All posts by David Kaplan

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.

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.

Crossing The Line: Discrimination And Harassment At Work

New media attention to workplace dynamics has brought questions regarding proper professional behavior. Discrimination includes the act of, or a proposing act of, treating someone unfavorably based on personal characteristics protected by the law. Employees are protected from direct and indirect discrimination throughout their employment.

Direct discrimination often happens when an employer or co-worker makes unfair assumptions about a person’s abilities based on certain personal characteristics. These assumptions may be made quietly, or in in the manner of direct harassment. Nonetheless, these wrongful assumptions is an act of discrimination in the workplace.

Indirect discrimination occurs when an unreasonable condition is set that disadvantages a person of a certain personal characteristic. This happens when a workplace policy or practice seems to target all workers the same, but in fact sets limitations to a certain person.

Aside from direct and indirect, discrimination may also stem from a variety of unwanted behaviors. Persistent bullying, regular harassment, unwelcoming sexual conduct, subjective and threatening behavior, and general intimidation are unacceptable forms of treatment in the workplace.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of unacceptable treatment, it’s critical to understand your rights under discrimination laws.

Boundaries

Employees are protected from discrimination during all stages of employment including how interviews and observations are conducted, being offered unfair terms and conditions of employment, being denied employment opportunities, and being unfairly terminated.

While workplace banter and inter-office humor may be harmless, there are limits. When such conduct focuses on protected individual characteristics, then the banter and humor crosses the line into discrimination and harassment.

New Jersey Law

On the both the state and federal level, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation are prohibited. In New Jersey, employers are officially barred from harassment on the basis of an employee’s protected status. In addition, it is against the law to assist or authorize another person to discriminate against someone else. Retaliation is specifically prohibited as it is a violation of the law to punish or threaten someone because they have made a complaint, or helped someone make a complaint of discrimination in the workplace.

Retaliation

Your employer may attempt to seek revenge following your initial claim of harassment. Retaliation is when an employer consciously or subconsciously punishes an employer for engaging in legal activity. Retaliation can include unnecessary discipline, salary reduction, job reassignments, among other negative actions.

If you suspect retaliation, remember it is an act prohibited by law under reasonable circumstances. If you suspect legitimate retaliation you should voice your concern, talk to your supervisor, and ask questions. The matter may resolve itself without further legal action, but if necessary, consult with your lawyer to see what compensation you’re likely to recover from these further damages.

Proven Legal Guidance

Where you work is part of who you are – shouldn’t it be a place you feel comfortable?

If you have been a victim of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation at work, you’ll need trusted legal guidance. As a renowned, 30-year veteran of the courtroom, attorney David H. Kaplan has a passion for the rights of working people.

To get started with a consultation, contact the Law Offices of David H. Kaplan today.

Getting Help: Reporting Workplace Discrimination In New Jersey

Workplace discrimination is serious – but it’s also tough to handle. For employees who have either been victim to acts of discrimination, the challenge can be knowing the proper steps to ensure compensation, restoration, and justice. In New Jersey, employers are guaranteed both protection from discrimination and a framework through which to pursue their claim.

Legal Protections

Before you file a claim, it’s critical to understand what constitutes employment discrimination. Under New Jersey State Law, employers are barred from discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on race, age, nationality, sex, pregnancy and a host of other categorizations.

Equally important is understanding what counts as discriminatory behavior in NJ. While every case is unique, employers are legally prevented from discriminating with respect to hiring, promotion, salary determinations, and termination – as well as several other common workplace actions.

State vs. Federal Agencies

As a part of the process outlined by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), victimized employees can either take their complaint to the state-run New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In terms of deciding where to file, there a few things to keep in mind.

DCR

– Covers workplaces of all sizes
– 180 day filing deadline
– Able to request “cross-filing” with EEOC

EEOC

– Only covers workplaces with more than 15 employees
– 300 day filing deadline
– Able to re quest “cross-filing” with EEOC

What Happens Next?

Regardless of where you ultimately decide to take your specific claim, the process at both agencies continues along a similar track. In some cases, you may able to avoid a legal case or court appearance altogether.

In general, the potential outcomes through both agencies are as follows.

DCR

– Guided mediation between employer and employee
– Conciliation
– Hearing through the Office of Administrative Law

More information about the CDR-specific process can found here. In some cases, the CDR may also issue a ruling of “no cause” – akin to a rejection of your claim.

EEOC

Overall, the federal-level process is like the one followed by the New Jersey CDR office – albeit with a few key differences.

– Guided mediation between employer and employee
– Ask the employer to respond to your claim – An investigator will then gather information and may send you a “Notice of Right to Sue” or the EEOC may decide to pursue its own lawsuit against the employer.
– Offer dismissal on the grounds of jurisdiction or merit

Finally, even if one or both agencies reject your claim of discrimination, a well-qualified attorney may be able to assist with an appeal.

Representation You Can Trust

When it comes to instances of workplace discrimination, you need a trusted and knowledgeable ally on your side. With over 30 years of employment law experience and a dedication to protecting worker’s rights, attorney David H. Kaplan can help you obtain justice. To get started with a consultation, contact the office today.

Recognizing Employee Discrimination

With the rise of the #metoo movement, sexual harassment and workplace discrimination are finally getting the attention they deserve. While nearly everyone agrees that discrimination at work involves the breaking of boundaries or unfair treatment, it can still be difficult to recognize employee discrimination when it occurs.

New Jersey Law

Under New Jersey law, employers both private and public are officially barred from discriminating based upon “race, creed, color, nationality, marital partnership, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, disability, liability for military service, sexual orientation, blood traits, or genetic information.”

This is a lengthy list and is not to be taken lightly. However, even if you aware of your own protected status, it can be difficult to determine when workplace behavior has truly broken “the rules.”

The big issue – what exactly is discrimination?

Discrimination in NJ

According to New Jersey state employment laws, discrimination in the workplace covers issues related to:

 Hiring practices
 Promotion schedules
 Transfers
 Terminations
 Salary disputes
 Harassment (i.e. sexual, verbal, physical etc.)
 Layoffs
 Access to training programs and apprenticeships
 Union membership

If you’ve experienced unfair treatment in these areas as a direct result of the “protected” statuses, you may be a victim of workplace discrimination.

Tough To Detect

While headlines report instances of obviously discriminatory behavior – many average cases involve situations that are not quite as clear. In these instances, it is important to be aware of several behaviors that constitute discrimination.

Here’s a handy list of some less-obvious discrimination tactics sourced from career and workplace experts.

 Employers suggesting qualities of “ideal” job candidates that are along the lines of racial, gender, of ethnic classifications.

 Paying equally qualified employees in the same position divergent salaries

 Excluding an employee or group of employees from meetings, company functions or other events.

The workplace should be a place for collaboration and, at more basic level, a place where employees feel safe. Often, employee discrimination occurs as a pattern of unwanted behaviors or even conversations about uncomfortable topics, particularly those related to the identity categories discussed earlier.

Consequences For Employers

If you suspect that your employer might be guilty of discrimination – New Jersey law provides for several pathways of punitive action and, potentially, compensation for the victimized employee. Some of these include:

 Back pay
 An order restraining unlawful discrimination
 Coverage for attorney’s fees
 Fines against the employer
Discrimination at work can have a severely negative impact on your ability to work and provide for your family. By pursuing a case against a discriminating or harassing employer, you can obtain justice and prevent further occurrences.

Defend Your Workplace Rights

If you’ve been subject to harassment, unfair treatment, or any other form of discrimination at work, you need legal guidance you can trust. With years of experience in fighting for workers’ rights, New Jersey employment attorney David H. Kaplan can help you reclaim your livelihood and receive the compensation you deserve.

To schedule a consultation or to discuss your unique situation, contact the office today.

5 Facts About Workers Compensation In New Jersey

Spend time in any workplace and you’ll hear it: someone brings up workers’ compensation. Even if you think you could never be injured on the job or while performing job duties, it is critical that as an employee, you have a firm understanding of your rights. To help get you started, check out these 5 facts about workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey from an expert because it matters which attorney you select.

1. Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Sure, workers’ compensation exists – but where does the money really come from?

In fact, most companies are required to carry insurance policies specifically for this type of compensation. Dubbed “workers’ compensation insurance,” these insurance policies help guarantee that injured employees are fully covered.

2. More Than Just Medical Costs

If someone is injured on the job – they’ll only receive reimbursement for medical bills, right?

The truth is a little more complicated. While medical costs would certainly be covered by workers’ compensation – an injured worker also has a right to receive Worker’s Compensation benefits.

3. Liability And Negligence

In the State of New Jersey, a “workers’ compensation injury” is any injury that occurs while an employee is “in the course of their employment”. This means an employee is entitled to worker’s compensation benefits independent of who is at fault for the accident.

4. Path To Compensation

In the State of New Jersey, there are many rules and regulations which apply to workers compensation. For example, you must visit doctors that are chosen by your employer if you want your employer to pay for your medical bills. There are also rules about how much money you will receive when you are out of work due to a work-related accident.
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee who has filed a workers compensation claim. If you have filed a workers compensation claim you should contact a New Jersey Workers Compensation attorney at DK Law for a free consultation. We will work diligently to recover the most money available to you, to aid you in the recovery of your injury and injury-related expenses.

5. Proper Steps to File

Regardless of an employer’s decision to accept a worker’s compensation claim – proper steps on the part of the injured worker are critical.

Before you ever to try to file a claim, it is important to seek medical attention. A timely diagnosis immediately following your injury can help lend credibility to your case. Next, your employer is required to submit workers’ compensation paperwork to their insurance carrier – portions of which you must also fill out.

If your employer disputes worker’s compensation benefits you need sound legal advice.

Seek Qualified Legal Help

If you’ve been injured on the job, you need knowledge and experience. Attorney David H. Kaplan is well-versed in all things workers’ compensation and help get you the benefits you deserve. To schedule a consultation, contact the law offices of David H. Kaplan today.

#MeToo Movement Raises Workplace Issues

The #MeToo movement has quickly brought issues of workplace gender discrimination and sexual harassment to the fore. Women across America are beginning to share their disturbing stories of unfair treatment and outright sexual assault. While the movement has drawn attention for the shockingly high number of included celebrity voices, gender discrimination and its related issues have a real effect on millions of American women, everyday.

In fact, aside from alarming statistics, one recent case here in New Jersey highlights the often-severe nature of these cases – and the critical importance of proper legal action.

Discrimination At Work

The signs of gender discrimination or sexual harassment at work should be obvious, right? Many imagine that unfair treatment, unwanted sexual advances and otherwise improper behavior is always easy to spot – and even easier to report.

When confronted with the drama of the #MeToo movement, it might also be tempting to wonder, “just how common is workplace gender discrimination?”. The answer is more than a little alarming.

In fact, according to a study published last year by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, 2017 saw over 90,000 workplace discrimination complaints filed by women – with nearly 1/3 of these complaints including an additional sexual harassment allegation. More alarming– Government researchers also suspect that up to 75% of all gender discrimination or sexual harassment cases go unreported.

Even further, according to the study, 75% of women who experienced some form of harassment, discrimination, or other unfair treatment in the workplace reported retaliation when they reported behavior or filed complaints with their employer. In these situations, companies and organizations ultimately fail to protect their greatest assets: employees and members.

Legal Ramifications

Closer to home, an ongoing New Jersey court case offers a prime example of appropriate legal measures in the wake of discrimination or other abusive behavior.

As reported by news outlet NJ.com, 4 female employees at a Lawrence, NJ Catholic Church alleged that the Rev. Gerard Lynch constantly berated them with rude and vulgar language, carried on unwanted and inappropriate conversations, and fostered a culture of fear within the church’s workplace.
Worse yet, the women involved in the case claim, the Diocese of Trenton all but ignored their individual claims. Brazenly, the Diocese also fired 2 of the women immediately after they voiced concerns about workplace issues.

Represented by attorney David H. Kaplan, the women have been able to file suit against the church and diocese. When asked for comment, Kaplan said simply, “being treated in the manner they allege is particularly disturbing.”

All 4 women currently seeking justice for their unacceptable treatment.

Contact A Trusted Attorney

If you or someone you love has been the victim of gender discrimination or sexual behavior in the workplace, you need an experienced attorney you can trust. Wise, thoughtful, and considerate legal assistance means you can seek justice and receive any compensation you may be entitled to. Local New Jersey attorney David H. Kaplan and his qualified team are ready to help. To get started and schedule a consultation, contact the office at 973-426-0021 or email dkaplan@kaplanlaw.com