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Nutley Law Blog

The sexual harassment of flight attendants

Most people probably think that the rampant sexualization of airline workers went out around the time "flight attendant" replaced the term "stewardess."

Unfortunately, flight attendants are frequently targeted for sexual harassment even today. In fact, 68 percent of flight attendants say that they have experienced sexual harassment from passengers several times in their careers.

Why do doctors keep missing heart attacks in women?

Women are at a significant risk of death from heart disease, yet doctors often mistake the symptoms of heart attacks in women for other conditions.

Why? Since heart disease is what kills one out of every four women, how can doctors keep overlooking such a common condition?

New Jersey employers not required to allow medical marijuana

If you use medical marijuana in New Jersey, there's some distressing news you should hear. Despite its legalization under state law, your use of medical marijuana isn't afforded any protections under the state's anti-discrimination laws.

A recent case in federal court addressed the issue. A New Jersey forklift operator alleged that he was using medical marijuana to control pain from an old injury. He was honest about his use of the drug with his employer when he was initially hired on by the company, and he worked six years without an incident -- or any apparent problem on the company's part.

How do you protect yourself if you're about to be fired?

Most people have some idea that they're about to be fired before it actually happens. If you feel like you're about to receive your pink slip any day now, is there anything you can do?

The bad news is that there's probably nothing you can do to prevent yourself from being fired. The good news is that there are steps you can take to put yourself in the best possible position for recovery -- especially if you think that your termination is unfair or unlawful.

Sexual harassment and the restaurant industry

If you work in the restaurant industry, it probably doesn't surprise you to learn that incidents of sexual harassment are commonplace. Little seems to be changing despite all the focus in recent years on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why is sexual harassment among restaurant employees so common? There are a number of reasons that may contribute to this:

  • There is a pro-customer mentality that tends to overlook bad behavior for the sake of business.
  • Many of the employees are low-paid workers who rely on tips, which encourages them to be compliant, despite abuses.
  • Many servers are also young, which makes them more likely to be unsure how to respond to incidents of harassment and less assertive.
  • In establishments that serve alcohol, some customers use that as an excuse to act in abusive ways.
  • Managers, chefs and owners have a tremendous amount of control over the day-to-day operations, which can be intimidating and cause employees to fear retaliation if they speak up.
  • There's a gender imbalance in many restaurants, with males making up much of management and females making up much of the staff -- which also creates a power imbalance divided by gender.

Unsure if you face discrimination at work? Ask these questions

How do you know if you're the victim of racial discrimination at work? An openly racist boss or group of co-workers may make the issue obvious -- but those are rarer than the bosses and co-workers who act in subtler ways.

For many, the fact that they're already uncomfortable at work can be compounded by comments like, "You're too sensitive," and "You can't take a joke." Comments like that make it sound like you -- the victim -- are somehow at fault for the racial tension in the office.

Concussions on amusement park rides are common

Concussions can be quite dangerous, partially because the damage to the brain can go undetected quite a while. The victim may be unaware he or she is even hurt — which often leads to multiple injuries over a brief period of time.

That's why it's particularly concerning to discover that high-speed amusement park rides may be putting a lot of people — including kids — at risk of concussions. Even worse, a lot of parks aren't reporting the injuries that their patrons experience, even though they're required to under the law.

Signs you need to challenge the executor of an estate

Even people who have carefully designed estate plans can have their estates wind up in probate court. Sometimes, family members or other heirs bring a challenge against the will itself. Other times, people challenge the person in charge of handling an estate. You may not think of yourself as a contentious person, but sometimes bringing a challenge is the right thing to do.

Improper estate management or a violation of the fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries are serious concerns. There are certain duties and responsibilities that an executor or trustee should fulfill. This role is an important one that impacts the legacy of the deceased and the futures of their heirs. If the person in this critical position fails to do the right thing, you may need to consider challenging him or her. Watch for warning signs of improper execution of the last will.

Prepare for the realities of being a whistleblower

The law tries to encourage ordinary citizens to take a stand against waste, fraud and misconduct in business through monetary incentives for whistleblowers -- and the laws that protect them from retaliation are stronger than they have ever been in the past.

Yet, many whistleblowers aren't prepared for the realities of life after they expose corruption. Whistleblowing is a heroic act -- but the men and women who do it can better protect themselves from negative repercussions with some advance planning before they do it. Here are some important things to remember:

How do you tell a sexual harasser to stop?

You can't prove a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace if the harasser doesn't know that his or her behavior is unwanted.

You might assume that this would be obvious. Nobody wants to hear catcalls at work from a boss or another employee, right? Unfortunately, there are people out there who don't understand why that kind of behavior is unacceptable, so it's important to make your feelings clear. That's the best way to protect yourself if the issue ends up in litigation later.

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