Category: Protecting

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Forced Arbitration Silences Victims of Sexual Harassment

Forced Arbitration Silences Victims of Sexual Harassment

In recent months, the #metoo movement has brought media attention to a staggering amount of sexual harassment and abuse of power across many of America’s largest industries. Politicas, entertainment, technology and many other sectors have been plagued by allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace and coercive sexual advances. These media reports have raised a devastating question: how could so much abuse go unreported for so long?

This is, of course, a complicated question with many possible answers. One of the recurring themes of these reports is the agreements which were used to keep women silent about the abuse they had suffered. In some cases, they were as devious as a blatant agreement to keep silent in exchange for “hush money”. In other cases, they were completely enforceable legal contracts which used the legal process to bully victims into silence. This has often been achieved by the use of an arbitration agreement.

What is an Arbitration Agreement?

An arbitration agreement occurs when two parties agree to submit their disputes to arbitration before they file a lawsuit. Many consumers enter such agreements when obtaining a credit card or cell phone service.  In the employment context, many employers require their workers to sign such agreements as a condition of employment. Such agreements will generally require the employee to submit any employment-related legal claims (including sexual harassment) to arbitration before a lawsuit can be filed. In many cases, arbitration must remain confidential, and the employee is not permitted to disclose information about the process.

Unfortunately, many employers have been able to use arbitration clauses to prevent employees from revealing abuse to the press, or otherwise making harassment public in an effort to stop it. An arbitration agreement cannot stop a victim from reporting a crime to law enforcement officials. It can, however, prevent exactly the type of media coverage which has made the #metoo movement so effective.

Hope for the Future

Despite the horrific stories being covered in the media, the recent reports of widespread sexual harassment have also brought the promise of change to the American workplace. The New York Times reports that Microsoft has eliminated forced arbitration of its employees’ sexual harassment claims. The technology giant is also supporting proposed federal legislation that would ban such agreements in employment relationships. This legislation is yet another hopeful sign of things to come, as it has bipartisan support in the Senate.

Change will not, of course, come quickly. But by enacting small changes, and holding each employer responsible for inappropriate conduct in the workplace, the American workforce can slowly become a safer place for everyone.

Aggressive Pursuit of Your Sexual Harassment Claim

The Fite Law Group believes in protecting victims of all sorts of personal injuries. Sexual harassment can be among the most demeaning and emotionally damaging type of injury a person can sustain. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you need an aggressive attorney with the experience to effectively pursue all legal options. Call (602) 368-1869, or send an email to info@fitelaw.com, to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney.

Looking for more?  Consider reading Changes to the Rules of Lawsuits

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How the Civil Justice System Made America Safer in 2017

How the Civil Justice System Made America Safer in 2017

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are injured in accidents across the United States. Auto accidents, workplace accidents, household accidents, medical malpractice, and many other types of negligences cause devastating financial losses to many families. It is important for injury victims to enforce their legal right to be compensated for financial losses caused by other person or company’s negligence. Not only is this a right protected by state and federal law, but such claims and lawsuits also hold defendants accountable for conduct which places other people at risk of injury and harm. In this way, the civil justice system makes daily life safer for drivers, workers, and patients across the country.

 

Important Cases of 2017

The major civil lawsuits of 2017 demonstrate the wide variety of public health and safety issues which are addressed by the civil justice system on a daily basis. In Albuquerque, a federal judge allowed claims to go forward against a tobacco manufacturer which advertised its products as “natural”. CNBC reports that the lawsuits came after a 2015 finding by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the company had misled consumers about the risks associated with its products. In an agreement with the FDA, the company has since stopped labeling its products as “additive free”, and restricted the use of the “natural” label in its marketing products. These actions undoubtedly contributed to consumers’ feelings of injustice over being misled about the tobacco products.

 

CNBC also reports on important legal actions against General Motors as a result of defective airbags. GM has reportedly paid $2.6 billion in penalties and settlements as a result of defective ignition switches, which cause engines to stall and prevent airbags from deploying. This total includes a $900 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in order to settle criminal charges resulting from the defect. As of November 30, 2017, there were still 1,723 unresolved personal injury claims resulting from the defective ignition switches. GM is now in private litigation to resolve these cases.

 

The opioid crisis was also a major public health problem in 2017. Many different legal tactics have been used to address the problem, and now the civil justice system is being used, as well. According to The Atlantic, the Attorney General of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against several large pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit accused the companies of spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns which trivialize the risks of opioids and overstate their benefits for chronic pain. This and similar lawsuits result from new and emerging evidence of the role big pharmaceutical companies may have played in creating the opioid crisis. In addition to heavy – and potentially dangerous – marketing efforts, pharmaceutical companies spend significant amounts of money to lobby both doctors and politicians to make their drugs more available to the public.

 

These are just three of the hundreds of example of important social issues which are addressed by the civil justice system in the United States. Public safety is very much affected by the actions of both large companies and individuals alike. When that conduct is dangerous, it places all members of the public in danger.

 

2017 has also been an unprecedented year in how civil lawsuits are handled. Some of the most significant changes were an attempt to make the process quicker and more efficient to account for all the new technology available to lawyers today.  Read further here.

 

The Importance of a Good Attorney

With the advice of an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney, injury victims can enforce their legal rights, hold negligent individuals and companies responsible for dangerous conduct, and help make America safer for everyone. Schedule your free consultation with the Fite Law Group by calling (602) 368-1869, or sending an email to info@fitelaw.com. We fight hard to protect injury victims’ legal rights and prevent defendants from harming other innocent victims with their dangerous conduct.

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How Safe is Your Home? Take the Homeowners’ Safety Check

With so much media attention on drunk driving and other controversial accidents, it can be easy to forget that many dangers are right in your own home. According to WebMD, household accidents kill twenty thousand Americans every year. Another seven million people are injured in household accidents and require twenty million hospital trips annually. Many homeowners fail to realize the scope of the safety problem, simply because commonplace household accidents receive little – if any – media coverage. Nonetheless, these common accidents devastate thousands of American families every year. Continue reading “How Safe is Your Home? Take the Homeowners’ Safety Check”

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Keeping Teen Drivers Safe as they Head Back to School

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of six teenagers died every day in 2015 from motor vehicle injuries. And AAA reports that new teen drivers aged sixteen to seventeen are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than adults. Back to school season can be a particularly dangerous time for high school students, as high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers increase the frequency of traffic accidents in and around school zones. Continue reading “Keeping Teen Drivers Safe as they Head Back to School”

Be Safe on Your Motorcycle Trip!

Summer is the season of road trips. For motorcyclists, good weather means good opportunities to ride – especially outside of the Arizona heat! But increased traffic also increases your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who understands the unique needs of riders. Continue reading “Be Safe on Your Motorcycle Trip!”