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Huntington Legal Issues Blog

Bad faith insurance suits could help get your claim covered

Insurance is essential to protecting your person, property, health and more, and is truly a necessity for modern life. But what happens when insurance companies fail to hold up their end of the bargain? Many people in West Virginia feel alone and lost when their insurance providers wrongly deny their claims. Bad faith insurance claims are one of the best avenues for seeking just compensation.

Insurance companies have a legal obligation to assess the value of and cover losses related to their policies. Few people would be surprised to learn that policy holders and insurance companies often have stark disagreements regarding what policies actually cover. Many insurance providers actively fight against covering certain losses or attempt to payout the lowest compensation possible.

Former pre-school teacher accuses Google of gender discrimination

Early childhood educators in West Virginia help shape the minds of young children, giving them the strongest possible foundation for future learning experiences. While teaching is not exactly known for being a well-paid profession, former female Google employees claim that the tech giant paid them less than their male counterparts. One teacher recently joined a discrimination suit against the company, which is hardly the first claim of gender discrimination it has faced.

Google's in-house child care center provides essential care and pre-school learning for its employees' children. At one such location, Google employed nearly 150 women as pre-school teachers. Only three men worked at that particular child care center, and one woman claims that the men were better compensated despite being less qualified.

Who is at fault for a personal injury on someone's property?

A loose sidewalk pavement, a slippery floor or a low-hanging doorframe -- these might seem like insignificant flaws on a person's property, but they can actually be very dangerous. Suffering a personal injury on another person's property can have devastating consequences for the victim. Head injuries from a slip and fall, fractures from faulty walkways and more may require just compensation for victims to fully recover. Part of the process of recovering legal recourse is determining exactly who is at fault.

In some situations, a West Virginia property owner might be entirely at fault. This usually means that a property owner was aware -- or should have been aware -- of dangerous conditions on his or her property, and did not take meaningful action to fix the problem or adequately warn visitors. If the visitor to the property acted within the interests of his or her own safety and was injured solely because of the property owner's neglect, then the owner is 100 percent at fault.

Trucking companies do not need to test for sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder in which a person's breathing becomes interrupted periodically throughout the night, which prevents the person from getting a full night's sleep, and he or she is more likely to suffer from fatigue. This increases the risk of an accident if that person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. Earlier in 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration refused to pursue regulations that would have required trucking company employers to test drivers for sleep apnea. 

Due to their size, big rigs are more likely to result in injury and death if involved in a collision. It is vital to understand both sides of the argument regarding new rules so truckers can receive the assistance they need to combat sleep apnea. 

Office of Compliance paid $17 million for discrimination claims

The federal government is often looked to for guidance regarding a wide array of matters, including how to treat employees. While both federal and West Virginia state laws strictly prohibit workplace discrimination based on a number of factors -- such as gender, disability and race -- this type of unacceptable behavior is rampant across many work places. This includes the highest level of the government.

Recently released figures from the Office of Compliance -- a federal agency tasked with handling workplace-related complaints -- show just how problematic the issue is, even in the federal government. Over two decades, this office paid over $17 million for claims and settlements regarding workplace discrimination and harassment. Between 2008 and 2012, the Office of Compliance had to pay eight sexual harassment settlements.

Discrimination survey finds many women still paid less than men

Despite improvements in West Virginia employment law, women still deal with unfair treatment in the workplace. A study from the Pew Research Center interviewed thousands of employed men and women, asking them about discrimination they had experienced while on the job. It concluded that women face approximately eight types of gender-specific discrimination at work.

Female employees are much less likely to receive job-related support from senior leaders than male workers. Additionally, 23 percent of female workers reported that their co-workers and superiors treated them as incompetent based solely on their gender. Couple these statistics with the at least 10 percent of women who say they have missed out on a promotion they were qualified for, and it can be incredibly difficult for some women to get ahead in their career field.

Former cafeteria worker wins discrimination suit

Many West Virginia employees avoid filing work-related complaints with their employers out of fear of retaliation. Although illegal, workplace discrimination is still an ongoing issue. Unfortunately, those who make valid complaints are often hit the hardest, facing incidents of harassment, discrimination and even wrongful termination.

An out-of-state woman recently won a discrimination case against her former employer. The former cafeteria worker was employed by the same high school that her daughter attended. In her suit, she claimed that her daughter suffered repeated and ongoing instances of sexual harassment from fellow students. Not only were her complaints dismissed, but she was also disciplined. Later, her supervisor gave permission to use her phone at work to check on her daughter, for which she was also disciplined.

Do LGBT parents have equal access to FMLA benefits?

Having or adopting a child is a beautiful, joyous experience for a new parent. When that little one arrives in your home, you want to take off as much time from work as possible to bond with and care for your new family.

This desire is ubiquitous among all parents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. But LGBT couples may face unique issues when it comes to taking time off from work and being treated equally by employers as a new parent.

18-wheelers likely to cause personal injury in accidents

Large tractor trailers are seemingly permanent fixtures on West Virginia interstates and highways. These large vehicles can be quite intimidating, and many drivers are familiar with the frightening sensation of one of these trucks passing by. However, this fear is not irrational, as 18-wheelers can cause serious personal injury and even death.

There is no denying that 18-wheelers are significantly larger than smaller passenger vehicles, but just how big are they? These trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than other motor vehicles and are usually carrying heavy loads. In an accident, they can exert much more force than typical motor vehicles. Combined with a high ground clearance and underride guards that often fail, even a minor accident can turn deadly.

What constitutes "reasonable accommodation?"

The rights of disabled Americans have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The law has undergone various updates throughout the years, including an update in 1994 stating business owners with a minimum of 15 employees need to abide by the law. 

Part of the ADA involves the employer making reasonable accommodations to ensure disabled employees are still capable of performing their jobs. Many employers wonder what entails "reasonable," and the answer depends on several factors, such as the size of the business and the nature of the worker's disability. There may be an array of changes employers need to make to provide everyone with the tools they need to thrive. 

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