We are delighted that three of our staff members have decided to pursue a career in law and are starting law school this fall. As pictured, they are left to right: Allison Cullens – Albany Law School; Austin St. Laurent – Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and Charles Terranova – University of Buffalo Law School. We wish you good luck and we’re confident you’ll become outstanding attorneys.
Virginia Tucker was 60 and the second oldest employee in the maintenance department of Chobani’s yogurt plant in Idaho. She claims her younger male supervisor in a supervisors’ meeting said she should be given negative performance ratings because she was a threat to the company. He felt she should be fired before she sued. Virginia also said her younger male supervisors pulled a humiliating prank against her in the crowed lunch room and laughed at her. Tucker complained to the state human rights commission and the EEOC. She was fired the following day. The company claims she was fired for failing to perform a proper procedure while working on a piece of equipment. Her suit claims the company didn’t follow their handbook procedures in her firing and that the state’s Department of Labor investigation found she hadn’t violated any company procedures. The suit also claims she was replaced by a younger, less experienced male. She is seeking lost pay, benefits, damages, and attorney and court fees.
Mr. Freedman I would like to thank you for the opportunities that you have blessed me with being able to work for your wonderful firm and the amazing friendships and connections that have blossomed. I truly enjoyed the working environment that you have cultivated here and I am saddened to be leaving on such short notice. The experience I have gained here will greatly assist me during my law school coursework and I cannot thank you enough for that. Austin
The VA continues to receive bipartisan support in Congress and last week President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. This Act should make it easier for vets to challenge VA disability benefits claim decisions. Last update for the bill in terms of the law was in the 1930s. VA Secretary Sulkin said he feels Democrats and Republicans agree work must be done when it involves veteran issues.
Last week, President Trump signed the Arla Harrell Act into law, which is intended to secure VA benefits for World War II veterans who were exposed to chemicals in experiments. The bill, sponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt of Missouri, passed in the Senate the week before. Arla Harrell is one of an estimated 400 surviving WWII veterans who were exposed to chemicals such as phosgene gas, mustard gas, and lewisite as part of an international testing operation. Participants in the test were sworn to secrecy by threat of court-martial until the government lifted the oath in the 1990s. Prior to this date, participants could not tell their doctors the nature of their ailments.
Imagine yourself in this situation: You have three children (the oldest of which is starting to look at colleges) and you and your spouse both work to support your family. Unexpectedly, your spouse loses their job when the company they work for downsizes. Like many other Americans, you live paycheck to paycheck, just able to meet the expenses of supporting a family of five. When one of you is laid off, it’s not long before you are behind on credit cards, car payments and the mortgage. You start receiving late notices and collection letters. You keep hoping your spouse will find a new job, but unemployment is set to run out, and your mortgage company has served you with a foreclosure notice. This scenario is all too common. A decrease in income due to loss of employment, illness/injury, or divorce can be devastating to financial stability. I spoke with a couple recently who fell behind on their mortgage payments because the wife lost her job, making it impossible for them to meet all of their expenses. They were using credit cards at the grocery store and the gas station, and were barely able to make the minimum payments. They also… Continue Reading When should you consider bankruptcy?
The age of the Internet has opened a lot of options to people — some good, some bad. Unfortunately, under the bad, it has become a tool for those who wish to harass others, including their co-workers. In an incident that recently came to our attention, a young girl was harassed by a co-worker who chose to show her a YouTube video of a man being decapitated. The co-worker had also previously threatened to kill the girl. After the video incident, she could not sleep at night, and could not bring herself to eat meat. The girl reported both incidents to the manager, who said he would speak to the co-worker, however, he had no intention of firing the young man, who he considered to be a good worker. “This is an extreme example of a person with a sick mind preying on a young girl at her first job,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys at Law, PLLC. “In this case, the girl was only 17.” This girl suffered from emotional distress as a result of the harassment, which qualifies as employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A person who has been… Continue Reading Co-worker uses graphic video to harass fellow employee
The controversial Uber and Lyft have arrived in Western New York, but the wrinkles are still being ironed out. One of the wrinkles is who pays if a ride-sharing car is in an accident and the passenger is injured? Or a pedestrian is injured? “Since the drivers are not employees of Uber or Lyft — they are independent contractors — the laws are not the same as if you were being driven by a taxi,” said Brian D. Knauth, attorney. “If you were in a taxi, you would simply sue the company. But with a ride-sharing company, and if your driver was at fault, you would bring a claim or suit against the individual driver.” The question then is: Will the driver carry sufficient insurance or will the driver only carry the minimum required in New York – $25,000.00. Fortunately, as part of the new law allowing ride-sharing companies to operate, the companies are required to carry liability insurance to cover the drivers from the moment the driver accepts a pre-arranged trip, through the pickup of the rider, and through to the completion of the trip. Uber/Lyft provide insurance for its drivers with at least $1million of liability coverage. This… Continue Reading Hit by a ride-sharing car? Who pays the bills?