In 2018, both New York State and New York City have enacted the strictest harassment training laws in the Nation as a clear outgrowth of the #MeToo movement that swept the country following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. All Employers must begin compliance with the New York State Law commencing on October 1, 2019, and the New York City Law on April 1, 2019.
I. 2018 New York State Budget Sexual Harassment Training Provisions Contained within Part KK of S7507-C
On April 12, 2018 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law several bills that were included in the 2018-2019 New York State budget. The bills address workplace sexual harassment. Part KK of S7507-C 0g the new law requires New York employers to adopt and distribute a sexual harassment policy and training program. The new requirements take effect October 9, 2018.
A. Content Requirements of the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy:
More specifically, the new law requires employers adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy which:
1) prohibits sexual harassment and provides examples of prohibited conduct;
2) includes information concerning federal and state sexual harassment lawsand mentions there may be applicable local laws;
3) includes a standard complaint form;
4) includes a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation ofcomplaints including due process for all parties;
5) informs employees of their rights of redress and available forums foradjudicating claims administratively and judicially;
6) clearly states sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory management who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
7) clearly states retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any proceedings is unlawful.
This sexual harassment policy must then be provided to all of your employees in writing. It would be advisable to include this policy in your orientation package. You should should informally and formally routinely remind employees of this policy. Read More
Under the New York workers’ compensation laws, there are two requirements to recover workers’ compensation benefits—you must prove that you were injured and that the injury was work-related (sustained while you were in the course of your employment). Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked about pertaining to whether an accident was work-related.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation benefits if I was injured while on a break at work?
A: Under state and federal labor laws, you are entitled to periodic breaks, including meal breaks, based on the number of hours you work. As a general rule, if you are on a meal break or regularly scheduled break, and you remain on company property (in the cafeteria, break room or other location), you will still be eligible for workers’ compensation for any injuries suffered. However, if you leave company premises to go on a meal break, you won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered on the break, unless you went at the request of your employer or were on a work-related errand.
Q: Does the injury have to occur on company premises?
A: Not necessarily. If your employer requires that you travel for work, whether it’s part of your daily regimen or you are attending a conference, workshop or meeting, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits, provided you weren’t involved in a personal endeavor at the time of the injury. As a general rule, there’s no coverage for injuries sustained on your commute to or from work, unless you deviated from your normal route to perform a work-related task.
Q: What if I am hurt at the company golf outing?
A: As a general rule, if you are injured at any type of company-sponsored event, whether it’s a business meeting, a team-building exercise, or pure entertainment, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your losses. There are exceptions, though. For example, if you engage in horseplay or consume too much alcohol, you may not be covered. However, if the company provided or encouraged the use of alcohol, there may still be liability.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation if I was partially responsible for my injuries?
A: That depends. The workers’ compensation laws are based on the legal concept of “no fault,” meaning that there’s no requirement to show that your employer was negligent in order to recover benefits. Because of that principle, it rarely matters whether you were careless—you will still be entitled to benefits. However, if your actions were in clear violation of company policies, or if it can be shown that your injuries were intentionally self-inflicted, your claim may be denied.
Effective Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Queens, New York
At Pyrros & Serres, we bring more than 50 years of combined workers’ compensation experience to clients throughout Queens and across the greater New York City area. We place a premium on personal service and attention, taking the time to learn the specific details of your case, so that we can tailor our efforts to get the outcome you seek. Because of our longstanding record of hard work and success, we receive many of our new cases as referrals from doctors, lawyers and satisfied clients.
We take all types of work-related injury claims, including cases involving:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Fractures | Burns | Paralysis | Spinal Cord Injury | Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury | Hearing or Vision Loss | Back and Neck Injury | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Accidental or Wrongful Death | Occupational Disease or Illness
Symptoms of Birth Hypoxia or Asphyxia that Parents Should Be Aware of
Birth hypoxia and asphyxia both refer to lack of oxygen to the brain in a fetus. This can occur right before, during or immediately after birth.
Seattle Children’s Research Foundation explains that a baby’s cells do not function properly when deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Oxygen deprivation can result in waste products building up in the cells, which causes damage.
What Factors Determine the Degree of Harm?
Factors that determine the extent of harm include:
The length of time the baby was deprived of oxygen
How low the baby’s oxygen level is
The speed with which the baby receives proper treatment
When hypoxia or asphyxia is mild, babies can fully recover. When it is severe, a baby may suffer from permanent injury, affecting the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
What Can Cause Asphyxia or Hypoxia?
The following can result in these medical conditions:
Airways blocked in the baby
Baby’s airway is not properly formed
Too little oxygen in the mother’s blood prior to delivery
Difficulties with the placenta prematurely separating from the womb
A long or difficult delivery
Umbilical cord problems during delivery
High or low blood pressure in the mother
Anemia in the baby where the baby’s blood cells do not carry enough oxygen
What You Should Look for
When suffering from asphyxia or hypoxia, a baby could be manifesting the following symptoms:
Not breathing or very weak breathing
Poor blood circulation
Lack of energy (lethargy)
Low blood pressure
Blood clotting abnormalities
Skin color is bluish, gray or lighter than normal
Low heart rate
Poor muscle tone
Too much acid in the baby’s blood (acidosis)
The baby’s first stool shows evidence of amniotic fluid stain
If you suspect that medical malpractice might have been a factor in your child’s care, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP , we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.
Warmer weather and extra daylight hours make summer the perfect time for outdoor sports like boating and personal watercraft recreation. New York State has thousands of freshwater lakes and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. These statistics do not include access to the Great Lakes or Atlantic Ocean. You are not hard pressed to find a favorite spot in New York for boating or riding your JetSki or WaveRunner.
However, along with this great opportunity for summer fun, comes an equal need to be responsible and act safely. Every year, people in New York die from drowning and water collision accidents.
Statistics Tell the Story
BoatUS reports that people using personal watercrafts (PWCs) experience a higher collision rate than those using any other type of watercraft. PWC collisions are 30 percent of reported boating accidents. PWC collisions also result in more injuries and deaths than any other type of PWC accident. Which is the greater risk for dying in a PWC accident — drowning or blunt force trauma? Blunt force trauma the greater risk.
Why Do PWC Operators Have Higher Accident Rates?
The main reason is inexperience. Most riders involved in PWC accidents lacked instruction or safety education training prior to operating the craft. An estimated 84 percent of PWC accidents involved operators with no training, and 73 percent had ridden for less than an hour when the accident took place.
The age group that is most involved PWC accidents is the 11-20 year old age group. While a parent would never hand the car keys to their 11 year old, nor let them near a car without supervision and a learner’s permit, even when they reached 16, this was not the case with a PWC. In fact, PWC owners were not the ones most involved in accidents. Only 18 percent of PWC owners were in accidents. Owners’ siblings (29 percent) and friends (53 percent) were the most frequent riders involved in PWC accidents.
Inexperience leads to poor judgment and loss of control.
Safety Tips: What to Avoid When Boating or Riding a PWC
Here are some guidelines to avoid when boating or operating a PWC:
Avoid wake jumping and sudden turns
Do not loan your PWC to someone who lacks experience and basic boating skills — ensure they’ve taken a safety course first
Keep beginning PWC operators away from boating traffic
Do not mix alcohol or drugs with operating a PWC or boat
Avoid boating without a personal floatation device
Do not ride or go boating in bad weather (stormy, high winds, or sudden temperature drops)
If you cannot swim, do not ride a PWC or go out on a boat
When Should You Seek Legal Help for a Boating Accident?
When your injuries are serious and you believe another party was at fault, consult with a lawyer and find out about your legal rights.
In the wake of a work-related injury, you want an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to help you pursue all the benefits available to you under the law. At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we will aggressively help you seek payment of all medical expenses, as well as compensation for lost wages and any permanent disabilities.
Under the New York workers’ compensation laws, your employer is required to provide coverage for any work-related injuries you suffer. In most instances, your employer will purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover that liability. As a practical matter, therefore, we are customarily working with insurance companies to recover the benefits to which you are entitled.
It’s important to understand how insurance companies make a profit. An insurer will charge you a premium, based on their assessment of the amount of risk you pose. The greater the risk, the higher the premium. The money collected from premiums is then used to pay any claims that are filed. The fewer claims the insurer pays, the greater their profit. It’s no surprise, then, that the workers’ compensation insurance company has a vested interest in paying as little as possible to resolve your claim.
So what does that mean for you? It means that the workers’ compensation insurer will typically scrutinize your claim, and may engage in any variety of tactics to delay, diminish or deny your claim:
You will likely be required to submit to a medical exam conducted by a doctor chosen by the insurance company. That doctor will typically be looking for any basis to deny your claim.
The insurance company may argue that your injuries do not prevent you from working, or that they were not work-related
The insurance company may try to cut its losses by offering you a cash settlement that’s worth far less than your actual losses
The takeaway? Don’t ever try to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own. Your case may seem like a slam dunk, but your employer and the insurance company can make it a nightmare.
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
How Extensively Has Age Discrimination Changed in the Past 50 Years?
Most employers are aware of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) passed in 1967. The law has been in existence for decades. What many employers may not be aware of is the fact that age discrimination continues to be an issue, and in some cases a growing issue. How likely are you to be sued for age discrimination? Are the statistics on your side or against you?
Consider the following facts reported this year by the EEOC in a statement about the state of age discrimination and older U.S. workers.
Age Discrimination Statistics Today
More than 60 percent of workers surveyed in 2017 who were age 45 and older indicated they either noticed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Of the individuals in this group, 90 percent stated age discrimination was common. African Americans (77 percent) reported higher rates of age discrimination, followed by Hispanics (61 percent) and Whites (59 percent). More women than men said that older workers face age discrimination.
Older workers in the technology sector indicated that 70 percent of those on IT staffs had observed or experienced age discrimination. More than 40 percent of older workers in the technology fields feared losing their jobs due to age.
In a Forbes magazine article, the author commented about the EEOC’s report entitled “State of Age Discrimination Statement 50 Years After the ADEA.” The article said that since the 2009 Supreme Court ruling on the Case Gross vs. FB Financial Services, age discrimination has been much more difficult to prove in court.
Types of reforms employers might expect to see regarding age discrimination include unexpected hiring audits along with financial penalties for incidents of malfeasance.
New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
In the first blog in this two-part series, we discussed what workers’ compensation, who pays for it and how you qualify to receive benefits. But the more important question, at least for you, is “what should I do when I have been hurt on the job?”
Protecting Your Rights—What to Do When You Suffer a Workplace Injury
The first thing you should always do—no questions asked—get the medical attention you need. If you are unable to move under your own power, don’t try to do so. This will often only make things worse. This is not the time to be brave or to shake it off—for the sake of your health and to protect your legal rights, you need to accept that you’ve been hurt and defer to the medical experts to tell you the extent of your injuries. Read More
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we handle all matters related to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims for people in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
Everyone has heard about defensive driving, but what does it mean to drive defensively? It certainly behooves drivers to find out because knowing and following defensive driving guidelines can be a lifesaver when on the road. With warmer weather and summer approaching, an increasing number of cars are on New York’s thoroughfares. Schools are taking field trips and soon families will be taking vacations, packing up their vehicles and driving to near and far destinations. Freeways as well as side roads will become more congested with traffic.
Tips for Defensive Driving
With safety in mind, the following are some defensive driving tips provided by drive-safely.net:
When driving, how far ahead do you look?
If you don’t look beyond the car in front of you, you’re not looking far enough ahead when you drive. Many people stay narrowly focused, but you should be able to see for miles. One way to avoid accidents is to develop situational awareness. You can notice how long a traffic light in front of you has been green or see that children down the street are playing with a ball. When you drive, practice looking as far ahead as you can.
Do you see the big picture?
When your eyes fixate on one other car or a building, you miss what else is going on. You should be aware of what is going on in the perimeter around you and notice vehicles that are at least three car lengths away. Are cars further down the road braking? Has traffic ahead of you come to a stand still? If your attention becomes glued on an accident at the side of the road, you might not notice that the car in front of you has slowed and rear end it. When driving, continually scan the whole view and be aware of everything around you.
In the event of hazards, do you have an escape plan?
If the car in front of you or the car a few vehicles ahead of you blows a tire and its driver loses control, where would you go? Had you noticed whether a shoulder existed on the side of the road or how the road was banked? If you left ample room between your car and other cars, you could see that quickly changing lanes would not be dangerous. The best way to maintain an escape plan begins with staying alert and always keeping a buffer of space between your car and other cars.
You’ve been hurt on the job in the state of New York. You’ve heard from others that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But what does that mean? How does the workers’ compensation system work? Who pays for it and where does it come from?
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is essentially a form of insurance that almost every employer in New York is required to carry. It’s designed to provide coverage when a worker is injured because of the fault of an employer or a co-worker. The benefits you are eligible for when you file for workers’ compensation are designed to cover two specific types of losses: 1) any medical expenses you incur because of the injury; and 2) a portion of your lost wages because of the injury.
As a general rule, workers’ compensation benefits are only available if you are unable to work and are terminated when you return to your job. However, if you have permanent injuries, but can still return to work, you may be entitled to a cash settlement when your workers’ compensation benefits end.
One of the most important things to understand is that workers’ compensation is basically a “no fault” system. That means that you don’t have to show that your employer or a co-worker was negligent—you only have to show that you were injured while working.
Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation?
The premiums for your workers’ compensation insurance are paid by your employer—they are not deducted from your pay.
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we provide comprehensive counsel to people with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
Unsafe Conditions Can Lead to Serious Construction Job Vehicle Accidents
Construction job motor vehicle accidents often occur due to OSHA violations. Many different types of vehicles are used in construction site work including cranes, forklifts, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, bulldozers, delivery trucks, excavators, front loaders, dump trucks, backhoes, graders, cement mixers and trenchers.
OSHA listed powered industrial truck standards violations as one of the top 10 most violated standards at construction sites in the year 2017.
What is considered a powered industrial truck?
Other names for powered industrial trucks are lift trucks or forklifts. Their main purpose is to move materials, by raising, lowering or removing large objects. They can also be used to move smaller objects on pallets or in crates, containers or boxes. Trucks or earth-moving equipment that are modified by adding forks are not considered powered industrial trucks, even though they may be used to move materials.
What dangers are related to driving powered industrial trucks?
Dangers depend on the type of forklift. A high-lift rider truck that lifts loads to greater heights than a hand truck is more prone to falling load accidents. Types of accidents that often occur may involve workers who suffer injury when lifts fall between loading docks or due to unsecured trailers. Injuries also occur when lift trucks strike workers or when workers fall while working on elevated pallets and tines.
If you are a construction worker and notice that working conditions are dangerous, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA and request a workplace inspection. All too often, serious or fatal accidents happen before violations are dealt with to make a safer work environment.
When to Seek Legal Help
If you suffer serious injury in a construction job vehicle accident, discuss your injury with an experienced attorney and get a case evaluation. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your injury and the prospects of taking legal action.