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New York Employment Law & Personal Injury Blog

Study: Drowsy driving may cause far more crashes than thought

Federal estimates have indicated that drowsiness plays a role in about 1 to 2 percent of traffic crashes. Now, however, a naturalistic study of over 700 wrecks has shown drowsiness to be a much more important factor. It appears to be responsible for between 9.5 and 10.8 percent of crashes.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's research involved placing in-vehicle dashcams in the cars of ordinary drivers. When those drivers crashed, researchers analyzed the dashcam video for evidence that the drivers' eyes had been closed in the three minutes just before the wreck. The amount of time a driver's eyes are closed has been shown to align with their level of drowsiness.

Which type of employment discrimination complaint is most common?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced its results from Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on Sept. 30 of last year. It received 84,254 charges of discrimination last year and resolved 99,109 -- reducing its overall workload by 16.2 percent. It also handled over 540,000 inquiries on its toll-free number and another 155,000 at its field offices.

Of all the charges lodged by workers, claims of unlawful retaliation were most common, followed by complaints about race and disability discrimination. Here is a ranked list of the most common types of complaints. Keep in mind that since some charges contained more than one type of complaint, the total adds up to more than 100 percent:

Was your work injury actually caused by a labor law violation?

A work-related injury, no matter how serious, can affect your life. You could be left with medical bills or even the inability to continue working due to an accident on the job. Although your first thought might be to file a worker’s compensation claim, some injuries might not be mere accidents.

Instead, they could be the direct result of a New York labor law violation. Employers must follow basic legal requirements to protect the safety and health of their workers. Failure to obey regulations can pose a hazard to employees. This post will help you figure out what kind of claim you might have.

Tesla driver using 'autopilot' system crashes into fire truck

Tesla Inc. should perhaps consider a different name for its Autopilot driver-assist system, since many people associate the term "autopilot" with a system that completely takes over for human beings.

In a statement after a recent car crash, Tesla stressed that its Autopilot system is "intended for use only with a fully attentive driver" with their hands on the steering wheel, ready to take over if something unexpected happens. Tesla calls the Autopilot an "advanced driver assistance system" that does not turn the car into an autonomous vehicle.

In other words, it may have some fancy collision detection and avoidance components, but it should be used just like cruise control. 

Supreme Court may decide how much leave is required by the ADA

When an employee has a disability that requires leave from work, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires their employer to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave and hold the employee's job open for their return. More leave may be required by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but the federal circuit courts of appeal have come to different conclusions. Now, a plaintiff has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether the ADA mandates additional leave.

Employees can get FMLA leave for a variety of reasons besides their own disability. The leave can be claimed for personal health needs, to care for a sick family member, or to welcome a new baby into the family. The ADA, on the other hand, only applies to care for one's own disability. It doesn't require a specific number of weeks of leave but instead requires employers to accommodate reasonable disability-related requests.

DOT: What are the unnecessary roadblocks to autonomous trucks?

The U.S. Department of Transportation is about to issue four requests for public comment about self-driving commercial vehicles. The agency and its sub-agencies would like to know if any unnecessary regulatory roadblocks exist that may be slowing the development of autonomous trucks and buses.

"Right now there are too many outdated transportation rules, terms and concepts that no longer apply to an automated world," said Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) recently. Public comment is needed to "help the government identify which regulations, parts of regulations or terminology need to be updated to allow for innovation to move forward," she said.

New York State Paid Family Leave benefits started January 1st

One of the biggest changes of the New Year for New Yorkers is the start of the New York State Paid Family Leave (NYPFL). Under the new leave law, eligible private sector employees can take up to eight weeks of paid family leave. The program phases in over the next four years. Other states offering paid family leave are California, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

A new era for paid family leave for New Yorkers

Starting this week, paid family leave in New York follows a new set of rules, considered by many to be a boon for both employers hoping to retain and support employees, and employees needing time and support when a new family member is born, or when serious medical problems arise.

Employees will have the security of knowing their job will still be there when they return to work. They will enjoy regular health benefits while they are away. Employers will not be allowed to discriminate or retaliate against employees seeking leave benefits.

2 more prominent reporters are accused of sexual harassment

A Fox News correspondent and a Washington Post reporter are the latest to suffer negative job actions due to apparent sexual harassment complaints. Fox's James Rosen reportedly left Fox News after the network began looking into sexual misconduct allegations against him. Joel Achenbach of the Post has been given a 90-day suspension after unspecified misconduct said to involve female colleagues.

The New York Times detailed the allegations, some of which were first reported by NPR. According to NPR sources, Rosen "had an established pattern of flirting aggressively with many peers and had made sexual advances toward three female Fox News journalists, including two reporters and a producer."

New York government cracks down on sexual harassment

Following the national conversation and steps in the federal government, New York is starting 2018 with a crackdown on sexual harassment.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans on January 2 to propose legislation that would block government officials from using taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, ban confidentiality agreements related to cases of sexual harassment in state and local government, and standardize anti-harassment policies across agencies.

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