The Glass Ceiling

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Civil Rights | 0 comments

There is nothing more difficult to fight than an unseen enemy. For women and minorities in employment, this is referred to as the “glass ceiling.”

It is actually a political term that was first used in an article by former Working Woman magazine editor Gay Bryant in March 1984 to refer to the inability of women in middle management to break through to upper management despite their experience and qualifications. The term has also been used to refer to the same plight of minority men.
It may be tempting to state that in 2014 there is no longer any glass ceiling, that discrimination based on sex or gender no longer exists. But in fact, 73% of female executives today believe that it still does.
The statistics seem to bear this out. While women comprise 51% of those in middle and senior management, there are only 8% who make it to the top position. The statement of Gay Bryant in her 1984 article that women in the corporate world are being blocked from advancing past a certain point continues to hold true.

It is not always easy to prove that there is discrimination in the workplace as there are many factors that come into play when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. But those who are in position can tell when they’ve hit that invisible barrier. While some shrug it off as part of the status quo, this is actually illegal because it is a violation of a person’s civil rights. Ironically, women lawyers are not exempt. In 2011, 45.4% of all lawyers were women, but only 19.5% made partner in law firms.

If you believe that you have hit the glass ceiling, you may be able to prove workplace discrimination. Consult with an employment discrimination lawyer to find out more about your options.

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Proximate Cause and Negligence

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in Law | 0 comments

Personal injury lawsuits have been on the rise in the US ever since the concept of liability was raised to protect the rights of the innocent bystander from the consequences of a third party’s actions.  While tort (wrongdoing) law has a long history, it has really only entered into the general public’s consciousness since the 1970s, but when it did it gained rapid ground. Yet there are some common misconceptions about personal injury litigation.

Two of the major concepts in a personal injury lawsuit are negligence and proximate cause. Negligence is defined as the act or the failure to act of a reasonable person resulting in foreseeable harm to another person. It is not enough that a person is negligent, however. The rule is that the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit must prove that there was negligence by a third party and that this negligence was a proximate cause of serious injury.  It does not have to be the sole or even ultimate cause of the injury as long as the negligence can be connected to the injury in some way.

For example, in dram shop laws in any of the 38 states that enforce it in the US, the business establishment that fails to cut off a customer who is obviously inebriated or nearly so can be held liable for injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident.  The bar owner is said to owe a duty to the public to refuse service to an individual who may have had “one too many.”

Is it possible that even if the bar owner had refused service to the customer that the accident may have still happened? Yes, but that does not relieve the bar owner of liability for not cutting off the customer. In such cases, the “but-for” cause of action is not applicable, because the action of the bar owner increased the risk of a foreseeable event such as a car accident.

Proving negligence and proximate can be complicated, and according to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP in Tennessee, can add to the struggle that a victim will have to contend with on top of all the other problems associated with serious injury. It is advisable to have an experienced and knowledgeable legal team on board to help in proving the case and bring the case to a just and satisfactory conclusion.

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Effects of Exposure to Asbestos

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Hazards | 0 comments

People typically associate exposure to toxic substances with things that carry disease such as the flu, a flesh-eating virus, or one that will turn you into a zombie. But a substance does not have to be infectious to be harmful to the health.

One of the best examples of a seemingly benign substance having harmful health effects are fiber-related diseases. These types of diseases include byssinosis, (brown lung disease related to industries dealing with cotton) and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung disease). These are occupational lung diseases that result from chronic inhalation of very small particles of otherwise harmless substances, which then collect in the lung and eventually lead to respiratory failure and death.

Exposure to asbestos can cause people to suffer from serious illness in the same way, but the difference is that asbestos exposure is not confined to workers in industries that handle the substance. Chronic asbestos exposure can occur in the home, the workplace, and in public areas. Because it had so many useful applications in the past before it was discovered to be toxic, you could be exposed to it without knowing it, such as from old electrical wiring or insulation.
Asbestos is a silicate material that occurs in nature and the fibers are very fine. Mining and manufacturing of asbestos is no longer carried out, but it is nevertheless in the air and water in the area where deposits are located. The health effects of naturally occurring asbestos are not proven but studies indicate that there could be a correlation between NOA exposure and mesothelioma. As pointed out on the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, mesothelioma is known to be caused by exposure to asbestos.

Liability for exposure to asbestos will become an issue when it is preventable i.e. failure to follow regulations for the proper disposal of asbestos-containing material. If you are injured from exposure to asbestos due to the carelessness or negligence of a third party, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to find out your legal options.

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Liability for Truck Defects

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Product Liability | 0 comments

Pinpointing liability for truck accidents caused by a defective or malfunctioning part such as brakes and tires can be a complicated issue. Because vehicles are in constant motion, the parts tend to wear out, and this is even truer in the freight and trucking industry.  When the trucking company or truck owner fails to maintain their vehicles properly, accidents that result in serious injury to innocent third parties can happen even if all other safety regulations are followed. But it is also true that in some instances, new parts turn out to be defective, or were improperly installed. According to the website of the Ausband Firm in Atlanta, innocent victims of such accidents should hold the responsible parties liable at least for their financial losses.

The liability for truck defects may be said to possibly lie with the:

  • Truck Driver – for failing to report any observed problems with the vehicle
  • Truck Company – for failing to do regular maintenance on vehicles
  • Truck Parts Manufacturer – for design or manufacturer defects on parts
  • Auto Parts Distributor – for sale of a defective or malfunctioning part
  • Third-party Mechanic – for incorrect installation of a vehicle part or installation of an inappropriate model or size of a part

One or more of the parties above may be named in a personal injury suit in a semi truck accident, for example, in which one or more people were seriously injured. If they are found responsible, the next issue would be determining the percentage of fault. Insurance companies, which more likely than not will be making the pay out, will exert all necessary effort to minimize their exposure, which can mean an extended legal battle.

This can have serious consequences for the victims of the accident as a prolonged dispute can mean delays in getting compensation for medical and other financial costs. To keep the delays as short as possible, it is advisable to get experience truck accident lawyers practicing in the area to get the documentation together and handle the case.

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Legal and Financial Aspects of Prenuptial Agreements

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Issues of the Family | 0 comments

The internet and the plethora of information out there has convinced many people that they can do anything on their own with a little elbow grease and a lot of research. This can range from self-medication to drawing up legal documents. While it is a laudable objective to try to save on professional fees with the economy the way it is, it is really not a good idea to gamble on one’s health or legal issues. As pointed out in an article on the website of Arenson & Maas, PLC in Cedar Rapids, it can lead to more expenses down the road, not to mention other undesirable circumstances.

Because not all the information you find on the internet is updated, or applicable, or even true. After all, any Tom, Dick or Harriet can post information online and sound incredibly, well, credible. When drafting something as important as a prenuptial agreement, for example, it is recommended that you have it done by a competent legal professional in your state just to make sure that what you get is something that is actually valid and enforceable. It will cost more than the ink in your printer, that’s for sure, but you will have the assurance that you and your future spouse are not making any bad mistakes in such an important issue.

Prenuptial agreements, or sometimes referred to as premarital agreements, or a prenup, are a contract between two people who are about to tie the legal knot that dictates financial and other issues that may come up if and when they divorce, or if one of them dies. This may include guardianship or custody of children, alimony, property division, and so on. Most countries recognize prenups but the applicable laws in any jurisdiction are typically complicated. In the US, a prenup is recognized as legally binding provided it is properly drawn up in accordance with family laws in the relevant state. To be duly recognized in a court of law, a prenup must be:

  • Written
  • Notarized
  • Voluntary on the part of both parties
  • Based on full financial disclosure
  • Completed prior to marriage
  • Fair to all concerned
  • Legal and in accordance with public policy

If a judge decides that the agreement violates one or more of these conditions, the prenup can be ruled invalid.

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