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West Virginia Consumer Protection and Employment Law Blog

Is it safe to deep fry a turkey?

Many people look forward to deep-fried turkey during the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite the tastiness of this dish, the new is replete with reports of injuries incurred during the deep-frying process, some of which can be catastrophic. To ensure consumers remain protected, Popular Science offers the following advice.

Make sure the turkey is thawed

Defending the rights of minimum wage workers

Sometimes, when people hear of an employment law case, it involves employees with a sizeable salary or high-profile position. However, the rights of all workers deserve to be respected, regardless of how much they earn or the industry they are employed in. Unfortunately, some minimum wage workers' rights are violated and many may feel as if they are voiceless or they have no legal options. Moreover, some may not be aware of their legal rights and they may fail to take action against an employer who has completely disregarded their rights.

From sexual harassment to discrimination and the non-payment of wages, there are many different ways in which the rights of minimum wage employees are violated. In fact, some may not even be paid minimum wage, which is unacceptable. An employer may refuse to pay someone wages they are owed because they quit (which may have been brought on by the constant violation of their rights). Or, a minimum wage worker may be asked to work while off the clock or denied the overtime that they are owed. All of these rights violations should not be tolerated and we believe that employers who show no regard for the rights of their workers should be held answerable.

Over 200 join together in class action against medical center

Many in Charleston may believe that when it comes to filing a liability claim, a veritable race against time ensues. Once a company has discovered an issue and made its knowledge of that public (along with taking action in order to mitigate it), some might think that they no longer can be the target of a liability claim. Yet simply because a problem is known about does not mean that it will stop affecting people. Even after an issue is made public, the opportunity may exist for those who are affected to seek legal action. 

The recent case of medical center in Pennsylvania serves to illustrate this point. It was discovered that the medical center's ultrasound probes had not been properly cleaned, thus exposing those who had such probes used in prostate exams, and gynecological screenings to the potential of infection. Corrective action was taken to remedy the issue, and representatives of the facility claim that it is no longer a problem. 

Pregnancy discrimination: what are your rights?

Being pregnant is exciting, but the experience can be easily ruined by your job or employer. Pregnancy discrimination can take the joy out of this time in your life right before your eyes. Fortunately, you have certain protections from discrimination in your workplace. It may help to educate yourself about these policies so you can make sure you are being treated fairly at your job.

How am I protected?

What are the employment restrictions for 16-year-olds?

If you are the parent of a 16-year-old in Virginia, the chances are good your child is ready to find a job and enter the workforce. As your child embarks upon this next step in life, you should understand the restrictions put in place by labor laws. The government wants to ensure your child is safe in the work environment and that your child is able to still attend school and handle school responsibilities in addition to working.

To do this, the state puts restrictions on the hours a 16-year-old may work. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry explains that your child has limited work hours of 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on days when he or she attends school. For non-school days during summer break, those hours change to 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Your child can never work after curfew.

Research can help avoid purchasing a lemon

Buying a new car can be exciting. If it is a used car purchased from a West Virginia auto dealer, it may have low mileage and even the new car smell. These vehicles are typically polished and appear to be in mint condition. Despite looking like new, the new car could have a history of ongoing repairs that date back to the first time it was sold, fresh off the assembly line. Knowing what to look for before buying a vehicle can help determine if it’s a good deal or a potential problem.

Although many issues cannot be identified before the purchase, Consumer Reports recommends checking the reliability records that accompany vehicle profiles before making a purchase. These records can provide an overview of how specific models hold up over time, and the most often reported issues.

How can I avoid social media scams?

Social media platforms are a great way to stay in touch with those closest to you. However, if you’re not careful you could fall victim to a scam, some of which look very convincing at first glance. NBCNews.com offers the following advice on how you can spot common scams and frauds and the best methods for avoiding them.

Be wary of requests for money

How information about a class action suit is communicated

If the magnitude of an injury toward a specific class of people reaches a point where it is not feasible for all the members of the class to file their own lawsuits, a court will allow the attorneys, evidence, defendants and witnesses to be consolidated into a single class action suit. Once this step is achieved, FindLaw explains that Charleston attorneys are free to notify other members of the affected class that the class action has begun. These notifications are meant to tell other members of the afflicted class that they can participate in the suit.

The prospect that every class member will be reached is very low. Still, through good faith uses of media, many class members can be informed. You can usually expect to hear about a class action suit through an advertisement on television. You might also learn about class actions through newspaper or magazine advertisements. Some attorneys will also distribute printed flyers.

Your compensation benefits for wrongful termination

After working for a company for many years, the company suddenly terminates you. Though your company did not give a reason, you believe it is due to your age or ethnicity, and you know that you have the right to bring a claim against the organization in court.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) works diligently to protect potential and current employees from any type of discrimination related to their classes, and it offers the authority to provide compensation to those that experience harassment or unequal treatment. As the EEOC recognizes classes as part of an individual’s identity, citing these protected classes as a reason for not hiring an individual or terminating a current worker proves extremely illegal. Most companies understand that wrongful termination occurs when a worker faces termination due to any of their identified classes, so the organization may avoid giving reasons or cite minuscule transgressions committed.

Work-related injuries and disability discrimination

People are injured in the workplace in many ways, from mishaps that occur on construction sites (electrocution, injuries involving dangerous machinery, falling off of a ladder and so on) to those which occur in an office setting or on the road. Unfortunately, workplace injuries can make life incredibly tough for victims and those they love. Not only can these injuries lead to physical pain, hospital bills, financial problems from taking time away from work, career changes and emotional issues, they can also shatter a worker’s life in other ways. For example, someone may face discrimination due to a work-related injury.

Disability discrimination is a serious problem that has made daily life incredibly difficult for workers throughout the country. It takes a number of forms and may consist of the wrongful termination of an employee due to their disability (even though they are fully qualified and capable of working), failing to properly accommodate an injured employee’s needs, relentlessly harassing a disabled worker and creating a hostile work environment and refusing to promote someone solely because of their disability.

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