driver’s license for a period of at least one year, depending on his/her history of being pulled over for intoxicated driving.
Bankruptcy: A Legal Solution to Save Yourself from Crushing Debts
When America’s economy took a downturn in 2009, many were laid off and not many found a high-paying one which would allow them to maintain their life style.
Failing to earn enough to afford one’s needs and pay all bills, such as credit card billings and other monthly bills, then financial problems can easily set in. Before one even realizes it, there is a chance that his/her debts would have grown to an amount that may be impossible to manage.
Even today, this is one common scenario for thousands of Americans. Worse, after just about two or three months of lapsed payments, particularly to banks and credit card companies, a person’s loan or account would be considered as bad debt and he/she would referred to a collection agency which, more often than not, resorts to harassing tactics to make him/her pay.
Crushing debts have caused many individuals so much worry and stress; these have affected family and professional relationships, many of which getting destroyed. Debts, however, are not unsolvable problems, for the law offers legal alternatives to enable individuals with overwhelming debts to address their problem and regain control of their financial situation. One such legal solution is bankruptcy, a legal declaration of one’s inability to settle personal or business loans. One immediate and beneficial effect of filing for bankruptcy is that once it is filed, all attempts by agencies to collect debt payments will stop. This is called “automatic stay.” Creditors will also lose any right of having a debtor’s salary garnished or his/her bank account levied.
There are different Chapters or types of Bankruptcy laws that a person may apply for, depending on his/her financial standing, work or assets and properties. These are
- Chapter 7 or liquidation bankruptcy, which enables a person to pay his/her debts through the liquidation of some of his/her assets. With regard to business firms, these will need to cease operations, as a court-appointed trustee sells or liquidates all assets owned by these. Residual proceeds, after having paid all creditors, will be returned to the individual or business owners;
- Chapter 11, or business reorganization, the business owner usually acts as trustee (if the court does not appoint one); he/she also becomes a debtor-in-possession since the law allows continuous operation of his/her business and;
- Chapter 12, which is designed for farmers and fishermen with a regular annual income and who own the whole or more than half of the farming/ fishing business; and,
- Chapter 13, which allows a debtor to make a three-year or five-year proposal through which he/she could pay all of his/her debts.
According to the Bradford Law Offices, PLLC, whatever the unique circumstances of your situation may be, you do not need to suffer under the weight of overwhelming debts. Most people do not realize the number of different remedies that exist which could help them get out a financial crisis. With the help of a skilled Bankruptcy lawyer, however, they may just be able to find the solution that will allow them to regain a strong financial foothold.
Personal Injury due to Drunk-driving
Drunk-driving is a major traffic offense in all U.S. states. This is because alcohol impairs a person’s motor skills and mental capacity, and affects his/her coordination, reaction time, judgment, perception, and overall capability to keep his/her focus on the road. Lack or loss of control over any of these skills can easily result in a crash that can injure or kill not only the drunk driver himself/herself, but also his/her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. It is due to the increased risk of harm that innocent individuals may befall which makes drunk-driving a major traffic violation.
Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08 percent, studies have shown that even at 0.02 percent BAC level, a person’s driving ability and response time can already be affected. The possibility of figuring in a crash increases after 0.05 percent BAC, becoming even higher after 0.08 percent; thus, under all state laws, an individual is considered alcohol-impaired if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher and, if caught, will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI). To further reduce the risks brought about by drunk-driving, however, some states authorize traffic enforcers to charge a driver with impaired driving or DUI even if such driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is below 0.08 percent, so long as the arresting officer sees that the driver’s abilities are impaired.
In 2013, there were 1,171,935 DUI arrests in the U.S. In 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million. With these staggering figures some traffic authorities are even thankful that the number of fatal accidents (due to alcohol and/or illegal drugs impairment) has not gone beyond 10,500 during the recent years). Well, thanks to stricter laws, the zeal in enforcing these laws, the harsher penalties, and to the efforts of private groups, like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, such as the Zero Tolerance law (which prohibits drivers below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol) and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law (which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.
Traffic authorities, however, know that despite all the efforts from government and private groups, people will continue to get behind the wheel of their vehicles even if intoxicated. According to Williams Kherkher, “Individuals who drive drunk often convince themselves that they are fully capable of operating a vehicle. In reality, drunk driving can cause individuals to execute a number of extremely dangerous driving behaviors including: speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, ignoring traffic signals, changing lanes without looking, weaving/swerving between lanes, overly aggressive driving, failure to use headlights or turn signals, and falling asleep behind the wheel. These behaviors, among others, exhibited by drunk drivers can cause catastrophic accidents.
“Every year,” as mentioned by Milwaukee personal injury lawyers in their website, “thousands of Americans are seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers. These incidents are tragic because they could be wholly prevented were it not for the recklessness of those persons who choose to drive after they have consumed alcohol.”
The possible financial burden victims may suffer due to an accident, according to West Palm Beach injury attorneys, is due to extensive medical bills, lost wages, and painful injuries that can keep them out of work for an indefinite period. Thus, besides possible jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and license suspension, the liable party can also face monetary liabilities or compensation which they will have to pay to their victims.