Are You Planning for Your Future?
Web marketing—when was the last time you thought about it? Today, due to the coronavirus (COVID 19), many of us sit in our homes, isolated from work colleagues, friends and in some cases even family members. Consequently, we have more time to think, and how we spend that time thinking can influence our future.
Even though we’re hunkering down, waiting for COVID 19 to eventually blow over, it doesn’t mean that our down time has to be unproductive. Where would you like your business to be a year from now? Two years from now? Or five years from now? When you’re caught up in the daily minutiae of managing your business, you often feel too busy to plan ahead or even think about marketing.
As physical locations are shutting down, do you know what’s busier than ever? The Internet. Mobile devices were already integral to how many people live. Texting, checking emails, visiting websites or Facebook, tweeting or whatever digital way people connect has become a way of life. The web hasn’t shut down. In fact, if anything, it’s more in use than ever because people have more time on their hands.
Take advantage of the present to create some goals, to plan web marketing and see yourself flourishing.
But…oh…you think, as the world slows down, how can you even think about web marketing? The truth is: how can you afford not to?
The Science of Mental Contagion
Here’s something important to understand, and how you decide to use this information can affect your future.
Jamil Zaki, an associate Stanford University psychology professor wrote an interesting article, called “Kindness Contagion.” He and his colleagues conducted a study to see whether kindness was “contagious.” In other words, if people see other people being kind, is it catchy? When people who were part of their group saw other people being empathetic, did they also want to be empathetic? The study showed they did. In fact, the article said, “Witnessing kindness causes it to spread like a virus.” (more…)
ABQ attorneys offer these tips for dealing with Covid-19 liability issues:
By Collin Krabbe – Technology reporter , Albuquerque Business First, May 18, 2020,
A few months ago, if you had asked Albuquerque business attorney Larry Donahue if an illness such as the flu would open your company to legal liabilities, he would have offered a short response. Read More
While many business owners may be eager to get employees back to work, not taking the right precautions could be costly, especially if people start becoming infected. In the event of a wrongful death suit, damages “can easily be in the millions,” said Albuquerque employment attorney Deena Buchanan, managing partner at Buchanan Law Firm.
Here are the top tips from three Albuquerque attorneys on mitigating the risk of being sued by an employee or customer after reopening:
1) “Consider the state guidelines as the floor, not the ceiling,” to protect yourself from someone who says they caught coronavirus at your business.
- In addition to the state’s measures, businesses that reopen during the pandemic should work to find solutions specific to their operation that may further stop the spread of coronavirus, said Buchanan.
- “The question is whether you are taking reasonable precautions,” she said. “You also have to think about how your individual business works.”
- Businesses where people are in close contact — such as salons and gyms — may be able to reduce liability by using virtual payment tools and closing off sections of an indoor space, Buchanan said.
2) Read — and understand — Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
- The federal FFCRA requires some employers to provide employees with paid sick or expanded family and medical leave for certain reasons related to the coronavirus.
- If an employee is quarantined or experiencing symptoms and seeking a diagnosis, employers must provide two weeks of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- If an employee needs to care for an individual being quarantined, or child whose school or care provider is unavailable because of reasons related to the coronavirus, employers must provide two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay, according to the FFCRA. Those caring for a child are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave.
- The law applies to “certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees,” according to the DOL.
3) Keep an “incident log,” which will strengthen your case in the courtroom.
- Being able to provide a log of every coronavirus-related incident — like that time you asked an employee or customer to leave because they seemed ill — will bode well for your business in court, Donahue said.
- “Usually when there is a lawsuit, the facts are often disputed,” said Donahue. A log “allows the business to prove when [an incident] actually happened, what was actually said and what was really done.”
4) Make sure any incidents are reported to the right authorities, and be conscious of employee privacy.
- Employers will want to make sure they report all incidents of Covid-19 exposure to the correct authorities, said Albuquerque employment lawyer and University of New Mexico lecturer Amelia Nelson.
- Certain entities can disclose health information without an individual’s permission if doing so is necessary to protect the public health, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Nelson expects the laws regarding the disclosure of health information to change as the economy reopens, and said companies should consult with a legal professional before taking action.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Dealing with Psychological Injuries
By now, we all know that many NY workers will ultimately end up contracting Covid-19 at some point throughout the next year. However, not everyone understands Psychological injuries that people may struggle with or develop as a result of Covid-19.
Psychological claims are not new injuries to the workplace. The Workers’ Compensation Law already recognizes work related psychological injuries. For example, there are many people who develop PTSD as a result of work related incidents such as an assault or attack while working. Similarly, it is common for workers who are injured through a work accident to develop anxiety or depression relating to the original work incident.
As it stands now, even those who have the ability to carry on with a somewhat normal life while working from home, are undoubtedly on edge. We are dealing with a global pandemic that affects everyone either directly or indirectly. How about those workers who are required to continue to work outside of the comfort of their homes? Specifically, essential workers like the nurses, doctors, grocery workers, firemen, IT specialists, and everyone else who needs to be out in the public or risk losing their job. How many of those workers will develop PTSD, anxiety disorders, or any other psychological injuries even without contracting Covid-19, but just because they must continue to do their jobs, or continue to be exposed to the virus at a greater risk?
There are many doctors offices that are already accepting new patients who are struggling with psychological injuries. We know full well, that it is difficult for many people to reach out for help when they may be suffering from a psychological injury. At Pyrros and Serres, we are well equipped to help you find the psychological services who can help. We are also well equipped to fight for your Workers’ Compensation benefits for psychological injuries related to Covid-19 even if you haven’t been diagnosed with Covid-19. As always, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation at 718-626-7730.
Pyrros and Serres – Hard working lawyers, for hard working people.
Frequently Asked Questions About New York Scaffold Law
The NY Scaffold Law, also known as Labor Law 240/241 provides protection for construction workers and pedestrians against falling debris, falls from heights and other gravity related injuries at unsafe construction sites. This law is unique to New York and people often have questions about it.
Why are owners and contractors held liable for accidents?
Legislators and courts have decided that property owners and contractors are in the best position to text control a construction site and its safety. New York’s Court of Appeals has stated that, “The objective was—and still is—to force owners and contractors to provide a safe workplace…”
Workers rely on contractors and owners to provide safety equipment and to oversee the work. In that sense, they are dependent on them to make the workplace safe. A construction accident scene is different from a car accident scene, where both drivers have complete control of their cars. Contributory negligence makes sense in that situation. However, in the workplace, control is on the side of the owner and contractor, and the construction worker is dependent upon the contractor to provide safety devices and instruction.
Is the owner or contractor always liable for an accident under the Scaffold Law?
Not always. The owner or contractor would have to violate safety standards to be liable for damages resulting from an accident. The worker must prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Also, if the party provided the worker with adequate protection and the worker’s negligence caused the accident, there would not be a viable claim against the party. An example would be if the worker were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the claim would fail. In addition, if the contractors or owners provided the worker with proper safety equipment and instruction, but the worker ignored instructions or did not use the equipment, the court would not rule in favor of the worker.
Can an undocumented worker receive compensation under the Scaffold Law?
Yes, in 2006, the highest court in New York ruled that injured undocumented workers could recover lost wages under the Scaffold Law. However, there is one condition. They will not be to be able to do so if they have given false work papers to their employer.
(Reference: Center for Justice Democracy)
Contact an experienced accident attorney if you have questions about the Scaffold Law.
Non – Exempt and Working 24/7 at Home, on your time, Are you Getting Paid?
New Mexico Attorney Deena Buchanan
Consider this scenario. Susie, an administrative assistant to a corporate V.P., is extremely helpful and hard-working. She eagerly responds to emails and texts from her boss from her smartphone while he is traveling for work, often in other timezones. Given his heavy travel schedule, these emails and texts may arrive at all hours and while he doesn’t always ask for her immediate responses, she does so as a matter of pride. This may include sending reports, fixing his travel snafus and sending updated itineraries, and helping him find information he needs for a meeting the next morning. In this situation, Susie should be getting paid for all of this work, and is probably entitled to not just her regular hourly rate, but overtime pay. Read More
The Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws require that employers pay non-exempt employees for all hours they “suffer or permit” employees to work. Employers typically must also pay overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s base pay rate for hours worked over forty in a single workweek. Read More
There are many things an employer can do to avoid costly consequences. The employer can forbid off the clock work and not permit employees to install their company email accounts on their personal devices. If an employee breaks this rule, and works after hours, the employee can be disciplined but must be paid. The employer can also warn managers about sending after-hours texts and emails, and make sure that they ask the employee to record their time spent on these matters. If the employer wishes to permit this type of work, it can offer timekeeping apps to employees so they can record and report their time spent on work outside the office. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it highlights the fact that employers need to consider this issue, have procedures and policies in place, and take action to make sure they are complying with the law.
Contact the New Mexico Buchanan Law Firm, 505-900-3559, if you have questions about complying with wage and hour requirements, or if you are an employee who hasn’t been paid for off the clock work.