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Matt Lauer: One Sexual Harassment Complaint Led to More

Matt Lauer: One Sexual Harassment Complaint Led to More

As more women are coming forward to claim sexual harassment, other women are also gaining the courage to come forward. This is the current trend in a variety of sexual harassment cases that are hitting the media. Such appears to be the case in the recent reports about Matt Lauer, long time anchor and host of the “Today” show.

Details About the Matt Lauer Sexual Harassment and His Job Termination

According to Fox News , NBC met with Lauer, an alleged victim and her lawyer to confront Lauer about his inappropriate sexual behavior. Since the news broke, it became apparent there was more than one isolated incident. NBC quickly fired Matt Lauer and stated it was the first time they had heard about the sexual harassment allegations.

People magazine reports that eight women have now come forward regarding inappropriate sexual behavior on Matt Lauer’s part.

Lauer has issued a public apology for his actions and for the people he has harmed, and said that although not all aspects of the allegations were true and some he felt were mischaracterized, there was enough truth in them for him to apologize and feel regret and shame. He said his full time job is now to do what he can to repair the damage he has done.

Actions that Make Lauer’s Instance Stand Apart from Other Recent Claims

NBC News acted quickly on the allegations after discovering them. Matt Lauer did not deny that he engaged in sexual misconduct, but instead expressed his regret and indicated he would take action to repair the damage.

As a business, what is the best approach to take when allegations of sexual harassment arise? If you face sexual harassment issues, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and discuss your concerns so you can weigh your options.

Experienced Legal Counsel When Your Business Faces Sexual Harassment Allegations

At Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C., we have decades of experiences assisting business owners with sexual harassment and other employment related issues. Call our Long Island City office at (718) 275-6700 to arrange a confidential consultation.

What Happens at a Workers’ Compensation Hearing and Why Are They Scheduled?

Workers’ Compensation Hearings – What Happens and Why Are They Scheduled?

When you’ve been injured on the job, one of the first things you’ll do is notify your employer and file a claim for workers’ compensation. In some situations, your claim will be approved without the need for a hearing and your benefits will start within a couple weeks. In most situations, though, you’ll receive a notice that a hearing has been scheduled.

Why You Will Have to Appear at a Hearing After Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

There are a number of reasons why you’ll have to appear at a hearing after you’ve filed a claim for workers’ compensation:

  • Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance provider may be challenging your claim, arguing that you weren’t hurt on the job
  • The insurance company doctor may have concluded that your injuries don’t prevent you from doing your job
  • There may be a dispute about your wages or the amount to which you are entitle

At the workers’ compensation hearing, the parties will produce evidence regarding all the issues being contested. You can provide the judge with documentation regarding your pre-accident wages, so that you are awarded the appropriate amount of disability income under the law.

It’s important to understand that your employer and the workers’ compensation insurer will both likely have legal representation at the hearing. In addition, you can’t expect that the judge will take the time to walk you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at your side.

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, our attorneys handle all matters related to workers’ compensation claims for people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Call our office at (718) 626-7730 to schedule a consultation to find out how we can help with your workers’ comp claim.

Winter Driving Tips

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Driving in winter weather can be a challenge. Treacherous winter driving conditions range from freezing rain, sleet, snow or simply a drop in temperature causing wet surfaces to turn icy. Understanding some basic ideas about how to drive on ice or in snow can help you prevent accidents.

Recommendations for Driving in Snowy Weather

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following tips for driving in snowy, winter weather.

  • Press down on the gas pedal or brake slowly. Fast acceleration can make you skid or spin. Allow enough time to stop slowly.
  • Drive slowly. Driving slowly helps you have enough time to maneuver for gradual acceleration and stopping.
  • Increase your driving distance between cars. Understand that you should increase the distance for stopping within three to four seconds to eight to ten seconds.
  • Apply smooth brake pressure. Rest the heel of your foot on the floor and press the brake pedal with the ball of your foot for gradual braking.
  • Avoid stopping. If at all possible, avoid stopping in snowy weather and keep rolling. For example, roll up to a traffic light so slowly that you can keep rolling until the light changes.
  • Do not accelerate driving up hills. You can easily go into a spin when accelerating too much as you climb a hill.
  • Do not stop when going up a hill. If the hill is icy, it is difficult to keep the car from spinning as you press the gas pedal to start the car moving again.
  • Stay home whenever possible. The best way to avoid snowy weather accidents is to avoid driving in snow. Stay at home if at all possible.

Legal Help If  You Have You Been Injured Through the Fault of Another Driver

If you have suffered serious injury in a winter driving accident, you may be able to recover compensation for damages. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your accident and the prospects of pursuing a case. Call (718) 539-3100 to arrange an appointment.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

Author: Bonnie Lawston

Under New York law, a valid will must contain the signatures of two witnesses. There are no requirements regarding the capacity of the witnesses. The testator (person executing the will) must sign in the presence of the witnesses, but they need not sign in each other’s presence. There’s also nothing that prohibits you from having a family member as a witness to your will, but there can be consequences.

Under New York law, a witness who has also has an interest in the estate is known as an “interested witness.” The fact that the will was witnessed by an interested witness does not invalidate the will, but it will render any benefit to the interested witness in the will void. Accordingly, any conveyance of property to an interested witness under a will, even if it’s part of a residuary estate, will be ineffective and will be returned to the estate, to be divided among other beneficiaries.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

The “interested witness” rule, however, can apply to more than just property received. Consider the facts in Matter of the Estate of Cynthia R. Wu. In that case, the deceased had a provision in her will that called for estate and inheritance taxes to be paid as debts of the estate, rather than by beneficiaries out of their pro rata share of the estate. The deceased’s brother, the named beneficiary of two life insurance policies owned by the decedent, had also been a witness to the decedent’s will. The court concluded that, because the brother was an interested witness, he was not entitled to the benefit of having the estate taxes paid out of the estate. Instead, the court ordered him to pay his pro rata share of the estate taxes out of the death benefit proceeds.

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we focus our estate administration practice on estates subject to probate in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Contact our office online or call us at 631-425-7299 or 24/7 at 855-479-4700) to set up a free initial consultation.

Companies Accused of Discrimination or Harassment: What Can You Do?

 

Author: Stephen D. Hans & Associates

Woman suffering from sexual harassment in the workplace

When accusations of discrimination or harassment emerge, employers should consult with an employment law defense lawyer as soon as possible. Aside from seeking counsel, what actions can you take right away and what mistakes can you avoid?

The American Bar Association  suggests avoiding the following mistakes.

  • Failing to investigate immediately. Waiting for an employee to submit a formal statement about harassment or discrimination or waiting for witnesses to submit written statements is the most common mistake made by employers. Any investigation delay can make it appear like you’re ignoring the situation or not taking it seriously.
  • Inserting cross-examination into the process. Conducting an investigation without bias is important for avoiding claims of unfair investigation against your company, even when you suspect a complainant, witness or the accused individual is lying. A better approach is to ask in a respectful manner that the person explain contradictory statements or ask for evidence that refutes the statements.
  • Not maintaining confidentiality. You must keep the investigation confidential along with the information obtained during the investigation. If witnesses suffer backlash from the investigation because their identity is made known or for any other reason, as the employer, you may become subject to claims of retaliation.
  • Not interviewing all witnesses with knowledge of the alleged events. The investigator should interview all the witnesses because it will help determine whether information is consistent.
  • Failing to make known the company’s policy against retaliation. Retaliation is a common problem, according to the EEOC and comprises about one third of the cases the EEOC handles. It is important to reinforce the company policy by reminding all parties that retaliation will not be tolerated against complainants who make good faith claims. This focus also helps protect you as the employer.
  • Failing to conduct a thorough investigation. Overlooking records, such as telephone or cell phone records when they are crucial to an investigation is a common mistake.
  • Failing to end the investigation with a conclusive finding. When investigations end with disputed evidence by both sides and nothing is concluded, the investigation is tantamount to no investigation. Some conclusion must be reached based on a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the investigator must reach a conclusion that it most likely that the harassment did or did not occur.

Put an Experienced Employment Defense Lawyer on Your Side

Employers dealing with harassment or discrimination issues should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Stephen Hans & Associates brings decades of experience to the table in every case we handle.

 

 

How Does Your Lawyer Get Paid in a Workers’ Compensation Case?

New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

When you’ve been hurt on the job, one of your first steps should be to notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim to cover medical expenses and lost income. But when you’ve suffered a job-related injury and can’t work, things get pretty tight pretty quickly. When you’re trying to put food on the table, one of the last things you want is to pay money to an attorney. So what do you do?

There’s good news—in New York, when you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, you never have to pay your attorney directly for any work done on your case, whether it’s preparing and filing the application for benefits, or appearing on your behalf at meetings or hearings. The amount that your lawyer will receive is determined by the workers’ compensation and by the workers’ compensation board, and will be calculated based on the range of services provided, as well as the amount of benefits the attorney secures for you.

In workers’ compensation cases, like other personal injury lawsuits, lawyers typically charge a “contingency fee.” That means that your attorney will take a percentage of the amount recovered. The lawyer will only get paid if you actually obtain workers’ compensation benefits, and will typically receive a higher fee if you get a higher monetary award.  A customary contingency fee in New York is 10-15% of the total award or settlement.

How Does Your Workers’ Compensation Attorney Get Paid?

Experienced Queens  Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

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.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens Workers’ Compensation Attorneys