Common Management Mistakes Resulting into Unpaid Overtime

Unpaid overtime is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you in the workplace. It is basically a waste of time and effort because you are not getting anything in return. It can also be argued to be an immoral act on the side of your employer.

But it is important to point out that unpaid overtime can also be a result of legitimate mistakes. It is not like your employer is intentionally maximizing productivity and minimizing operation costs. Sometimes, the unpaid overtime is just the result of management errors.

Misclassifying employees

According to the website of the Leichter Law Firm, those who are eligible for overtime pay and have not been compensated by their employers may have legal options. But the key word there is eligible, because not all employees are eligible for overtime pay.

Usually, the executive and administrative employees are exempted from overtime pay, so there are instances where employees are wrongly classified as such and not paid their deserved overtime pay.

Miscalculating hours worked

Those who work more than 40 hours a week, and are not in executive and administrative positions, can receive up to one and one-half of their rate as overtime pay. But sometimes the management may have errors in calculating the hours employees have worked on, and this usually occurs by not including work that has been done while off the clock. Off the clock work often manifests in the following forms:

  • Employees going to work too early
  • Employees staying at work too late
  • Employees working during unpaid breaks, such as lunch periods
  • Employees working at home

Miscalculating wages

There are instances where the one and one-half rate of the employees is not calculated properly, resulting into overtime work that is basically unpaid. But this rate is not the only variable that is prone to being miscalculated, because other variables such as commissions, shift differentials, and even performance-based rewards are not properly factored in the calculation of hourly rates.

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Pressure Claimants until They Accept “Smaller Walk-away Settlements”: The UnFair Practice of Many Insurnce Firms

A day or two after a natural calamity, such as a hurricane, independent adjusters are often seen eagerly assessing the extent of damages to properties. Many of these adjusters are new to the job or untrained and already content in making their evaluation of the damages from where they stand on the ground. Thus, it is not surprising that the estimations they come up with are often incorrect, resulting to low amount of financial benefit that an affected family’s property insurance provider will have to pay.

The adjusters and the small amount of benefit, however, are actually strategies employed by many insurance firms to save themselves from releasing big cash. Other insurance providers would even deny claims outrightly, using technical error as the reason of denial of the claims. The fact is, this so-called technical error is nothing more than a skipped box or a missed signature.

To policy holders, whose claims have been denied or whose benefits are either delayed or way below the amount stipulated in their policies, these situations are both frustrating and infuriating.

Insurance providers owe policy holders genuine commitment or the duty of good faith and fair dealing, especially in paying claims. Under the common law this duty is spoken of as the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” which ought to be contained in every insurance contract. However, many providers transact business with dishonesty or fraud at the back of their minds. They enter into an agreement with policy holders with no real intent of living up to the terms of the policy they sell, while others intentionally twist the meaning of what is contained in a policy sold. This fraudulent act is what legal experts call “bad faith,” and there are different tactics employed by insurance firms to commit tthis act in ways hard to detect, like: failure to investigate a claim promptly and thoroughly, unreasonable denial of claim benefits or delay in the payment of claims, and so forth.

Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, calls this tactics employed by insurance firms as the three “Ds”: delay, deny and defend. Delay the handling of a claim; deny that a claimant is hurt or that damages are only minor; and, defend their decision even in lengthy court battles.

Often, even very small offers are accepted by some people. Pressure claimants until they accept “smaller walk-away settlements” – this guiding slogan is contained in many Insurance firms’ training manuals and, sadly, many policy holders are victimized by it. Due to this unfair practice, many policy holders walk away from billions of dollars that insurers now keep for themselves.

“In Texas,” according to the Smith Kendall, PLLC, law firm, “when an insurance company denies or delays payment of a policyholder’s home or commercial property insurance claim when it knew, or should have known, its liability on the claim was reasonably clear, the carrier may have acted in bad faith. The State of Texas—and many other states—recognize that a special relationship exists between an insurance company and its customers, which gives rise to a duty of good faith and fair dealing. In some states, a policyholder may have both common law (i.e., law created by cases) and statutory (i.e., law from statutes or regulations) bad faith claims.

An experienced and aggressive attorney may be able to help you navigate this challenging area of the law and make sure that the insurance company is held responsible for its bad-faith actions.”

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Fines & Penalties For A First Time DUI Offender In South Carolina

Over the years, South Carolina has been exerting effort to reduce the rate of DUI offenses in the state. For the last ten years, the fatality rate from alcohol-related accident has dropped by 40%. The website of Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law reveals that DUI charges can have a huge impact on the life of the offender. DUI is associated with a wide range of fines and penalties. There are many aggravating factors that can affect the penalties.

Administrative Penalties

In South Caroina, a first time DUI offense carries a mandatory administrative license suspension of 6 months, unless contested in an
administrative hearing.

First time offenders who refuse to be subjected to implied consent laws carry a comparable mandatory license suspension of six months.
For the license to be reinstated, the plaintiff must successfully complete an alcohol/substance abuse assessment and counseling in limited circumstances. First time conviction may also entail a required installation of ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of driving privileges.

Criminal Penalties

Penalties for first time offenses are applied based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the offender. If the BAC of the offender is 0.08% to 0.10%, the offender may be subjected to mandatory incarceration of two days to a maximum of 30 days. If the BAC level is more than .10% to less than .16%, the offender may be subjected to imprisonment of at least 3 days to a maximum of 30 days but no more than 90 days.

In all cases, the offender can avoid being imprisoned by taking part in public service employment for first time offenders.

Fines for first time DUI offenders will range from $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the BAC. The fines does not include costs that will be incurred while completing the terms of sentence, process of license reinstatement, and additional fees and surcharges that will be assessed.

First offense DUI in the state will also have an impact on subsequent arrests and convictions for DUI for a period of 10 years.

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Some Construction Site Accidents are Results of Employers’ Failure to Uphold Safety Standards in the Workplace

Being struck by falling tools or debris is one of the dangers inside and around construction sites. Exposed to this danger includes the construction workers themselves, visitors to the site and pedestrians who are only passing by. Some of the worst results of getting struck by falling objects are traumatic brain injury, paralysis and death.

The most common objects which fall from high construction areas are handheld tools, loose building materials, improperly secured loads from cranes or mechanical lifts, and movable concrete. In 2012 alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) received reports of 78 deaths involving construction workers, who were said to have been struck by falling objects or debris while at work.

To avoid accidents from occurring, OSHA has made it the legal responsibility of construction companies and employers to make sure that construction sites are kept safe. Majority of construction site accidents, according to OSHA, are due to failure to maintain safety in and around construction areas – failure which is equivalent to acts of negligence by construction companies, site owners, workers and/or subcontractors. These acts include:

  1. Failure to display signs which will warn people about work going on overhead;
  2. Failure to place barricades that will limit access to or near construction sites;
  3. Failure to properly secure handheld tools or work materials to keep these from falling from high working places;
  4. Failure to wear proper protective gear, including hard hat, face shield, and safety googles;
  5. Failure to make regular inspection of tools and equipment before these are used;
  6. Failure to train of employees about safety measures and on the proper use of construction equipment;
  7. Failure of employers to provide workers with the necessary safety gears;
  8. Failure to put in place safety devices, like debris nets, shore and brace structures, catch platforms, tool guards, and toe boards; and,
  9. Failure to make sure that loads, which are being lifted, are properly secured.

One article posted in the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, points out that employers are responsible in making sure that workplaces, especially work environments characterized by dangerous situations, like construction work, are always kept safe. There are guidelines for nearly every construction procedure, and if ever employers fail to uphold the standards they are held to, then they can be held financially liable for injuries resulting from any accident.

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75% – 80% of all Truck Accident Blamable on Drivers of Passenger Vehicles

It is estimated that, every year, close to 70% of all goods in the US, including finished products and raw materials, are transported by semi-trucks from manufacturing plants to distribution centers. This flow of business, which adds about $671 billion to the US economy, clearly shows the major role played by semi-trucks in keeping the nation’s economy alive and active.

Semi-trucks, also called tractor-trailers, big rigs, or 18-wheelers, make up 2 million of the more than 15 million trucks operating in the US. Due to their very large size and heavy weight, though, these are considered threats on the road considering the damage these can cause in case of accidents. For this reason, the federal government sees it necessary to require those who wish to drive one should have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which can be earned but only after going through a special training and education, and a series of tests that deal with the proper operation and handling of this types of vehicle.

After earning a CDL, a licensed driver and his or her employer are expected to comply with federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation, such as regular maintenance checks on trucks used, use of standard parts, especially the tires and brakes, observance of the hours of service, which is the allowed maximum number or driving hours allowed of drivers, and other laws that will help ensure avoidance of road crashes. All these mandates, as well as the special training and tests, are aimed at ensuring the overall safety of interstate commercial driving.

Though unavoidable, drivers of passenger vehicles still hope to be spared from sharing roads and highways with semi-trucks, much more, hope that they would be spared from getting involved in a truck accident, which number up to 500,000 every year, causing injury to more than 100,000 individuals and killing, at least, 4,000 others.

Different studies have shown that 75% – 80% of all truck accidents can actually be blamed on drivers of passenger vehicles. Of those where truck drivers are at fault, though, the FMCSA names the following as the causes: driver fatigue; driving too fast for road conditions; impairment due to prescription or over-the-counter-drugs; not being familiar with the road or the truck; inattention and driving distractions; improper way of attaching the trailer; failure of the driver to double-check blind spots; failure to ensure that the brakes are in good working condition; and, depowering of the front brakes, which is commonly done by truck operators to lessen wear and tear of tires and breaks for lesser operating costs.

On its website, the law firm Ausband & Dumont acknowledges the significant role that the trucking industry plays in this nation’s transportation and distribution needs, however, it comes with a high price – the high risk of serious, even fatal, injuries due to the strong force caused by a truck during impact. If the truck driver is the one at fault in the accident, then victims have the right to seek compensation to help them face the financial blows resulting from the accident.

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