By Daniel T. Silverman Esquire, Costello & Mains
September 2014 Archives
Wal-Mart is back in the headlines again. This time, the discount retail giant is making news over its new dress code policy, or "uniforms" as many are insisting is a more appropriate descriptor, that goes into effect on Monday, September 29.
Employers have a large bag of tricks they can use to avoid paying prevailing wages, the minimum wage, proper overtime, payroll taxes and other legally mandated costs. One of the most common tricks is to classify a person as an independent contractor when the reality of their circumstances shows that they are an employee. While employers do not actually have the right to define workers as they see fit, regulators face an uphill battle in catching and punishing them for misclassification.
Or . . . Are We Still Having This Conversation?"
Hispanic Heritage Month has now begun, and runs from September 15th through October 15th. This month is a time to celebrate the important presence of the Hispanic Americans and Latino Americans in the United States. The significance of the start date (September 15th) is the Independence Day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The countries of Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their Independence Days during this month of celebration. This important event began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and was expanded in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to encompass a full month.
Federal employees and job applicants are protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. Employees are further protected from retaliation for engaging in protected behaviors, such as filing a discrimination complaint. When a victim of discrimination files a claim with a federal agency, that claim may be dismissed for several reasons. After such a dismissal, the employee or applicant can file an appeal with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Late in 2008, Honda recalled 4,200 vehicles it believed might be equipped with faulty air bags. The air bags had the potential to explode and send metal shrapnel flying into the vehicle. The recall came four years after the first reported incident of an exploding air bag leading to injury. The defective air bags, manufactured by Takata, are now responsible for 14 million recalled vehicles. The recalls cover 11 different auto manufacturers and numerous vehicle types. As with the GM ignition switch recall, people are asking why the defect has been allowed to endanger so many people over such a long period of time.
General Motors may be the latest auto manufacturer to look to technology to reduce the number of distracted driving and fatigued driving accidents. GM has purchased tracking devices that analyze the faces and eyes of drivers. Similar technology is used in the commercial trucking industry to identify when a truck driver's eyes are not on the road, either due to a distraction or to drowsiness. GM's initial investment is for 500,000 of these devices. The company has not yet released the details of which vehicles will receive the devices or of how they will be used.
by Dan T. Silverman, Esquire; Costello & Mains
A drop in motorcycle fatalities in 2013 is being attributed to bad weather, rather than to a safer environment for motorcyclists in a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association. After increasing by more than 7 percent from 2011 to 2012, motorcycle fatalities dropped 7 percent in 2013. Unfortunately, what appears to be a safety gain might be entirely the result of fewer miles driven by motorcyclists due to inclement weather. The GHSA report concluded that 2013 marks the 15th consecutive year of stagnant motorcycle safety numbers.
The roles fathers have with newborn children has gradually changed over time. Nowadays, fathers are more involved with changing diapers, preparing food, bathing and comforting their young children. More importantly, more companies are recognizing the benefit (and fairness) of offering paternity time; essentially time off for new fathers to establish a bond with their children directly after the birth.