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January 2015 Archives

Gender Bias As Subtle And Destructive As Ever

Women are put in a disadvantaged position in virtually every employment situation. Women are paid less for the same work. They are passed over for management positions they have earned. They are ignored. They are graded on a curve. They are subjected to verbal and physical harassment at much higher rates than men. Recent studies have shown that the bias is causing many women to remain quiet, even when they have ideas that could help move things forward.

Employee Or Contractor Under New Jersey Law

Some employers make extensive use of independent contractors. The benefits for an employer are clear. While employees are entitled to overtime pay and benefits, such as health insurance, worker's compensation coverage and more, independent contractors are generally on their own in terms of securing these rights. For that reason, it is very common for employers to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor in an attempt to avoid these legal protections. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently clarified the standard under which a designation of independent contractor will be evaluated.

The Sharing Economy And Workers' Rights

A rise in the popularity of what is known as the sharing economy has a profound impact on the rights of workers. The Internet has enabled citizens to exchange goods and services on a scope that previously could only be matched by large businesses. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Homejoy, TaskRabbit, Instacart and others provide a platform through which individuals can perform services for other individuals. They clean homes, rent apartments, pick up groceries, transport people and perform other duties through these companies, but as private individuals. The companies, therefore, are not required to provide overtime pay, insurance, workers' compensation, sick days or other benefits. The protections that have been fought for over generations to keep American workers safe are easily avoided under these arrangements.

The State Of Distracted Driving Laws

What constitutes distracted driving? Most states ban reckless driving and have the power to give speeding tickets for traveling at a rate of speed too fast for the conditions. Texting while driving is now banned in 44 states. But what other behaviors represent a dangerous level of distraction? Are police citing drivers who are distracted by something other than a text message? Some law enforcement agencies have taken to penalizing drivers for a wider range of distracted driving than is mentioned in texting bans.

New List Of Safety Priorities From NTSB

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases a list of the top 10 safety issues it wants to emphasize in the coming year. The list for 2015 was released this week and contains several issues that impact drivers on a regular basis. The "Most Wanted" list includes two entries that contribute to thousands of traffic deaths each year. The first and most pressing is the problem of substance-impaired driving. The second is the issue of commercial trucking safety.

Recalls Only Going To Rise, According To Rosekind

Cars were recalled at a record pace in 2014. While the effectiveness and efficiency of the recall system was called into question, it is clear that some mechanism is necessary for getting unsafe vehicles off the road. The newly installed head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mark Rosekind, has promised changes to the recall system. He is also warning consumers and auto manufacturers that more recalls are to be expected going forward, not less. The NHTSA may have more work to do to combat recall fatigue, where consumers stop paying attention to recalls because they are so frequent.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Lawyer discuss the movie "The Interview" and the Terrorism by Self-Censorship

"The Interview" is a movie about two Americans, a reporter and his producer, who are recruited as CIA agents to assassinate Kim Jong-un. The North Korean dictator was a fan of their show, and had wanted to meet them. The CIA wanted them to kill the dictator at this meeting. Sounds like a Tom Clancy novel, right? Except that it's a "buddy" movie. It's a comedy. "Ha ha." Understand? It's not a geopolitical thriller. But then again, who cares if it was as it relates to my point? Stay with me.

Identifying Defects And Recalling Vehicles

Defective automobiles and automobile parts are a common problem. The total number of recalls has risen to record levels. The process by which auto defects are identified and eventually recalled has drawn heavy criticism. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came under fire following what were considered blunders in handling faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles and defective airbags manufactured by Takata. New NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind has promised to improve the defect analysis and recall system.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fatality Report Summary

In addition to the news that motorcycle deaths were down in 2013, the fatality report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contains several interesting facts. Perhaps most interesting was the fact that there were quite a few more total vehicle crashes in 2013 than in 2012. Total crashes were up 3 percent, but injuries and deaths were both down. That might indicate that efforts to improve driver ability were ineffective, but advances designed to improve the survivability of an accident made a difference. Given the effort put into combating drunk driving, distracted driving and fatigued driving, facts that show an increase in accidents are noteworthy.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and Attacks on Whistleblower Protection Laws

"Or...Well, Of Course, The Perpetrators Of Fraud Against A Government Want To Weaken The Laws That Protect Whistleblowers."

Motorcycle Fatalities Down In 2013

While there have been steady decreases in the number of fatal car accidents over the past 15 years, motorcycle deaths have refused to follow suit. With the numbers tallied for 2013, that trend may finally be corrected. For the second time since 1997, the total number of motorcycle fatalities dropped from the previous year's total. In 2013, motorcycle deaths were down 6.4 percent. That decrease was more than double the gains made in overall traffic fatalities throughout the country.

Dangerous Trucks Are On The Road

Headlines concerning truck accidents often focus on truck drivers. Distracted drivers and truck drivers who are suffering from fatigue due to lack of sleep draw headlines. But many accidents involve trucks that cannot be safely operated by any driver. Trucks that are not properly maintained or that are loaded improperly are a danger to the truck driver as well as everyone else on the road. The regulations in place to ensure that trucks are maintained in proper working order are proving insufficient to protect the public.

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