The Problem with Wrongful Termination

What is wrongful termination?

Texas, along with most states, has an at-will employment policy. This policy essentially states that the employer can end the employment contract at any time, for any reason, without prior notice. With guidelines like these, it appears that there would be no such thing as a wrongful termination, at least in the eyes of the law. However, there are several exceptions to at-will employment which employees can use against their previous employer.

Some of these exceptions revolve around contracts between the employee and the employer. When an employer and a worker enter into one of these contracts, they agree to alter the circumstances of the at-will employment agreement. Although these contracts can be verbal, the vast majority of them are written. This is for obvious reasons; it’s far easier for an employee to document a written contract, and much it’s much harder to prove that a verbal contract between an employer and a worker even existed. However, if these contracts can be documented, and it’s determined that the employer breached them in firing their employee, that worker does have a viable wrongful termination suit.

There are other exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, largely centered around established federal laws. If an employee is terminated for committing an action within their rights, that the employer disagrees with or doesn’t like, then the terminated worker can file suit. These kinds of lawsuits are known as retaliatory termination suits. For example, if an employee files a worker’s comp claim with their employer, and are then terminated in retaliation to that claim, the employee has a valid wrongful termination suit. It’s also illegal for an employer to fire someone because of their report or claim of workplace harassment. It’s useful to keep track of the process one goes through when filing worker’s comp or reporting harassment so that documentation is available if one is fired in retaliation for taking advantage of these common worker’s rights.

Wrongful termination conditions also apply to federal anti-discrimination laws. An employer cannot terminate a worker on the basis of their race, sex, or sexuality. If you fall into one of these protected classes, you are sheltered by federal law from being terminated by your employer because of it.

Even with all these safeguards in place, wrongful termination suits are still very difficult to win in a state like Texas, which has anti-worker attitudes and laws. To successfully litigate a wrongful termination suit, meticulous documentation is needed to prove that one’s employer did in fact violate a contract or engage in retaliatory termination. Texas courts are likely to side with the employer due to the at-will employment doctrine unless the employee can show irrefutable proof that their employer violated one of these laws. For this reason, it’s essential that employees stay vigilant and document their interactions and agreements with their employer.

Texas Clear Lanes Project: Clearing the way to prevent deaths on the highway

The good news for people living in Texas is that the state’s economy is strong, with unprecedented growth over the past few decades. Texas’s strong economy has led to an explosive growth in the state’s population, however, with an estimated increase of 1,000 people per day (according to an estimate by the Texas Clear Lanes project).

With the increasing population, it is natural that there will be a correlated increase in the number of vehicles on the road, leading to additional congestion in some of the state’s already crowded roadways. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Dallas/Fort-Worth metroplex, which already gives drivers frequent headaches during the morning and evening rush hour periods specifically.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), sponsored by Texas A&M, found that the number of registered vehicles in the state increased by 172% in the past 40 years, while the state’s highway capacity has only increased by a paltry 19%. It is clear that the roadways in Texas are not fit to handle the stress and strain of such explosive traffic growth, and when congestion and overcrowding occurs, serious accidents involving injury and wrongful death are sure to follow.

The biggest cities in Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin contain more than 65% of the state’s population and are (unsurprisingly) home to 97 of the “Top 100 most congested roadways” in Texas.

These serious congestion issues directly correlate with an increase in accidents and wrongful deaths on the state’s roadways. While there are not always easy answers to growth like this, there are solutions that can be put in place to help alleviate the number of accidents. While more construction and additional roads may be one solution, that is a costly answer that is not always feasible. Some of the alternatives proposed by the Texas Clear Lanes Project include:

  • Commuting Alternatives – Businesses and workers may be able to find solutions to commuting including incentives, ridesharing, and other solutions to move traffic off the roadways at the busiest times.
  • Telecommuting – Companies are encouraged to let their employees work from home (when applicable and sensible) to lower the number of vehicles on the road, especially during the busiest commuting hours.
  • Alternate work hours – Maybe everyone doesn’t have to work 8:00 – 5:00? If possible, consider opening up your work shifts to allow for later starts or earlier releases for some employees.
  • Mass-transit incentives – Offering employees cash incentives or subsidies to take mass-transit alternatives or ride-sharing may be an effective solution for removing vehicles from the state’s roadways.
  • Health and Fitness programs – If your business is in a busy metro area or if your employees live relatively close to work, it might be a good idea to implement a health and wellness initiative to encourage them to walk or bike to work.

By implementing new strategies and incentives, businesses may be able to help their employees stay off the roadways during the busiest hours and may be able to lower the level of congestion in traffic in our state’s roadways. Whatever steps are taken ultimately may mean the difference between serious accidents and headaches in traffic moving forward.

Motorcycle Accident – A Major Cause of Fatality and Severe Injuries

As explained by the law firm Evans Moore, LLC, motorcycle accidents can happen for countless reasons. While some of them prove to be inevitable, many others are the result of a driver’s neglect of basic driving rules. These drivers fail to yield or even notice motorcycle riders, leading to devastating accidents. Motorcycles have limited safety measures to protect the rider, and consequently motorcycle riders face serious injuries when accidents occur. As a result, the majority of the costs associated with a motorcycle accident will be taken upon by the motorcycle rider. Some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Georgetown include: reckless driving, drunk driving, distracted drivers, motorcycle defects, or negligence

These common causes lead motorcycle riders to face many expensive consequences such as medical bills, insurance increases, motorcycle repairs, and lost wages. Burdens such as these can affect a motorcycle rider’s life for years, and it is unjustifiable when they did not cause the accident in the first place.

A motorcycle can be an excellent and adventurous transportation. The only major worry for motorcyclists is their vulnerability to possible severe injuries due to the lack of protective gears other than the helmet. Thus, despite the obvious benefits they have for their drivers, motorcyclists can be at serious risk of sustaining traumatic injuries when involved in accidents. Sadly, many drivers fail to drive safely around motorcycles, causing these devastating accidents to happen.

Based on 2012 records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 112,000 motorcycle mishaps during the said year; of this, 93,000 caused riders serious injuries, while 4,957 claimed riders’ lives. This only means that while it is true that motorcycles provide lots of conveniences, these also cause great risks.

Head-on collision is a major cause of fatality among motorcycle riders. This can also cause severe injuries, leaving riders with an amputated limb or permanent disability. It is a sad fact, however, that so many of these accidents are actually due to negligence or carelessness – by riders themselves, by the driver of the other motor vehicle involved in the crash, or by someone who never really did his/her job (like a city or local government personnel in charge of keeping roads safe from accidents or a manufacturer who produced a defective motorcycle or motorcycle part).

Since negligence can be dispelled through simple acts of diligence, getting hurt in an accident due to negligence or careless act can be prevented. However, being someone else’s fault, the victim has the right to pursue legal actions against the liable party for whatever present and future damages his/her injuries may result to. Seeking the assistance of a highly-qualified personal injury lawyer or motorcycle accident lawyer will definitely help the victim know and understand his/her legal rights and options.

 

The Tragic Case of Wrongful Death

The Tragic Case of Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is a tragic experience. Firstly, there is the pain and suffering associated with lost companionship. Secondly, there is the financial damage that may result from the death, such as the medical expenses prior to death, funeral expenses, lost wages, and lost benefits like healthcare and social security.

The death is even more tragic if it has occurred because of the carelessness or recklessness of somebody else. According to the website of Mazin & Associates, PC, those who have lost a loved one as a result of a negligent act from another party may have legal options, such as getting compensation for the damages they have sustained.

Medical Malpractice

Health is serious business. Anything that can be considered incompetent on the part of a medical professional can result into worsening complications, and on worst instances, even deaths. Most medical malpractice claims should prove that there is a doctor-patient relationship, that there is a duty of care, that the duty of care has been violated, and the violation has resulted into the injury or death of the patient. Examples of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis, surgery errors, and the use of defective implants.

Premises/Product Liability Cases

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners of ensuring the safety of their premises. Failing to do this responsibility may result into accidents and wrongful deaths. The worst premises liability cases involve amusement parks, swimming pools, and resorts.

Product liability has the same concept, only that the legal responsibility is on the designers, manufacturers, and distributors of products. A defective product that has caused a wrongful death is enough grounds to take these parties into court.

Traffic Collisions

Car accidents are some of the leading causes of wrongful deaths. There are a variety of parties that can be held liable for such accidents, such as drunk drivers who have fallen asleep while on the wheel, reckless drivers who are traveling too fast just for the thrill of it, manufacturers of vehicle parts that have malfunctioned, or government agencies who have failed to keep the roads safe.

Workplace Accidents

Some jobs are more dangerous than others, but it cannot be denied that a person may get hurt or killed in any kind of job. Construction workers may be vulnerable to machine accidents, but office workers are not entirely safe, especially of defective office equipment and building facilities. Businesses who fail to make safety rules, managers who fail to enforce safety rules, and manufacturers of defective work materials, are just some of the parties that may be held accountable.

Difference Between An Employee And Independent Contractor

One of the things that employers do to avoid paying overtime is to misclassify employees an independent contractor. Williams Kherkher attorneys will tell you that by doing so, the employee misses out on some important benefits. It is important for you to know the basic difference between the two. If you have been wrongly misclassified, you have the right to lodge a complaint against your employer.

It is important to understand the difference of the two terms for taxation purposes. An independent contractor runs his own business but works for another business. An employee, on the other hand, is hired by a company to perform specific work for them. Aside from that, the IRS determines the difference based on three criteria.

Behavioral Control

An employee is one whose hours of work, tools to be used, and tasks to be performed are controlled by the employer. An independent contractor, on the other hand, sets his own time and requires little or no direction or training.

Financial Control

An employee is paid a salary and hence cannot work for others. An independent contractor, on the other hand, is not bound to the company and hence can work for other companies simultaneous with the company he is working for.

Relationship

An employee enjoys benefits which mean they have a relationship with the company they are working for. An independent contractor meanwhile has a contract but does not give the employer control over them. Likewise, an employee’s work is related to the core objective of the company.

Companies that misclassify their employees may be subject to some liability. If proven, the employer may be liable for paying the past taxes which may include FICA and Federal unemployment tax.

Aside from that, they may also be subject to fines and penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.