Why You May Need an Employment Attorney

Aug 20

There are many hassles that come with our jobs. Sometimes our hours cause us extreme amounts of stress. Other times, the commute to our office may be extremely arduous. Maybe you have to endure an awkward conversation with your coworkers every time you want to step away from your desk. These issues are minor inconveniences — emphasis on the word minor.

While these aspects of our job may annoy us, it is not likely that they bring an unbearable amount into our lives. These, however, aren’t the only issues that we may encounter at work. Imagine constantly being subject to harassment when you clock in to work each day. Some individuals find themselves not even being considered for a promotion due to their identity and background. These issues are extremely stressful — and they damage not only our mental health but our financial futures, too.

Fortunately. If you have been subject to any of the above situations, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering. Check out two of the main reasons why you may need to reach out to an employment attorney firm like The Melton Law Firm today: harassment and discrimination.

Harassment

Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves subject to harassment in the workplace. This harassment can take many forms. For example, an individual may be subject to inappropriate jokes and comments based on the racial identity that they find offensive. Or, they may be subject to inappropriate touching by a coworker. No matter what type of harassment you may be experiencing, there are certain elements you must prove to show that what you are experiencing qualifies as harassment under the law. These elements include:

  • Severe
  • Offensive
  • Unwelcome
  • Based on a victim’s protected class

Protect classes include gender, sex, race, national origin, religion, and more.

Discrimination

Many times employees may find themselves treated differently by their superiors for their background or any other unique characteristic that they possess. This can lead to passed up promotions or raises. You also may be fired for seemingly no reason at all —- and that decision may be based on any one of your identities.

You can prove your discrimination case in a variety of ways. One great way to do so is by providing direct evidence. Examples of direct evidence include written or verbal statements made by your employer, among other forms of evidence.

Another way to prove your case is through circumstantial evidence, which your employee will most likely rely on. For example, if most women who become pregnant aren’t being offered jobs when they return from maternity leave, but your supervisor hasn’t expressed any explicit bias against women — that is circumstantial evidence.

While these are the two biggest issues that employment attorneys deal with, they are not the only cases that they take. It is important to reach out to an attorney — even if you do not pursue any legal action — if you believe you deserve compensation for how you are being treated in the workplace.

Read More

Client Retention 101

Jun 08

You might have heard that the legal business is a competitive industry. But unless you are a lawyer (or someone like me, who has researched the industry at length), then it is not likely you know the full extent of the industry’s competitiveness.

Certain fields within the law are more competitive than others; constitutional law is a tough field to work in as a lawyer because there are simply not as many opportunities to practice constitutional law as there are opportunities to practice personal injury law, as an example. But that is not to say that personal injury law is a walk in the park. Of the more common private law fields to practice in, personal injury law is one of the most competitive.

In fact, entire industries have been built around personal injury law because the field is just so competitive! There are companies, like Intake Conversion Experts, who act as legal conversion experts to personal injury practices or firms. As consultants, they lend their knowledge about how to take a hesitant potential client and turn them into a trusted friend of the firm, giving the firm a lot of business in the process. The companies use things like client management tools to give people follow-up calls; many companies like Intake Conversion Experts also offer bilingual support so that a client’s language will not be a barrier to retention or conversion.

To me, though, client retention is much more interesting of a topic as compared to client conversion. While it makes sense that a company needs to take potential customers and turn them into reliable customers who use a law firm’s services, the methods for conversion in the legal business are not as unique as the methods for client retention.

To retain a client, a law firm has to be several things at the same time: respectful of deadlines, focused on their case, accommodating to the client’s needs, and so much more! Turns out, there have been entire businesses constructed around this need in the personal injury legal world just the same; agencies work to provide administrative work or cover miscellaneous tasks that might be relevant to retaining a client.

Some of the services that client retention-focused businesses offer to practices or law firms include:

  • Bilingual support
  • Outsource support for client intake
  • Administrative support for mass torts campaigns
  • Calling back lost leads
  • Many other options and tasks

Sometimes a law firm can have too many new clients to handle so client retention services will be hired on to take over the intake of new clients (signing paperwork, asking preliminary questions, etc.). Additionally, if a personal injury law firm wants to run a mass torts campaign — through which you advertise en masse the opportunity to sue a negligent company for producing a dangerous product — a third party company can handle the marketing or client qualification process. As I said, I am not a lawyer, I am just a person interested in the law. But if you are a lawyer and some of these services sound like a needed addition to your firm, check the opportunity out and do what is best for your best!

Read More

How motorcycle accidents happen

Dec 09

I’ve been riding motorcycles for more than twenty years now. I never feel more at home than when I’m out on the open road. I’ve made lots of friends in the motorcycling community through attending rides and meetups with other biking enthusiasts. Some of my closest friends in the community have been very unfortunate and found themselves in life-altering accidents while on the road. Two of my friends sustained serious injuries because another full-sized vehicle pulled out in front of them on a roadway while they were traveling at the speed limit.

This situation puzzled me as well as angered me. How could someone be so negligent that they don’t see a motorcyclist clearly coming right down the center of the road that they’re about to pull into? Are they just not paying attention? Perhaps there are more subtle aspects at play.

I found out that one thing that contributes to these accidents is a serious psychological phenomenon that happens between our eyes and our brain. If we were able to see the raw images that our eyes sent to our brains, we would probably be pretty freaked out. Most of the image would be blurry, there would be some blind spots, and the image would be upside down. The reason that the world we perceive is so in focus is that our brain chooses to focus on what’s important and also based on what we are expecting to see. This is an important thing to note as a driver on the road. While driving, most drivers do not own a motorcycle and have never ridden one. This contributes to bias within them. It causes drivers to expect to see other full-sized vehicles only on the road. When we see a motorcycle on the road we aren’t shocked, but we also aren’t looking out for them, considering that they may be driving around us. This means that when we pull up to a street and are looking for a clear coast before pulling out, it can take our brains a bit longer to process and recognize the image of a motorcycle, even though it is right in front of us. It’s harder to process the image just because we aren’t expecting it. This is important information for motorcyclists and drivers to understand. Drivers should take an extra second to watch out for motorcyclists. On the other hand, motorcyclists should recognize that drivers are often not anticipating a motorcycle on the road, and may have slower reaction times towards them.

Luckily, there are attorneys that specialize in dealing with motorcycle accidents. According to the Glover Law Firm, motorcyclists are much more exposed to injury in the event of an accident than other drivers. This means that their medical bills can be catastrophically high, even if they are involved in a relatively low-speed collision. Lawyers in this field of work are able to look at all the relevant aspects of an accident to prove who was negligent towards the other drivers on the road.

Read More

Mineral Rights: The Two Estates & Liquidation

Jun 17

I am fascinated by the oil, gas, and mineral economies. I am constantly monitoring the worldwide and domestic markets for any significant changes. However, I felt that I could enhance my understanding of the markets with a little bit of legal knowledge regarding oil, gas, and minerals. Because of this, I decided to do a little research on Texas oil and gas laws.

Did you know that if you are a homeowner, there is a good chance that, according to the law, you own two “separate” (though not actually separate), “estates” via your ownership of the property? These estates are known as the surface and mineral estates. The surface estate is the land where you walk and build structures, such as your home, garage, or shed. The mineral estate gives the owner the right to do a bunch of different things to the minerals under his land.

My initial thought after hearing this was, “Well, the mineral estate does not seem all that great. What am I supposed to do with a bunch of minerals under my land?” Shortly after this thought crossed my mind, I came across an enlightening article by The Mineral Auction. The article explained a process called liquidation, which is the process of selling mineral rights for compensation. In fact, I learned that liquidation is something I am particularly interested in because the amount a party receives for liquidating his minerals is largely dependent on the mineral markets.

The article went on to explain some common reasons why mineral rights owners decide to liquidate their mineral rights. For many, liquidation is a quick way to get some cash on hand. Many people liquidate their mineral rights to put money into retirement or college funds. Sometimes, after a death or divorce in the family, people are forced to liquidate their mineral rights to solve or avoid conflicts. There are several reasons why a mineral rights owner might decide to liquidate their rights, but the bottom line is that they are looking for some money.

After the article’s thorough explanation of liquidation, I thought to myself, “Wow, the mineral estate seems great!” But then I considered the possibility of moving. Suppose a homeowner decides to put their house up for sale. Further, suppose this homeowner is the owner of the mineral estate beneath his land. He is frustrated because he wants the ability to liquefy his mineral rights, but he also wants to sell his home. What can he do?

The homeowner has a simple solution called severance. This is a legal process that can separate the homeowner’s surface estate from his mineral estate. In fact, this process works both ways: the homeowner could sell his mineral estate and keep his home if he wanted. In the above example, the homeowner could sever his surface and mineral estates, sell his home, and retain the mineral estate for the future cash influx through liquidation.

Read More

The Benefits of the Alaskan Long-Term Disability Program

Sep 23

Facing a serious injury can be very intimidating. If the injury is so serious that you’re unable to work, you lose a way to support yourself and your family. It’s important not to lose hope in situations like these, and instead, take advantage of programs that can help keep you afloat while you work to rehabilitate yourself and get your life back on track.

In the state of Alaska, Social Security offers a long-term disability program that replaces the income of those that are unable to work due to injury. This program is an excellent option for Alaskans and should be the first place you look if you suffer a disabling injury.

The long-term disability program goes into effect 180 days after your final day of work. This six-month waiting period exists to demonstrate that you are disabled and unable to work for a period of six months, demonstrating that you really do need disability. After a period of two years, you must demonstrate your disability again. Throughout your time on disability, you must remain under a physician’s care and maintain a disabled certification.

These benefits continue for as long as you remain disabled, up to a certain age. This is age 65 if you are disabled before age 60, but only four and a half years if you are disabled after age 60. There are two disability payout rates, one at 50% of your salary, and another at 70% of your monthly base pay. Since these percentages are determined from your pre-tax income, your disability payout will be subject to federal income tax. This number excludes bonuses, commissions, or other situational income sources. The monthly payout can go as high as $8,000 or as low as $100. The government will deduct other sources of income from your disability payout, but cannot reduce it past the $100 minimum.

There are limitations to Alaska’s disability program, as well. You will not be considered for the program if your disability is a result of a self-inflicted injury, war or a riot, an action that caused the loss of a professional license, a crime, or an injury sustained while you were in prison. There’s also a limit of 24 months of benefits for disabilities resulting from drug abuse, mental conditions or illness, or muscular disorders.

If you have recently become disabled and need a source of income to support yourself or your family, Alaska’s long-term disability program is an ideal solution to your problems. If you qualify, you should waste no time applying for benefits. Make sure that you have extensive documentation of your injury, and explore options for local physicians who can confirm to the state that you are unable to work. If you are initially rejected from the program, don’t worry- there is a appeals process through which you can state your case in more detail. For this appeals process, it’s essential to retain a good lawyer to help you navigate the process and make your case to the review board in the most convincing way possible.

Read More