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6 posts from October 2008

October 25, 2008

Time Off to Vote: A State by State Guide

Time Off to Vote

Must your employer give you time off to vote?  See the chart below for a state by state analysis!

State Time Allowed to Vote Paid or Unpaid Applicable Statute
Alabama The necessary time off shall not exceed one hour and if the hours of work of the employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least one hour prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided in this section shall not be available. Unspecified 2006 Alabama Laws Act 2006-545 (H.B. 141)
Alaska Sufficient time to vote, unless the employee has two consecutive hours in which to vote, either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of the employee's regular working shift, or between the end of the regular working shift and the closing of the polls. Paid Alaska Statutes § 15.15.100
Arizona Three hours, unless polls are open three hours before or after shift. Paid Arizona Revised Statutes §16-402
Arkansas Employer shall schedule sufficient time on election days so that employees may vote. Unspecified Arkansas Code § 7-1-102
California Two hours at the beginning or end of the regular working shift. Paid California Election Code § 14000
Colorado Two hours unless polls are open three hours before or after regular working shift. Paid Colorado Revised Statutes §1-7-102
Connecticut None
Delaware None
Georgia Two hours unless polls are open two hours before or after regular working shift Unspecified Georgia Code §21-2-404
Florida None
Hawaii Two hours, unless polls are open two consecutive non-working hours. Paid, with proof that vote is cast Hawaii Revised Statutes §11-95
Idaho None
Illinois Two hours. Unpaid 10 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/17-15
Indiana None
Iowa Three hours, unless employee has 3 consecutive hours non-work time when polls are open. Paid Iowa Code Annotated § 49.109
Kansas Up to two hours. Paid Kansas Statutes Annotated §25-418
Kentucky Up to four hours. Unpaid Kentucky Revised Statutes § 118.035
Louisiana None
Maine None
Maryland Employees who do not otherwise have two hours of continuous off-duty time when the polls are open may take up to two hours of leave to vote. Paid with proof of voting Maryland Code, Election Law, § 10-315
Massachusetts Voters employed in mechanical, manufacturing or mercantile businesses allowed time off during the first two hours after the polls have opened only if an application for absence has been submitted. Unspecified Massachusetts General Laws Annotated 149 § 178
Michigan None
Minnesota Employees are allowed to take time off during the mornings of election days. Paid Minnesota Statutes Annotated  § 204C.04
Mississippi None
Missouri Employees may take up to three hours off to vote on Election Day during the times the polls are open if a request for time is made prior to Election Day and the polls are not open for three successive hours when the employee is not at work. The employer may specify any three hours when the polls are open during which employees may take time off to vote. Paid Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes 115.639
Montana None
Nebraska Employees are entitled to up to two hours to vote if the employee does not have two consecutive non-work hours to vote while the polls are open. The employee must request time off to vote prior to the Election Day, and the employer may specify when during the working day employees may take time off. Paid Nebraska Revised Statutes § 32-922
Nevada Employees are allowed one to three hours on election days to vote if they do not have "sufficient" free time outside working hours, depending on the distance between work and the polling site. Employees must apply for time prior to Election Day. Employers may designate the specific time employees may take. Paid Nevada Revised Statues 293.463
New Hampshire None
New Jersey None
New Mexico Employees may have up to two hours, unless they have two free hours before work or three free hours after work while the polls are open. The employer may designate the hours to be taken, but it may not include lunch or rest hours. Paid New Mexico Statutes § 1-12-42
New York Employees are allowed to take "sufficient time" on Election Day as is necessary to allow them to vote, if four consecutive non-working hours are not available while the polls are open. Employers may designate whether the time is to be taken at the beginning or end of the shift.  Employees must notify employers of the need for time off not more than 10 days and not less than 2 days before the election. Employers must post a conspicuous notice of employee rights at least ten days before Election Day.  Paid up to two hours McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York § 3-110
North Carolina None
North Dakota The law encourages employers to provide time off to vote when an employee's regular work schedule conflicts with the times polls are open. NOTE: The recommended policy is voluntary. Unspecified N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-01-02.1
Ohio Employers are prohibited from firing an employee who takes a reasonable amount of time to vote. Paid for salaried employees. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3599.06
Oklahoma Every employer must allow its registered voters up to two hours off to vote on Election Day, during the time when the polls are open. Paid Okla. Stat. Ann. § 26-7-101
Oregon None
Pennsylvania None
Rhode Island None
South Carolina None
South Dakota Employees are entitled to be absent from work on Election Day between the time the polls open and when they close, if the person does not have a period of two consecutive hours during the time the polls are open in which he or she is not required to be at work. Paid S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 12-3-5
Tennessee An employee may be absent for a reasonable time, not to exceed three hours, without penalty to vote during the time the polls are open in the county where the employee resides. If the tour of duty of an employee begins three or more hours after the opening of the polls or ends three or more hours before the closing of the polls of the county where the employee is a resident, the employee may not take time off under this section. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent. Application for such absence shall be made to the employer before noon of the day before the election. Paid Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-1-106
Texas Unless the polls are open for voting for two consecutive hours outside of the employee’s working hours, employers must give employees leave to vote without penalty. Paid Tex. Code Ann. Election  Code § 276.004
Utah Employers must provide employees up to two hours off between the time the polls open and when they close, unless the employee has at least three non-working hours during the time the polls are open. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent. Paid Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-103
Vermont None
Virginia None
Washington Employers are required to arrange employee work time on the day of an election so that each employee has a reasonable amount of time available for voting if the employee would not otherwise have two hours free (not including meal or rest breaks) to vote while the polls are open. Paid RCWA 49.28.120
West Virginia Maximum of three hours time off to vote must be granted upon written demand made at least three days prior to Election Day. Paid W.Va. Code § 3-1-42
Wisconsin An employee is permitted time off to vote for a period not to exceed three successive hours while the polls are open. The employee must notify the employer before Election Day of the intended absence. The employer may designate the time of day for the absence. Unpaid Wis. Stat. § 6.76(1)
Wyoming At the employee's convenience, the employee may take one hour between the opening and closing of polls to vote. Paid Wyo. Stat. § 22-2-111
Washington, D.C. None

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

October 15, 2008

California Wage and Hour Violations - Does Your Boss Owe You Back Pay?

Boss_with_cigar_2

Answers to Questions About Your Wage & Hour Rights

Do you wonder if you have a claim against your employer for failure to pay you proper wages?  The Law Offices of Lowell Steiger and the Law Offices of Steven Waisbren would like to provide answers to some of the more common questions, and we are happy to discuss your particular situation at your convenience.

Question -

What is the general rule about payment of overtime wages?

Answer -

Under California law, a “nonexempt” employee 18 years of age or older shall not be employed more than eight hours in any workday, or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless he or she receives 1½ times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday, over 40 hours in the workweek, or more than six days in any workweek.

An employee is entitled to double his or her regular rate of pay if he or she works in excess of 12 hours in any workday, and for all hours worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

Question -

What is an exempt employee?

Answer -

An exempt employee is one to which the overtime wage protections under the California Labor Code do not apply.  If an employee is truly exempt, they are not entitled to overtime wages, regardless of the number of hours he or she works.

Question -

How do I know if I am an exempt or nonexempt employee?

Answer -

There are a number of exemptions which exist, and may apply to your particular situation.  For the most part, these would include the administrative exemption, executive exemption, and the professional exemption.  Generally, the existence of these exemptions depends upon numerous factors, including the amount of independent judgment and discretion given to the employee on significant matters, the extent of supervisory or managerial duties the employee performs, and, most importantly, whether the employee performs exempt duties more than 50% of the time.  Of course, there are a number of other considerations which must be analyzed.

A determination of your exemption classification should be made only after consultation with an attorney since there are many reasons that an employee may be nonexempt under the law .

Question -

What if my employer has classified me as an exempt employee?  Am I bound by that classification?

Answer -

Absolutely not!!  Many employers will misclassify employees either mistakenly, or in an effort to avoid paying the employee overtime wages to which he or she is entitled.  Don’t assume that your classification is correct.  You may be entitled to many years of back wages, interest, and other damages.

Question -

Can I be fired for making a claim for overtime wages?

Answer -

No.  California law specifically prohibits an employer from doing so.

Interesting Facts About Wage & Hour Claims

·     An employer is obligated to pay you overtime even if the overtime hours were not authorized. The employer can discipline you for working unauthorized overtime hours, but the employer must still pay overtime wages for those hours.

·     Discretionary bonuses or monies paid as gifts on holidays are generally not included for purposes of determining the employee’s regular rate of pay.  Therefore, such bonuses are not computed in the calculation of overtime wages.

·     Even if an employee is paid a salary, they are still entitled to overtime wages as long as they are not exempt (See discussion in Q & A section).

·     As long as overtime wages are paid, an employer may require an employee to work overtime hours.  The  employee may be disciplined for refusing to do so.

·          Any agreement signed by an employee to waive entitlement to overtime wages is not enforceable.  The employer is still obligated to pay overtime.

·          The burden of proving that an employee is “exempt” is on the employer.  The worker is always presumed to be entitled to overtime compensation.

Prior Wage & Hour Posts of Interest

The Law Offices of Lowell Steiger Has Expanded Its Practice 

to Represent You for Your Wage and Hour Claims

         The Law Offices of Lowell Steiger, working in association with the Law Offices of Steven Waisbren, is happy to provide you with a free consultation, including a full analysis of your entitlement to overtime wages, minimum wages, and other back pay and damages.  Give us a call, and we will set up an appointment for you to meet with one of our qualified and experienced attorneys.

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If you, or someone you know, have been a victim (or suspect you have been a victim) of Wage & Hour Abuse, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send me an e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

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October 14, 2008

Attorney General Brown Announces $62 Million Multi-State Settlement with Eli Lilly

Eli_lilly_62_million

Eli Lilly has settled once again for improperly marketing the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.  I blogged on this subject earlier this year.  See Eli Lilly Settles Claims Over Zyprexa.  Then, later in the year, drug giant Merck settled cases over deceptive television advertisements. See $58 Million Merck Settlement To Change Deceptive TV Drug Advertisements.  Are the drug companies an evil empire?  Well, maybe so, but they are not beyond the reach of those that have our best interests in mind -- i.e., Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr.  Here's the latest:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2008
Contact: Christine Gasparac: (916) 324-5500

Attorney General Brown Announces $62 Million Multi-State Settlement with Eli Lilly

SACRAMENTO—California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a record $62 million multi-state settlement with Eli Lilly and Company for improperly marketing the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for use beyond the drug’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved uses.

“Eli Lilly put profits ahead of patients when it marketed Zyprexa for a use that had not been properly tested or approved, in many cases, putting young women at risk for weight gain, hypoglycemia and even diabetes,” Attorney General Brown said.

The settlement is the largest ever multi-state consumer protection-based pharmaceutical settlement. California will receive $5.6 million, the largest share of the award.

In his original complaint, Attorney General Brown alleged that Eli Lilly engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Zyprexa for off-label uses and failed to adequately disclose the drug’s potential side effects to healthcare providers. As a result of the settlement, Eli Lilly agreed to change its marketing strategies and to cease promotion of its "off-label" uses. Off-label uses are those not approved by the FDA when it approves the sale and use of a particular drug. Physicians are allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, but federal law prohibits pharmaceutical manufacturers from marketing products for off-label uses.

Zyprexa is the brand name for the prescription drug olanzapine. In 1996, Zyprexa was first marketed for use in adults with schizophrenia and belongs to a class of drugs commonly referred to as “atypical antipsychotics,” which are traditionally used to treat schizophrenia. The FDA has approved Zyprexa for the treatment of acute mixed or manic episodes of bipolar I disorder and for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder. Zyprexa carries serious side-effects, including weight gain, hyperglycemia and diabetes.

Beginning in 2001, Eli Lilly launched an aggressive marketing campaign called “Viva Zyprexa!” As part of the campaign, the company marketed Zyprexa for off-label uses including pediatric care, high-dosage treatment, treatment of symptoms rather than diagnosed conditions and treatment of elderly patients suffering from dementia.

Stipulations in the settlement agreement require Eli Lilly to:
• Refrain from making any false, misleading or deceptive claims regarding Zyprexa.
• Require its medical staff, rather than its marketing staff, to have ultimate responsibility for developing and approving content for all medical letters and references regarding Zyprexa.
• Require its medical staff to be responsible for the identification, selection, approval and dissemination of article reprints containing more than an incidental reference to off-label information regarding Zyprexa.
• Provide specific, accurate, objective and scientifically balanced responses to unsolicited requests for off-label information from a healthcare provider regarding Zyprexa.
• Contractually require continuing medical education providers to disclose Eli Lilly’s financial support of their programs and any financial relationship with faculty and speakers.
• Provide a list of healthcare provider promotional speakers and consultants who were paid more than $100 for promotional speaking and/or consulting by Eli Lilly.
• Only provide product samples of Zyprexa to healthcare providers whose clinical practice is consistent with the product’s current labeling.

Other states included in today’s settlement agreement include: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Read the Final Judgment Here.

Related Video

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

October 10, 2008

Columbus Day 2008

Columbus So Columbus Day falls on Monday, October 13, 2008.  I blogged about Columbus Day last year and even included a Columbus Day Parade Video.  What exactly is Columbus Day?  Per the aptly named Columbus Day Site, "This day is remembered in the U.S.A to pay tribute to the 1st journey to America in 1492 by Christopher Columbus." This site has a plethora of great information, things of interest to those of us curious enough to explore!

  • Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October
  • This holiday is also celebrated in South and Central America, Italy and Spain
  • First celebrated in 1792 when the Colombian Order prepared a service in New York City to honor Christopher Columbus and his first landing in America
  • There were already people living here in America upon Columbus's arrival -- therefore he did not "discover" America BUT he did discover it from the perspective of his native Europe
  • Click here for the History of Christopher Columbus from 1451 to his death in 1506
  • Details of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage in 1492
  • Christopher Columbus had a second, third and fourth voyage as well
  • Christopher Columbus's death and subsequent events

Other Interesting Columbus Day Sites

Wines Columbus Would Drink (Forbes.com)

Columbus Day - A History (Wilstar.com)

Was Columbus Smart About Safety? (Askacop.org)

Columbus Day History, Activities and Information For Kids (Sunniebunniezz.com)

United States Embassy Stockholm - Celebrate Columbus Day! (Stockholm U.S. Embassy)

Wikipedia on Christopher Columbus

The Journal of Christopher Columbus (Historyguide.com)

Enjoy the holiday

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

October 05, 2008

Motorcycle Accidents: Overview, Graphic Videos, Graphic Photos

Motorcycle_v_car_accident Over the years I have represented many, many motorcycle riders who have, through no fault of their own, been involved in accidents with car and truck drivers that, for one reason or another, did not see my client until it was too late.  This emphasizes the fact that motorcyclists must proceed with caution, they must realize that defensive riding is one of the keys to their survival. 

Motorcycle injuries can be devastating.  I've had clients who have suffered broken bones, brain injury and permanent paralysis in motorcycle crashes.  None of these people were at fault yet their lives, and the lives of those that love them, have been unalterably changed for the worse.

In the past, I've blogged extensively about motorcycle accidents, injuries and safety.  Click here to read past posts and view related videos.

At the end of this article, I've posted a couple of graphic motorcycle accident videos as well as the link to a photo album containing graphic photos of motorcycle accidents.  I post these to heighten awareness of the perils the bikers face on the streets. 

Here are a brief list of safety precautions that motorcyclists should take:

  • Know the Law: Be familiar with local laws
  • Be Prepared: Obtain the proper insurance; be aware of adverse road conditions
  • Gear Up: Wear protective gear, helmet, eye protection, sturdy jacket, long pants, boots, gloves
  • Stand Out: Wear brightly colored clothing - make sure that other drivers are aware of you
  • Distance Yourself: Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front or behind you.  Give yourself enough reaction time to adapt to the immediate situation
  • Ride Defensively: 3/4 of all motorcycle accidents involve cars.  Know that although you see them, they may not see you
  • Ride Sober
  • Practice, practice, practice

The following excerpt is taken a comprehensive article on Findlaw.com:

Motorcycle riders are in a unique position on the road. They enjoy the freedoms that come with their chosen form of transportation, but they are also left exposed to dangers not met by automobile drivers and other motorists. The lack of any substantial protective barriers between a motorcycle and the road, as well as the difficulty that other motorists may have in anticipating and seeing a motorcycle, leave riders prone to serious injury in the event of an accident. Motorcycle riders, therefore, must be aware of their legal rights and remedies if they are involved in a traffic accident. The insurance laws in your state may be very different with respect to motorcycles versus automobiles; consequently, it is very important to consult with an attorney regarding the applicable laws in your state.

The Risks of the Road for Motorcycle Riders

The risks that motorcycle riders face, and the need to protect their rights of recovery after an accident, become readily apparent through a review of the following statistics:

  • In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle rider's right of way and caused the accident.
  • Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.
  • Per mile traveled in 1998, motorcyclists were about 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die, and about 3 times as likely to be injured, in a motor vehicle crash.

Some of the unique problems faced by motorcycle riders on the road include:

  • Visual Recognition: Motorcycles make smaller visual targets, which are more likely to be obscured by other vehicles, or by road and weather conditions. This is an issue especially at intersections, where approximately 70 percent of motorcycle-versus-vehicle collisions occur.
  • Road Hazards: Hazards that are minor irritations for an automobile can be a major hazard for a motorcycle rider. These include potholes, oil slicks, puddles, debris, or other objects on the roadway, ruts, uneven pavement, and railroad tracks.
  • Speed "Wobble" Accidents: Especially at higher speeds, the front end of a motorcycle may become unstable and begin to shake or "wobble." This problem may be due to a misalignment of the front and rear tires of the motorcycle. If an accident is caused by such a high-speed wobble, the manufacturer of the motorcycle might be held financially responsible for any resulting injuries, under a product liability theory.
  • Riding Skills; Familiarity: A motorcycle requires much more skill and physical coordination to operate than a car. Many motorcycle accidents are caused in whole or in part by a rider's lack of basic riding skills, or failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics and limitations of the motorcycle.

Click here for Photo Album with Graphic Photos of Motorcycle Accidents, Injuries, Amputations, Scars

View the above photo album and the following graphic videos with caution and think twice when getting on a motorcycle: Prepare well, bike safely and make it a pleasurable experience!

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

Lawyer Jokes and Videos: We All Can Use A Laugh About Now

Lawyer_joke_simpsonsWith the election nearing, the economy in the dumper and too much acrimony for the American heart and soul to withstand, I think that some self-deprecating lawyer jokes are in order:

A Lawyer and the Pope Arrive at the Gates of Heaven

Following a distinguished legal career, a man arrived at the Gates of Heaven, accompanied by the Pope, who had the misfortune to expire on the same day.  The Pope was greeted first by St. Peter, who escorted him to his quarters.  The room was somewhat shabby and small, similar to that found in a low grade Motel 6 type establishment. The lawyer was then taken to his room, which was a palatial suite including a private swimming pool, a garden, and a terrace overlooking the Gates.  The attorney was somewhat taken aback, and told St. Peter, "I'm really quite surprised at these rooms, seeing as how the Pope was given such small accommodations." St. Peter replied, "We have over a hundred Popes here, and we're really very bored with them.  We've never had a lawyer."

A Lawyer, A Doctor and a Clergyman -- and $30,000

                                                                                                                                                       As Mr. Smith was on his death bed he attempted to formulate a plan that would allow him to take at least some of his considerable wealth with him. He called for the three men he trusted most -his lawyer, his doctor, and his clergyman. He told them, "I'm going to give you each $30,000 in cash before I die. At my funeral, I want you to place the money in my coffin so that I can try to take it with me." All three agreed to & this and were given the money. At the funeral, each approached the coffin in turn and placed an envelope inside.  While riding in the limousine to the cemetery, the clergyman said "I have to confess something to you fellows. Brother Smith was a good churchman all his life, and I know he would have wanted me to & this. The church needed a new baptistery very badly, and I took $10,000 of the money he gave me and bought one. I only put $20,000 in the coffin.' The physician then said, Well, since we're confiding in one another, I might as well tell you that I didn't put the full $30,000 in the coffin either. Smith had a disease that could have been diagnosed sooner if I had this very new machine, but the machine cost $20,000 and I couldn't afford it then. I used $20,000 of the money to buy the machine so that I might be able to save another patient. I know that Smith would have wanted me to & that." The lawyer then said, "I'm ashamed of both of you. When I put my envelope into that coffin, it held my personal check for the full $30,000.'

Questions and Answers

Question: What do you get if you send a prostitute to law school? Answer: A f***ing know-it-all.

Question: What do you call 400 lawyers at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean? Answer: A great place to start.

Question: What's the difference between a porcupine and two lawyers in a Porsche? Answer: The porcupine has the pricks on the outside.

Question: Do you know why being a lawyer is the opposite of having sex? Answer Because it's all bad and some is worse.

Prank Calls to Lawyer's Office (Video) - Proving That Lawyers DO Have Ethics

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at (323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

John Edwards Tells a Lawyer Joke (Video)

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