Do You Feel Anxious or Depressed?
It’s no surprise people often wonder about the difference between anxiety and depression because many people who suffer from anxiety also suffer from depression, and vice versa. The two mental conditions frequently overlap, and in certain instances, the medication prescribed or treatment used to address one will also be helpful with the other.
Anxiety and Depression — The Differences
In a Psychology Today article, Gregg Henriques, Ph.D. describes anxiety and depression as negative emotional-mood states.
Anxiety is a reaction to a perceived threat or potential loss, and it prepares you to take defensive action.
Perhaps a situation has arisen that is similar to one in the past. For example, let’s say you are middle aged and find yourself in the dating world again after a recent divorce. Dating made you anxious as a young adult, and that familiar anxiety is now rearing its fearful head again. Or, perhaps you are interviewing for a new job. Job interviews always made you nervous because if the interview didn’t go well, you might not get the job. Your nerves are frazzled, your palms are sweating, and you momentarily have a slight stutter as you answer the interviewer’s questions.
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and certain situations may stand out as obvious triggers. However, what if you feel anxious, but there seem to be no stressors in your life and you’re baffled about why you feel anxious? Or, what if some days have passed and your anxiety won’t go away?
It might be time to speak with a psychotherapist and get some help.
In contrast with anxiety, depression is a not so much a state of worry and defense against something threatening. It feels more like a state of emotional shutdown. Yes, the threat or loss might exist, but depression makes you lose interest in life or people, and makes you feel sad, angry or worthless. You want to withdraw from life.
Again, everyone has days where they feel blue or down, but the kind of depression being discussed here is of a longer lasting variety. You may want to crawl into your bed and sleep for weeks. Feelings of lethargy sap all your energy, and daily tasks or speaking with people appears overwhelming.
If these descriptions of anxiety or depression sound familiar, we have counselors at Affordable Therapy Los Angeles, who can work with you. We’ll help you identify the source of your anxiety or depression. Gaining insight through treatment can assist you in relieving this problem.
Working off the clock can be problematic for an employer. One reason is that time clocks or time sheets exist to document an employee’s work hours. When workers do not punch in, the book keeping of hours worked becomes nebulous. However, aside from that, employees can be subject to wage and hour lawsuits, penalties and other additional expenses when they fail to pay employees for time worked.
What Is “Working Off the Clock”?
Why Is Working Off the Clock Illegal?
Examples that Qualify as Working Off the Clock
If you call employees outside of work or send them work related emails that they must answer, you would be encouraging unpaid work or work done “off the clock.”
If you allow your employees to come in early or stay late to finish their work tasks, you can run into problems as an employer. Perhaps your restaurant worker is cleaning up or your laborer is simply dropping off equipment at another site outside of work hours. Off-the-clock work includes employees who work outside of the scheduled hours, for example to get a worksite ready for the production day. Workers who correct errors in paperwork past the time they should’ve gone home also qualify as working off the clock. Even having an employee wait to receive an assignment, despite the fact the employee is not doing anything but waiting, qualifies as work time.
Avoiding Accidents at Swimming Pools
Swimming pool injuries most frequently occur when the weather is hot. During the summertime in particular, going for a swim has been a favorite pastime.
Although swimming is a lot of fun, safety is also an issue. One of the best preventions against accidents is understanding the risks involved with swimming pools.
Types of Swimming Pool Injuries and Accidents
When diving into a swimming pool, swimmers may not give a second thought to how deep the water is. Yet, diving into water that is too shallow can cause serious injuries. Diving into shallow water can cause brain, head or neck injuries. In serious cases, injuries can lead to brain damage or paralysis. In addition, if the diver is knocked unconscious, he or she could drown.
Whenever diving into a pool, it’s vital to notice the depth of the water beforehand.
Pool Drain Injuries
Swimming pools have drains as part of their filtering systems to keep the water clean. Many people, and in particular children, may not know to stay away from the drains. Swimming pool drain injuries can be severe and are not that uncommon. The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) reported that certain drains exert up to 300 pounds of pressure per square inch. While most drains have tightly fastened covers to secure them, an improperly covered drain is capable of causing serious injury or death.
The drain’s suction is so strong that it can tear organs from a body. Unfortunately, this has happened in drain accidents. Read More
Slip and Fall Injuries
Many pools have signs that say, “No Running.” Areas around the pool often get wet. Water drips off people’s bodies and swimming suits as they leave the pool. As a result, wet surfaces tend to be slippery, and running can increase the chances of slip and fall injuries. Read More
If you are involved in a swimming pool accident and suffer serious injury, you may have legal grounds to pursue a case. New York swimming pool injury attorneys can review the circumstances surrounding your injury and discuss the prospects of taking legal action.
The City of Everett, Washington, got very upset with the so called “Bikini Baristas”, and passed local laws which criminalized the clothing they wear as “lewd conduct”, and enacted a dress code for “Quick-Service Facilities,” which was clearly designed to apply to the drive through coffee-stands. In fairness to the City, the “bikinis’ were really only pasties and g-strings, instances of clearly lewd conduct, as well as customer-barista physical contact, had been documented, and one sheriff’s deputy had even been convicted of helping an owner evade the undercover officers in exchange for sex acts. Although the city police were clearly able to make arrests for the acts that violated the existing public lewdness laws, the city complained that the resources required for undercover investigation of these businesses could be better spent elsewhere and that the new ordinances would make enforcement much easier.
The Ordinances and the Baristas’ Arguments: Baristas working at “Hillbilly Hotties” sued the city, challenging the constitutionality of prohibiting “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola,” “the genitals, anus, bottom one-half of the anal cleft, or any portion of the areola or nipple of the female breast” as well as the dress code provision requiring the covering of “the upper and lower body (breast/pectorals, stomach, back below the shoulder blades, buttocks, top three inches of the legs below the buttocks, pubic area and genitals).”They claimed portions of these ordinances were unconstitutionally vague. In their complaint, the Baristas pointed out that the length of a common woman’s shirt is often short enough that stretching or bending would reveal part of her back or stomach, violating the dress code, Complaint Doc. 1 ¶4. They also argued that in order to enforce the law, police would have to require suspects to expose their entire beasts in order to measure the top of the areola to determine whether “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola” is covered. Women with larger areola or breasts are subject to different restrictions than women with smaller areola or breasts and accurate determination would be impossible without such exposure. Id. at ¶¶31-3.
The Baristas Win the First Round:
The District Court judge1 found that the ordinances were probably not valid because they were constitutionally vague, especially because the term “bottom one half of the anal cleft” was not well-defined or reasonably understandable, and that the ordinances failed to provide clear guidance and presented risks of arbitrary enforcement. The District Judge reasoned that their choice of clothing was “communicative”, and conveyed messages of particularized values, beliefs, ideas, and opinions; namely, body confidence and freedom of choice, and that these messages are understood by customers. The City argued that the “message”, if any, was not sufficient to qualify for free speech protection, and was understood only as a sexual image. The District Court ruled that the constitutional challenges to the ordinances should be analyzed according to the “intermediate scrutiny” standard2. Read More
The Baristas Lose on Appeal
The appeals court3 viewed the case much differently, reasoning was as follows. First, since the terms “anal” and “cleft” are easily found in the dictionary, the public would not be left to guess about the meaning of the term, which is reasonably ascertainable to a person of ordinary intelligence. The second part of the vagueness test concerns whether the criminal “lewd conduct” provisions were amenable to unchecked law enforcement discretion. The appellate court recognized that some degree of law enforcement subjectivity might be involved in close cases, but the mere fact that there will be close cases does not make a law unconstitutionally vague. Where it is a criminal law, the defendant charged with committing the crime will always be entitled to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is sufficient protection in those close cases. Makes a law vague is not that it might be hard to determine whether the incriminating fact it establishes has been proved, but rather the indeterminacy of precisely what that fact is. A good example of a vague statute is a ban on the assembly of three or more persons on city sidewalks if they conduct themselves in a manner annoying to passers-by. Criminalizing conduct that is annoying is constitutionally vague, because what is annoying to one person may not be to another. Read More
P.S. – Nude and Semi-nude Dancing
It should be noted that nude and semi-nude dancing has been left to be expressive conduct entitled to at least some First Amendment protection, but the Baristas did not claim that they were covered by this. The City of Everett allows nude dancing, but it is subject to the adult entertainment licensing and zoning restrictions, which the owners of the Bikini Barista establishments chose not to comply with.
 U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Edge v. City of Everett, Case No. C17-1361-MJP, District Judge Marsha J. Pechman.
 Depending on the nature of the speech, different standards are used to determine the validity of the government interest in restricting the speech and the extent to which the speech may be prohibited or limited. These analyses can become complex and go beyond the scope of a blog post like this.
 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Edge v. City of Everett, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19930.
How Fissuring Is Changing the Work Environment
Fissuring in the workplace is a relatively new term. You may have heard about fissuring, a term coined by David Weil. He and Tanya Goldman in the article “Labor Standards, the Fissured Workplace and the On-Demand Economy” explain fissuring as follows:
It “means that in more and more workplaces, the employment relationship has been broken into pieces often shifted…to individuals who are treated as independent contractors.”
Other terms have become prevalent that also reflect this employment change. These are terms such as standard employment, non-standard employment, alternative work arrangements, independent contractors and contract employees.
The business models that typically accomplish fissuring use:
- Temporary agencies
- Labor brokers
- Third-party management
What Does Fissuring Mean for Employers and Employees?
As stated by an article in The American Prospect, the workplace is undergoing a change, and fissure is what is happening to the U.S. workforce.
Back in the day, an employee worked for a company, received benefits, stayed with the company long-term and received a pension for retirement. The average worker often spent a lifetime working for the same company.
In an effort to reduce labor costs and also lasting ties to workers, companies have implemented a variety of employment strategies. Strategies include hiring through apps, employing temp workers and freelancers along with contracting out and in some cases, misclassifying employees.
Today, many people have two or three part-time jobs because main jobs are not available. Multiple part time jobs are necessary for them to make financial ends meet.
Yet, various wage changes have also emerged as a result of the fissured workplace. New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut have all enacted $15 minimum wage laws.
The History Behind the Wage Increases
Governor Cuomo of New York created a wage board and held hearings throughout New York. At the hearings, many fast-food workers testified that they couldn’t survive on the $8.25 minimum wage. The New York legislature enacted legislation to raise wages to $15 per hour. Subsequently, the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission engaged in a similar action and raised wages to a minimum of $17.22 per hour for app -based drivers.
The newest emerging trend is for cities to create boards that help workers raise their pay. In this effort, the boards appear to be taking on the previous function of labor unions, which were known in the past for working to equalize pay.
As Bob Dylan sang back in the 1960s, “The Times, They Are a Changin’.“
At Stephen Hans & Associates, we work with employers to help them comply with employment laws and to deal with employment issues.
Whether you are an employee who just secured their dream job, or an employer who has made a key hire, there exist certain key terms and obligations that must specifically be set forth in any resulting employment contract to protect all parties’ interests and set the ground rules for the duration of the employment relationship and beyond. A well-drafted employment contract significantly lowers the potential for conflict down the line, increases employee morale and provides a means for redress should the employment relationship break down and eventually terminate.
Towards that lofty end, I have set down the Top 10 things an effective employment contract should include. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but is rather meant to provide a general framework from which the parties may commence negotiations.
Job responsibilities and information
Job title, a description of job duties and expectations, as well as the department with which the employee shall work should all be set forth. Equally important is providing clarity with respect to how the employee will be evaluated and to whom the employee will directly report.
Job compensation and benefits package
Clearly outline the employee’s compensation and benefits package, including the salary or hourly rate, specific information about performance and merit-based raises, bonuses and incentives, as well as detail the process under which each such benefit is obtained. Explain when medical benefits become effective, what plans are available and what percentage is covered by the employer, as well as provide information about other possible benefits including a 401(k) plan, equity options and other negotiated benefits.
Vacation, PTO and sick time
The employer’s policy for employee time off should be fully explained. At what rate does PTO, including sick and vacation, time accrue? What is the employer policy with respect to emergency, sick or unpaid leaves? Is flex-time permitted and if so, under what circumstances and approvals?
As a new hire, will an employee be considered an employee or an independent contractor? Once a designation has been made, cross-reference to the job duties and responsibilities section should be made to support such designation.
Period of employment and job schedule
Whether or not an employee is being hired for a set term or on an ongoing basis is an integral term. Key terms in this section include expected total weekly hours, daily hours of work, whether overtime hours are possible and if so, how they will be paid, and whether night and weekend work is expected, even if occasionally.
The Confidentiality Agreement
This section cannot be stressed enough and is the most litigated issue in most employment relationships. Therefore, it is imperative that not only do the parties agree to strict confidentiality of all of the employer’s intellectual property and trade secrets, such as client lists, but that the parties mutually detail what information is considered confidential so that there is no confusion should this issue ever be disputed.
In this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we exist in a culture of immediate gratification. That translates to an employee’s frequent use of the employer’s technology to access social media during working hours. The employer should clearly set forth what their policy is with respect to an employee’s use of social media during working hours, not only for use of the employer’s computer, but also for use of the employee’s cell phone and other on site technology.
Let’s face it, nearly all employment relationships end, hopefully on good terms but that is by no means a guarantee. Provide concise direction as to what notice period is required for either party to terminate the relationship, whether such notice must be in writing, and explain the employer’s policy with respect to severance, if any.
An employer’s brand is their lifeblood and should be protected at all costs. That translates into consideration of putting into place an outplacement plan should the employee and employer part ways. Explaining what types of assistance may be available to a terminated employee goes a long way in buying good faith in a potentially bad situation.
If the new hire is a key player in the employer’s organization, the parties may want to enter into a non-complete that is carefully tailored to the circumstances while providing the employee a means to earn a living should the parties decide to part ways. Overly broad non-competes are rarely enforced, and while Courts have wide discretion in narrowing an overly broad non-compete, the employer risks having it rejected in its entirety. Thus it is in the parties’ mutual best interest to carefully negotiate this section to account for all competing interests.
We at the Van De Water Law Firm, P.C. are well versed in all manner of employment contracts and are happy to answer any and all of your questions regarding employment contracts and all other employment issues at (631) 923-1314 or Chris@vdwlawfirm.com. You can also find more informative articles about the employment relationship by visiting our employment website.
The Worst Time for Teen Accidents Is When School Is Out
Teenage driving has the highest accident rate of any age group, and teen accidents are the nation’s leading cause of death for teenagers. Teenage drivers are youth between the ages of 16 to 19.
Teenage Driving Statistics
Teenage drivers are three times more at risk for dying in a vehicle crash than drivers who are 20 or older.
According the (CDC) Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, six teenagers died every day due to motor vehicle crashes. A total of 2,433 teens were killed. Teenagers represented 6.5 percent of the population in 2016, but the expenses they accumulated for vehicle crashes were 8.4 percent of the national total.
It stands to reason that during the summer, when warmer weather arrives and more people are on the road, so are teenagers. When school is out, teens have more free time and drive more often.
What Are Biggest Risks?
Male teens are twice as likely as females to die in a vehicle crash. When teens ride with a teenage driver and are unsupervised, the crash risk increases. In fact, the risk is proportionate to the number of teens in the car. The more teen passengers there are, the greater the risk.
New drivers who have just gotten their licenses are the most at risk of all. Also, younger teens at the age of 16 or 17 are at greater risk for a fatal crash than teens at the ages of 18 and 19.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Teenage Driver? Read More
If you are injured in a crash that involved a teenage driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. There is no cost for the initial consultation, and there are no out of pocket expenses. If the attorney recovers compensation on your behalf, the fee is a percentage of the recovery.
Drug Testing: New York City ‘s New Law
A ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC recently became law in New York City. Pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC had long been an accepted standard in the employment process for certain industries. However, the legal landscape is changing. With the legalization of medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana in certain states), employers must re-evaluate certain company policies. New York is no exception.
On May 10, New York City passed a law that prohibited employers, labor organizations and employment agencies from conducting pre-employment testing for THC. THC is an active ingredient in marijuana and cannabis. The law goes into effect in one year, on May 10, 2020. This time interval provides NYC employers with time to prepare.
Industries Exempt from the Ban on Pre-Employment Testing for Marijuana and THC
According to JDSupra, industries that are safety-sensitive are not subject to the new law. Some of these industries include:
- Police and law enforcement positions
- Jobs requiring OSHA certification or construction safety training under New York state laws
- Commercial driver’s license positions
- Positions involved with the supervision or care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons
- Positions capable of significantly impacting the health or safety of employees or the public
Employees applying for state or federal jobs would still be subject to pre-employment drug testing. This would include state employees, truck drivers, pilots or contractors.
The Reason for the Ban on Pre-Employment Testing
Legislators considered the practice discriminatory for job applicants. Washington D.C. has also passed a law that prohibits employers from testing for marijuana before extending a job offer. The NYC law is more comprehensive because at no point prior to hiring may the prospective employer require the drug test.
However, once the company hires the applicant, then the individual is an employee. Companies can test for drugs if an employee appears to be under the influence of marijuana while working.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates stay up-to-date with legal changes that affect employers. We also represent business owners in employment litigation
Basic Information About Workers Compensation
Workers compensation insurance covers medical expenses and lost income if you’ve been hurt on the job in New York. Virtually all New York employers must carry workers comp insurance.
Who Is Covered by Workers Compensation in New York?
Employers with for-profit businesses must carry workers comp insurance. The employees that the insurance covers includes:
- Full-time employees
- Part-time employees
- Borrowed employees
- Leased employees
- Family members and volunteers working for the business
- Domestic workers employed for 40 or more hours per week by the same employer (including full-time sitters or companions or live-in maids)
- Farm workers employed by employers who pay $1,200 or more for farm labor per calendar year
In addition, workers compensation covers State of New York employees along with some volunteer workers, public school teachers and aides, and county and municipality employees doing work defined as “hazardous.”(Reference: New York State Workers Compensation Board)
What Type of Disabilities Does Workers Compensation Cover?
The disability must be work related: either an accidental injury that occurs as a result of the course of employment or an occupational disease.
What Is an Occupational Disease?
An occupation disease occurs as a result of exposure to work conditions. An example is contracting asbestosis while doing asbestos removal.
If You Are Injured on the Job, What Should You Do?
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing to do is to receive first aid. If your injury is not an emergency situation, you must see a healthcare provider that is authorized by the Worker’s Compensation Board. Or, if your employer has authorization to participate in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, you should use the program’s participating healthcare provider, if required. Your employer must notify you and other workers, in writing, giving you all the information about their PPO or ADR programs.
You may need authorization and have to get diagnostic tests and prescription medicine from designated diagnostic networks or pharmacies under contract. Your employer must also provide you with written notice if this is the case.
If the employer does not dispute your workers comp case, the insurance provider will cover your medical expenses.
Notify Your Employer
Notify your supervisor as soon as possible about the injury. You have 30 days from the date of the accident causing the injury to notify your employer. With an occupational disease, you must give notification within two years after being disabled or within two years after you knew or should have known that your disease was work related.
Fill Out and Mail a Form C-3
You must fill out the Form-3, which is a workers comp form and mail it to the nearest office of the Workers’ Compensation Board.
For more information about workers compensation, please see our Work Related Accidents page.
Overtime Pay in New York
Many employees in New York are eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Unless an employee has a job that is specifically exempt from the overtime requirement under state and federal law, employers are required to pay employees time-and-a-half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Time-and-a-half means an employee is entitled to 1.5 times their hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 in a given week. For example, if an employee is paid $20 hour and works 50 hours per week, that employee should be paid $20 x 40 ($800) in regular pay, and $35 x 10 ($350) for overtime hours worked, for a total of $1,150.
Determining Who Is Exempt from Overtime
A common misconception is that eligibility for overtime is determined based solely on your job title or whether you are salaried. That is simply not true. Instead, it is your employment classification that determines how your employer pays you and the benefits to which you are entitled. In New York, you can find these classifications and the legal protections associated with them in the New York State Labor Law.
Some examples of jobs that are exempt and thus not subject to receiving overtime are: Read More
Unfortunately, employers often mis-classify employees as exempt from overtime, and many employees are unaware of their right to overtime compensation. As a result, many employees are not paid wages they are owed under the law.
Another trick employers use to avoid paying overtime is misclassifying employees. Misclassification that results in failure to pay overtime wages can occur in three ways: Read More
3) Failing to provide an employee overtime wages because the employee is salaried. Just because you are salaried does not in itself mean you are exempt from getting overtime wages. If you are not exempt from overtime wages, your employer is responsible for calculating your hourly wage equivalent and providing you with overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours per week. Additionally, certain employees may meet the “highly paid” exemption if they are salaried; however, many salaried employees do not qualify for this exemption.
Who is Going to Pay for All This? Attorney’s Fees, Liquidated Damages, Cost and Interest
Federal and State Laws require that attorney’s fees, liquidated damages, costs and interest to be paid to an employee that prevails in an overtime claim. 29 U.S. Code § 216, otherwise known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA provides that the Court shall allow a successful employee to recover his or her reasonable attorney’s fees, as well as the costs associated with pursuing their rights in a legal action. More specifically, the Courts in New York have held that an employee who “prevails” in an FLSA action shall receive his or her “full wages plus the penalty without incurring any expense for legal fees or costs. This takes the financial burden off of an employee and places it squarely on the shoulders of their employer, allowing them to come forward and enforce their rights without paying an expensive retainer to secure the services of a highly skilled attorney who specializes in wage and hour claims, as does The Van De Water Law Firm, P.C.
Similarly, the New York Labor Law in §§ 198(1-a) strongly supports its Federal overtime counterpart by stating that “In any action instituted in the courts upon a wage claim by an employee or the commissioner in which the employee prevails, the court shall allow such employee to recover the full amount of any underpayment, all reasonable attorney’s fees, prejudgment interest as required under the civil practice law and rules, and, unless the employer proves a good faith basis to believe that its underpayment of wages was in compliance with the law, an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to one hundred percent of the total amount of the wages found to be due.”.
We at the Van De Water Law Firm, P.C. specialize in wage and hour and overtime cases. If you believe you are the victim of overtime violations, we are always available for a free consultation and can be reached via email, cell phone: (516) 384-6223, office (631) 923-1314. More information can be found at The Van De Water Law Firm P.C.
“I am your legal protector”