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New York Employment Law & Personal Injury Blog

NYC moves to create minimum wage for ride-share drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission has proposed rules that would set a minimum hourly wage for drivers at Lyft, Uber, Via and Juno, the major ride-sharing apps in the area. Cities around the world have been struggling to deal with the challenge presented by the apps' business model.

Although the apps offer cheaper rides than taxis, they do so by avoiding many employment costs and regulations that taxis have to comply with. That leaves app-based drivers making wages so low that many qualify for food stamps and Medicaid -- and the competition is driving down wages for taxi drivers, as well.

Were you or a loved one harmed by faulty fireworks this year?

We all know that consumer fireworks are somewhat dangerous, right? Most people try to be careful when using them -- keeping them away from children, setting them off from a stable platform, and avoiding combustible materials. Still, people do get hurt.

It's a bigger problem than you might think. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least eight people died last year from mishaps with fireworks, and another 12,900 were injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room. In fact, in the month surrounding the Fourth of July, an average of 280 people are sent to the ER each day with fireworks-related injuries.

US Stats: Annually $50 billion go toward medical cost for falls

Slip-and-fall situations cost money when it results in an injury that requires medical attention.

It is important to hold public places accountable. There are injuries that happen when engaging in physical activities, contact or the wear-and-tear of an individual’s body. There are also injuries caused by hazards. Whether it is property structure or conditions such as a slippery surface with no signage marking such, these are situations where it is important to hold property owners accountable. It is serious anytime a public place exposes one to a slip-and-fall incident. One fall could lead to a severe injury.

When managers refuse to cooperate with FMLA leave requests

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for qualifying employees. Workers can take this leave to care for their own serious health condition or that of a family member, to bond with a new addition to the family, or to deal with certain exigencies arising out of a family member's active-duty military service. More unpaid leave is available to care for injured or ill military family members.

This leave is job-protected. Your employer must hold your job open until you return from FMLA leave or provide you with an equivalent job with the same pay and benefits.

Consider this W.A.T.C.H. list of dangerous summer toys

The consumer watchdog group World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H. has just released its 2018 list of potentially dangerous summer toys for kids. Some 2.5 million American children are hurt every summer, the group says, and many of those injuries are preventable.

This year, the group called special attention to swimming and wading pools after Olympian Bode Miller's young daughter Emeline drowned in a neighbor's swimming pool on June 10. The group reminds everyone that even shallow wading pools can be potentially fatal to young children.

Caution: A complete ban on moonlighting could be unenforceable

There are a number of good reasons why companies may wish to restrict their employees from working second jobs. Moonlighting can be tiring, and some employees may become less productive as a result. In particular industries, a fatigued worker can be a safety risk.

In other cases, employees may take second jobs that create a conflict of interest with the first company. An employee might go to work for a direct competitor. Or, they may take a job with a vendor or supplier and be in a position to influence contracting.

Report: 44 pct of drivers killed in crashes had drugs in system

In 2016, a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association finds, a large percentage of drivers killed in traffic accidents had some form of cannabis or opioids in their system. Specifically, of those fatally injured drivers who were tested for drugs, 43.6 percent tested positive. Of those with positive results, 38 percent tested positive for cannabis, 16 percent for opioids, and 4 for both.

The report highlights a growing problem, and a difficult one to quantify. First of all, there is a large number of drugs drivers may use each with different effects. Second, with some drugs like cannabis and certain prescription drugs, people may test positive yet not be impaired. Third, there is no nationally accepted, scientific method for testing impairment, as opposed to the substance's mere presence.

Study: Highway rest stops essential to preventing truck crashes

Semi-truck drivers often work long hours with few breaks. Although the hours and days they can work are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, research indicates that driver fatigue remains a serious problem.

With that in mind, a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the University of Kentucky set out to understand the role of truck stops, weigh stations and highway rest areas in preventing fatigue-related truck crashes.

Retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean retirement

When workers reach their 60s, coworkers and employers might expect them to retire as soon as possible. Not everyone is ready to leave their career behind at the same pace, however.

Entrepreneur paints a very different picture of what it’s like to finally reach “retirement age.” A number doesn’t dictate an employee’s health, needs or wishes. If a worker chooses to delay their retirement, there’s no reason why their boss should try to kick them out the door.

Supreme Court approves individual arbitration clauses for workers

Some 56 percent of non-union, private sector workers in the U.S. are subject to an individual arbitration clause in their employment contract. In other words, they cannot band together in a class action but must bring any employment-related claim in individual arbitration. Perhaps tens of millions of people are therefore barred from what is often the most effective method of challenging illegality in their workplaces.

The number of affected workers is about to skyrocket. In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that individual arbitration agreements are legal and enforceable.

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