All posts by David Kaplan

Response to COVID Harassment

Response to COVID-Related Harassment

 

As the novel COVID-19 virus continues to spread tension across the nation, laws continue to be put in place to deal with the consequences. One such unfortunate symptom the virus has brought with it, is a staggering number of reports of discrimination and xenophobia that several lawyers say they haven’t seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001  terrorist attacks. Such intense circumstances call for strong measures, as the government is forced to take action. So, what exactly are state and local governments in the tri-state area doing to thwart the social and cultural symptoms of this virus? Let’s take a look at the New Jersey and New York City response to COVID-related harassment.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has created a COVID-19 response team due to the spike in reported harassment and discrimination stemming from the pandemic. The team has investigated countless matters, all of which included discrimination allegations of some sort, in “housing, public accommodations and employment on the basis of race, national origin, disability and lawful source of income.” New York City is home to one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the nation, the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibits harassment and discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The Commission has the authority to award injunctive relief as well as compensatory damages to victims, including emotional distress damages and other benefits, and can deter future violations by ordering civil penalties of up to $250,000 for willful and malicious violations of the law. The Commission can also order trainings on the NYC Human Rights Law, changes to policies, and other forms of relief, such as community service and mediated apologies. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, they have been working with community organizations to track and monitor reports of discrimination. Their Community Relations Bureau (CRB) has also held bystander intervention trainings with the Center for Anti-Violence Education that provide techniques to safely de-escalate a bias incident in real time.

Following suit with NYC, in March of 2020, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) released a Guidance addressing frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19, and, more specifically, the protections and obligations under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The NJLAD prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, and other protected characteristics in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. The NJLAD also requires an employer, housing provider, or place of public accommodation to take action to stop such harassment, if it knows or should have known about it. The DCR stressed that these protections still apply if the issue stems from COVID-19-related concerns and offers the following examples to illustrate:

  • It is unlawful for your employer to fire you because you coughed at work and they perceive you have COVID-19, which is characterized as a disability under the law.
  • If an employee of east-Asian heritage is harassed by a coworker claiming that Asian people caused COVID-19 or calling the virus “the Chinese virus,” an employer who knows or should have known about the harassment must take action to stop the conduct.
  • The NJLAD prohibit retaliation against a person for complaining about discrimination or bias-based harassment will be extended to conditions related to COVID-19. This means an employer also cannot fire an employee for reporting COVID-19-related harassment to human resources.

 

Although COVID-19 may be novel, there are laws already in place that establish protections, obligations, and benefits related to COVID-19. The DCR makes it clear that COVID-19-related issues are afforded the same protections under the NJLAD and the NJFLA, as any other claim of discrimination or retaliation, and will be addressed in the same manner. If you or someone you know might be facing harassment or bias claims, in the workplace or otherwise, you should contact The Law Office of David H. Kaplan. David Kaplan is an experienced litigator with a wealth of knowledge and expertise with the wisdom gained therein, and can help you fight back legally within the area of employment discrimination, harassment, and anything of the sort. For more information, visit dkaplanlaw.com/

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MeToo Movement In 2020

MeToo Movement In 2020

Though the MeToo movement was originally founded by Tarana Burke back in 2006, the popularization of the #MeToo hashtag in 2017 is what most people remember as the beginning of the heightened awareness around the pervasiveness of sexual abuse in society. Now, three years later, the movement has stretched across the globe with the hashtag regularly trending in more than 85 nations. In addition, there have been numerous documentaries released detailing the accounts of women who have fallen victim to sexual abuse by major names in the music industry, film industry, and political circles. Women all over the world who have experienced abuse, harassment, and discrimination are now banning together and speaking up about the injustices they have faced in order to create a more equal, safer environment for themselves and generations to come. Here’s everything you need to know about the value and current state of the MeToo movement in 2020.

With all this said, telling your own story can be scary. Will it cause more harm than good? Will people listen, understand, and support you? Or, maybe more importantly, will you receive any sort of tangible justice for the pain you have endured?

Are women of color equally represented in the MeToo movement?

Tarana Burke, the black female activist who founded the MeToo movement, believes the untold stories of minority women are largely what is missing from the current movement. Most of the focus has been upon powerful men and the white female celebrities who have accused them, yet, there are many minority women that have experienced sexual violence. They feel their pain is not prioritized in the same way. In order for the movement to truly insight real change, it must be broadened to support all women bravely telling their stories. This is a systemic issue and until we tackle the issue more broadly, not just amongst A-list celebrities and politicians, we will not be able to reform society and protect people from experiencing horrific acts of sexual abuse and discrimination.

Why is it important to speak up and hold others accountable?

Studies show the sexual recidivism rates of sexual offenders averages around 24 percent after 15 years. This means 24% of charged sexual offenders will reoffend, with another sexual crime, within 15 years. While this number may seem lower than expected, we must remember these studies are based only on convicted sexual predators. If not held accountable, a person could continue to harass others with little to no consequences. By speaking up against your abuser you may be protecting countless others from enduring the same harm, while also forcing the abuser to face their wrongdoings head on. It is extremely important to hold abusers accountable and not let their wrongful actions slide in order to work towards reforming society. We must show we will no longer stand, nor turn a blind eye, to the sexual abuse and discrimination immanent in our culture.

How do we effectively enforce accountability?

            Matters of the law can often result in a tolling process, as it is often slow moving and requires considerable perseverance. It is helpful to have an attorney who specializes in matters of discrimination to support, defend, and aid you in navigating the legal world. Furthermore, having your voice and story heard is the first step in receiving justice. David Kaplan, a North Jersey Lawyer, is here to listen and prepared to fight for the justice you deserve. Throughout his 30 year legal career he has helped numerous clients form lawsuits against acts of discrimination, proving his drive to hold others accountable for their actions. In the past three years alone, he has won over $12 million in verdicts and settlements for his clients. He is dedicated to fighting for a more equal society, for all humans, and believes in uplifting the voices of those that have been mistreated, oppressed, and/or abused. Visit dkaplanlaw.com or check out his Instagram to receive a free case evaluation today.

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Workers’ Compensation during COVID-19

Workers’ Compensation during COVID-19

Across the country, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout, millions of employees continue to work. While some became “remote” working from the comfort of their homes, others still have to go into work. These “essential” employees confront the risk of contracting COVID-19 at work.  Emergency legislation on federal, state, and local levels has increased paid and unpaid sick leave time off and unemployment insurance benefits for COVID-19-related absences and loss of work, but what about the essential employees who contract COVID-19 at work? While there is always a chance that your health could be put in jeopardy on the job, it’s times like these, especially, that warrant careful action and attention. While looking out for yourself to get what you deserve, there are several things you should keep in mind about workers’ compensation during COVID-19.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a statement saying that “the employment-related incidence of COVID-19 is more likely to occur among members of law enforcement, first responders and front-line medical and public health personnel, and among those whose employment causes them to come into direct and frequent in-person and close proximity contact with the public.” Legislation is pending or has passed in many major states addressing COVID-19 and workers’ compensation benefits, but what if this legislation doesn’t cover you, how can you get workers’ compensation insurance to cover you? The broad mechanics of the workers’ compensation insurance system are simple. The employer pays insurance premiums for a workers’ compensation insurance policy that provides employees coverage and benefits for any illness or injury “arising out and occurring in the course of their employment.” A normal injury, like falling or cutting your hand at work, obviously is “arising out and occurring in the course of their employment.” But things start getting a little unclear when an employee contracts a fast-spreading, novel airborne illness while working during a pandemic.

The DOL acknowledges this difficulty in determining the precise moment and method of virus transmission. Accordingly, they have created new procedures to specifically address COVID-19 claims. If a COVID-19 compensation claim is filed by a person who is not considered to be “high-risk”, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) will require the claimant to provide a factual statement and any available evidence concerning exposure. The key evidence needed for a COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claim as required by the law are the following:

  • Exposure– Federal employees who are required to interact with the public or front-line medical and public health personnel are considered to be in high-risk employment. If your position has not been identified as a high-risk position, you will be asked to provide any evidence of the duration and length of your occupational exposure. This evidence may include information such as a description of job duties, which federal agency you worked for, and the location of the work.
  • Medical– You will need to provide medical evidence establishing a diagnosis of COVID-19. You will also need to provide medical evidence establishing that the diagnosed COVID-19 was aggravated, accelerated, precipitated, or directly caused by your work-related activities.

According to New Jersey’s newly laid pandemic plans, a person who has COVID-19, or symptoms of COVID-19, may be eligible for worker’s compensation if they contracted the virus from waiting on or working with someone who had the virus, or contracted the virus for any other work related reason. It is essential that employers, insurance carriers and the employee engage a law firm whenever a workers’ compensation dispute arises. David H. Kaplan has, over the years, worked with clients to settle workers compensation cases, and provides compassionate legal defense to the injured party while they recuperate. Contact us today for more information!

Disclaimer: we don’t handle federal WC claims

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COVID-19 Termination

COVID-19 Termination

With the coronavirus pandemic at large, and shelter-in-place rules sweeping the country, many businesses have found themselves being forced to shut down hiring and turning to furloughs or layoffs just to stay afloat. Now millions of U.S. workers are being furloughed as the coronavirus has brought the economy to a virtual standstill and left nearly 25 million people filing for unemployment benefits in the past five weeks. Regrettably, many of these employers are using this opportunity to discriminate against employees for their race, religion, pregnancy, disability, age, national origin, or any other protected status under the law. Forbes has fittingly dubbed these unlawful employment practices as “coronavirus scapegoating,” and it is not something that should be taken lightly, as employment laws do still apply. In an already tense time, the uncertainty of sudden job loss can only add to the stress and anxiety of what’s going on, so it’s important for employees to know the facts and remain vigilant of their rights.

 

What does it mean to be furloughed?

A furlough is a mandatory temporary leave of absence from which the employee is expected to return to work or to be restored from a reduced work schedule; often used when the employer does not have enough cash for payroll or when there is not enough work for all employees during a slow period. A layoff is mostly a description of a type of termination in which the employee holds no blame. An employer may have reason to believe or hope it will be able to recall workers back to work from a layoff (such as a restaurant during the pandemic), and, for that reason, may call the layoff “temporary,” although it may end up being a permanent situation. Companies that lay off workers typically pay for severance and outplacement services, and then later may face costs when they’re ready to hire again. But furloughs don’t bring those costs and could help companies get back up to speed quickly when they can bring workers back online.

 

How Does an Employee Know the COVID-19 Termination Is Discriminatory?

Layoffs or terminations may indeed be necessary during this unprecedented time, but people should be laid off or fired for unbiased reasons. Employment in almost all states is at will, so an employer can fire an employee, or an employee can quit their job, for any reason unless the employment contract provides otherwise, or the termination violates a law. This means that an employer can lay off an employee due to financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the employee cannot sue for wrongful termination on this basis, but an employee can sue for discrimination or harassment that occurred during their employment, outside the context of their termination. However, there are signs that your employer is actually using the Coronavirus reduction in force to terminate employees illegally. This could include terminations that only target employees who are over the age of 40, terminations of employees requesting Paid Family Leave, Asian-American employees that are laid off indefinitely, Pregnant employees being the first to be terminated in mass layoffs, termination of any employee on temporary disability or who recently filed a sexual harassment complaint, and so on. No employer will blatantly say layoffs are based on these reasons, but that they were necessary because there was a lack of work. This could be a form of coronavirus scapegoating and may just be a pretext for the real discriminatory reason.

What You Can Do

Even during Coronavirus layoffs and uncertainty, it’s essential that employers are held responsible for their actions. Discriminatory firing is a form of wrongful termination, and victims have the right to challenge and sue their employers. If you or someone you know might be facing any of these claims, contact The Law Office of David H. Kaplan. David Kaplan is an experienced litigator with a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can help you fight back legally within the areas of employment discrimination, wrongful COVID-19 termination, and anything of the sort. Visit dkaplanlaw.com today for more information.

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COVID-19 Employment Laws

COVID-19 Employment Laws

NJ:

The State of New Jersey has passed legislation that prohibits an employer — during the ongoing Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency — from terminating or refusing to reinstate an employee who has, or is likely to have, an infectious disease which requires the employee to miss time at work.

An employee who requests or takes time off from work, based on the recommendation of a medical professional, may not be terminated or refused reinstatement if the employee is likely to infect others in the workplace.

Federal:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
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COVID-19 Discrimination

In these unprecedented times, as healthcare workers and government officials work tirelessly to fight off a serious health threat, another pandemic of its own remains at large. Swiftly and steadily spreading across the United States, Covid-19 brings with it reports of discrimination and xenophobia that several lawyers say they haven’t seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has reported having to create a COVID-19 response team after receiving a staggering number of allegations of discrimination “in housing, public accommodations and employment on the basis of race, national origin, disability and lawful source of income,” receiving 248 reports of harassment and discrimination related to the virus since February 2020.

The American workplace is no stranger to such changes, as it endures some of the most silent but serious changes in the ethical realm. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has urged employers to be mindful of harassment, intimidation or discrimination in the workplace against Asian Americans or people of Asian descent during the novel Coronavirus pandemic, warning that these actions in the workplace could result in “unlawful discrimination on the basis [of] national origin or race.” As such, it’s important for employees to remain aware that existing employment laws still apply in these unusual times, know that they are still protected against discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct in the workplace, and educate themselves on the subject in order to remain vigilant to these critical issues. Here’s what you need to know:

Employment in almost all states is at will.

This means that an employer can fire an employee, or an employee can quit their job, for any reason unless the employment contract provides otherwise. The only exceptions involve terminations that violate a law, such as an anti-discrimination law. This means that an employer can lay off an employee due to financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the employee cannot sue for wrongful termination on this basis. However, an employee can sue for discrimination or harassment that occurred during their employment, outside the context of their termination.

Know Your Employment Discrimination Laws

Employment discrimination occurs when a person believes he or she has control over some aspect of your life, identifies you as belonging to a legally protected group because of a characteristic, or uses his or her control to treat you unfairly because you belong to a protected group. Here are some conditions that qualify:

  • Harassment – unwanted touching, name calling or badgering by your boss or coworkers
  • Retaliation – against you for reporting discrimination, filing a lawsuit due to the discrimination or participating in an investigation against your employer.
  • Whistleblower– you were fired, demoted or received lower performance scores because you reported or threatened to report a violation
  • Promotions – offered or given only to persons with a certain preferred characteristic
  • Wrongful Firing– you were fired without good reason, your job was eliminated without justification, a co-worker with less experience or qualifications was retained over you.

Proving Employment Discrimination

To prove employment discrimination, you must show that the employer intended to treat you differently because of the characteristic. This intent can also be demonstrated if the employer has treated a lot of other persons with the same protected characteristic unfairly. Examples of Employment Discrimination include:

  • Hiring, forced retirement, firing
  • Job advertisements and recruitment
  • Compensation and pay
  • Health/Medical and fringe benefits
  • Waivers of the right to sue in exchange for severance pay

Get the Right Help!

If you or someone you know might be facing any of these claims, you should contact The Law Office of David H. Kaplan. David Kaplan is an experienced litigator with a wealth of knowledge and expertise with the wisdom gained therein, and can help you fight back legally within the areas of employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and anything of the sort. For more information, visit dkaplanlaw.com/

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How to Pack a Go Bag for Extended Hospital Stays (NY Times Article)

How to Pack a Go Bag for Extended Hospital Stays

For frequent hospital visits, a “go bag” with sleep helpers, organization tools, entertainment can help make you more comfortable.

By

When an ambulance came to rush Amy Goyer’s mother to the hospital one night in 2012, there wasn’t time to pack a bag. Ms. Goyer grabbed a few essentials and tailed the emergency vehicle in her car.

A previous stroke had left Ms. Goyer’s mother mostly uncommunicative, and her father’s dementia made it hard for him to recall important details. They were both counting on their daughter to field questions from her mother’s doctors.

“There’s a sense of panic and urgency,” Ms. Goyer, now 59 and a resident of Arizona, said. “You have one thing on your mind, and that’s getting there.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 8 percent of Americans had to spend a night in the hospital in 2018. Meanwhile, according to the American Psychological Association, as of 2016, nearly one-third of Americans have cared for an elderly, ill, or disabled family member. Many of those people may, at some point, require hospitalization.

“Creature comforts are very important in the healing process,” she said. “You might think it’s all about the medicine and surgical procedures, but it’s not. It’s about feeling safe, secure, comforted, loved, and supported.”

Not all hospitals will let you bring your own bedding, but if you can, Ms. Goyer said, the feel and smell of your own pillow or a blanket from home can be a huge source of comfort.

“I had this really nice, soft, fuzzy blanket that I started bringing along for my mom,” she said.

Hospitals are often cold, she said, which some studies suggest may make it harder for your immune system to fight off infection. Pack a robe, slippers, socks, a beanie, and other warm (and comfortable) clothing to regulate your body temperature — in addition to getting plenty of rest and fluids. This is important for patients as well as for caregivers who are spending time in the hospital with them, she said. “The last thing you want is to get sick because you were in the hospital caring for someone else.”

All clothing should be loose and comfortable, so you can get in and out of it easily for IVs or any tests. Label everything with your name, so it doesn’t get lost or forgotten. Pack some clean underwear and a change of clothes for the trip home.

A hospital stay is probably not the best time to try to tackle “Infinite Jest.” To occupy your mind, bring along something you enjoy — whether it’s a magazine, coloring book, crossword puzzle, knitting, or cross-stitching supplies — that won’t be overly strenuous.

If you have a spare phone, tablet, or hand-held gaming console at home, load it up with games, movies, music, audiobooks, podcasts, comedy specials, or whatever you think will bring you joy. Just don’t forget the chargers. A high-capacity power bank, an extension cord or surge protector, and extra-long charging cables are also useful in case outlets are out of reach. (Here are Wirecutter’s recommendations for the best fast chargers and accessories.)

“Sleeping is always one of the most difficult aspects of being at the hospital,” Ms. Goyer said. “And it’s awful because getting good rest is so, so crucial for healing.”

She recommends lavender room spray or lavender essential oil with a diffuser, since lavender aromatherapy may help improve sleep and reduce anxiety (although scientific evidence is inconsistent on either claim, according to a 2014 Cochrane review). At the very least, it probably smells nicer than hospital air. A travel pillow can be useful if you need to sleep while propped up, and an eye mask, earplugs, and headphones can help block out beeping and blinking from medical equipment. If you have a private room (and if it won’t disturb your nurses and doctors), you could also bring a white noise machine (we recommend the LectroFan) or a Bluetooth speaker (our favorite is the UE Wonderboom 2) to play soothing sounds or music.

Think about how you or your loved one likes to sleep at home, Ms. Goyer said: “If they’re used to falling asleep with the TV on, let them do that. Whatever works.”

Most hospitals have cafeterias and vending machines, but the food can be bland, unimaginative, and in some cases, unhealthy — especially if you’re eating it day after day. Your favorite nutritional snacks — whether it’s a bottle of cold-pressed juice or a tin of fancy tea bags — can go a long way toward making you or a loved one feel better. Just be sure to run any snacks by hospital staff, since most hospitals have restrictions on outside food and drink.

Some treatments leave a bad taste in patients’ mouths, so pack mints or gum to keep your mouth feeling fresh. And don’t forget a water bottle or tumbler to stay hydrated, which is crucial for healing.

Liwanag Ojala, chief executive of CaringBridge, a service to connect patients and caregivers to other people dealing with an illness, said it’s always a good idea to bring along a list of the patient’s medications and allergies, names and numbers for all the patient’s doctors and specialists, and emergency contacts.

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Ms. Goyer adds that if you’re packing for a loved one, it can be helpful to print out multiple copies of essential information: a scan of their insurance card, their medical history, and their advance directive (also called a living will, which you can find on AARP’s website). That way, she said, you have the information handy if your phone or laptop dies, and you can give a printout to various doctors and nurses as needed.

If you’re tech-savvy, note-taking apps like Evernote or OneNote can be helpful to keep track of doctors’ updates and other information. But a paper notepad and pen work just as well, if that’s what you’re comfortable with. With permission from the doctor, a voice recorder (or a recording app on your phone) can also be helpful for going back to conversations after you’ve had some time to mentally process. Document everything, Ms. Goyer said: “I guarantee you’ll have to go back and check what happened three days ago.”

Basic essentials like deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, contact solution, dry shampoo, and face and body wipes are must-haves for a hospital go bag, especially since it might be tough to shower regularly. Ms. Goyer also recommends bringing your own hand sanitizer, antibacterial hand wipes, toilet paper, and facial tissues, since they’ll probably be nicer than what the hospital provides.

Disinfectant wipes are great for wiping down frequently used (and infrequently cleaned) surfaces like TV remotes, to prevent the spread of infections. Additionally, Ms. Goyer said, you should make sure to wash your hands with soap and water as much as you can.

“Hand sanitizer doesn’t protect against some germs found in hospitals,” like C. diff or MRSA, she said. “My mom got an infection in the hospital that really complicated the end of her life.”

Hospital air is also notoriously dry, so you should pack moisturizer, lip balm, and saline nasal spray, and drink plenty of water. When Ms. Goyer’s mother got a sinus infection in the hospital, she got her doctor’s permission to bring in a steam vaporizer to provide some relief.

Some hospitals won’t allow you to take medication you bring from home — even over-the-counter meds — as a safety precaution. But just in case, it’s a good idea to bring along a few extra doses of any medications you’re taking, as well as medical devices like inhalers or hearing aids.

Ms. Ojala said the contents of a hospital go bag will vary depending on the needs of the patient and caregiver.

“What I’d love for people to do before packing a bag is think about what helps them heal,” she said. “Clinicians are great at their jobs, but they don’t often ask: ‘What do you think is going to help you?’

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Extracurricular: How Outside Actions Can Affect You At Work

Fortunately, most people are at least somewhat aware of their rights at work. Reporting discrimination or filing a claim are just two examples of behaviors that can be considered “protected actions” under New Jersey law.

But what about when you’re away from the workplace? Is a Facebook post really grounds for termination? What about participating in political activity? Surprisingly, the law is a little less clear when it comes to time off the clock.

Protected Status

Generally, the same “protected statuses” that are at the heart of NJ anti-discrimination law carry over away from the workplace. Activities related to personal characteristics like race, gender, sexual preference, or religion are not usually grounds for termination.

For instance, a weekend marriage to same-sex partner or attendance at a religious gathering would not be enough reason for an employer to fire you. In fact, if termination does occur, legal action against your employer may be a viable option.

“At Will” Employment

Though the status-related limits to termination are considerable, New Jersey is indeed an “at-will” state (albeit with some exceptions for contracted workers). This basically means that employers can fire you at any time, without reason and without cause. This means that Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and other social media activities are fair game.

In some cases, an employer may choose to end your mutual relationship following an outside act on your part – however, under “at will” statutes, they are not required to disclose their reasoning.

Protected Activities

While employers are granted rather broad termination powers under the “at-will” system, there are specific protections under both state and federal law that can apply to situations away from the workplace.

               Federal Law

`Though an employer is permitted to limit political activity at work – i.e. banning flyers,                   posters etc. – they can’t prohibit discussions of workplace conditions either at work or away     from the workplace. Under the National Labor Relations Act, (NLRA)this means that even if         these condition discussions verge into wider political debates, it still is not a termination-       worthy behavior.

New Jersey Law

In large part, New Jersey follows the lead of federal law when it comes to “protected activities.”          Recently, though, New Jersey passed an official state amendment that offers a cover for one     specific act: smoking. Under the law, employers cannot terminate employment solely because        an employee smokes either at work or at away from work

Counsel You Can Trust

Knowing your rights at work is critical. You need to keep your job, your livelihood, and your piece of mind. To help protect yourself, you also need experienced legal guidance.

Attorney David H. Kaplan is a proven expert in matters of employment law. With over 30 years of experience in both litigation and settlement, David holds a strong passion for preserving the rights of workers.

To schedule a consultation or to find out more about New Jersey employment law, contact the office today.

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6 Ways to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

Are you concerned your loved one is being abused, neglected, or mistreated in a nursing home? Read through these proactive steps to prevent nursing home abuse.

1. Video surveillance

If you have reasonable belief that your loved one is being abused, set up a
video surveillance system in their room. It is important that you do so only
with reasonable suspicions, without the installation being in sight of the
nursing staff. This is one of the most effective ways to catch mistreatment
of a resident.

2. Check for licensed medical doctors

Sometimes nursing homes hire employers to act as doctors, without
having their medical license, the knowledge, experience, or manners of a
licensed professional. Check to make sure the doctors of medically
licensed, to ensure your loved one is being provided with the proper care.

3. Check for licensed or registered nurses.

Non-licensed or untrained nurses may also be on staff. Check to make
sure the nurses who are caring for you loved one is licensed or registered.
Residents need the level of care a registered nurse can only provide.

4. Examine the condition of the nursing home

Often times a dirty nursing home is an indication of a neglectful staff.
When visiting, examine the condition of the nursing home.

5. Examine the condition of the residents

Just as important as the well-kept condition of the nursing home is the
appearance of the residents. When visiting, look to see if the residents are
well-kept, comfortable, and clean. Neglected residents will not appear this
way.

6. Find out if the home has received any citations, or has been investigated.

Finding out if the home has received any citations or if they have been
investigated in the past indicates that the particular home is not the best
place for your loved one.

If you later discover your loved one has been abused or neglected by the nursing
home or the individual caretaker, please do not hesitate to call or contact David H. Kaplan, a
highly experienced personal injury attorney, who you can depend on to pursue a
lawsuit to compensate for your loved one’s injuries.

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10 Tips to Stay Safe and Avoid Medical Malpractice

Top 10 Tips that explain how to avoid medical malpractice to obtain the best medical care possible.

1. Exercise your privilege in choosing your own doctor, and choose wisely.

Finding the right doctor for you takes research. Look for a referral who is honest, respectful,
certified, affiliated with a hospital, and experienced. When choosing the right doctor for you, lok for
a physician who respect confidentiality and runs an organized office. Choosing a doctor is a serious
job, so to be safe, check with local court records to determine whether your chosen doctor has
been sued for malpractice.

2. Exercise your right and responsibility to understand your health.

Patients who are at risk for mistreatment are often uninvolved with their health. You have a right and
responsibility to ask questions and receive reasonable answers, express concerns, research your
medical condition, and be served by your doctor.

3. Bring along a trusted advocate.

We aren’t always able to effectively advocate on our own behalf. Bring along a trusted friend or
relative to listen, take notes, ask questions, monitor and provide support. Bringing along a trusted
advocate is for your own safety.

4. Do not withhold medical information.

Any and all details must be communicated to your doctor. Withholding details that may seem trivial
may lead to dangerous accidents. Give your doctor all the facts to ensure you are getting the care
and treatment you need.

5. Insist on a thorough investigation if you suspect something is wrong.

Our instincts are often right. If you have reasonable belief that something is wrong that your doctor
does not suspect, insist on a thorough investigation.

6. Make allies with everyone involved in your health care.

Everyone involved in your health care are there to help you. Show them kindness and communicate
regularly with them to receive the best possible care. Your chances of recovery are best when you
know everyone involved has your best interest in mind.

7. Faithfully follow your doctor’s instructions.

You must always follow your doctor’s instructions. Whether it comes to medication prescribed or
your diet, and be sure to record and document any interactions. Unless you have reason to believe
your doctor is negligent, faithfully follow his/her directions concerning your health.

8. After any treatment, have a follow-up examination.

Even if your care has been great, make sure you are on the proper road to recovery. Visit the doctor
again to make sure that you are, and be sure to express any concerns or problems you have
experienced during this time effectively.

9. Always get a second opinion.

Getting a second opinion on the nature and treatment of your illness is crucial, even a third. Nothing
is more important than your health, and obtaining the proper treatment.
10. Recognize medical errors.

You must be able to recognize medical errors before you can avoid them. The link below provides
information on the most common medical errors. Read through them and become familiar with the
proper ways patients should be cared for.

http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/mistakes/types.htm

Much of what can go wrong in the medical field is beyond the patients control. However,
taking the right course of actions may ultimately determine whether you receive the care
you need and deserve. By following these Top Ten Tips, you will feel more in control of
your health and reduce your risk of becoming a malpractice victim.

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