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Las Vegas Litigation Law Blog

LV employers’ responsibilities for workplace safety

In recent posts, we have discussed what might happen if property owners are negligent in keeping premises safe and a customer is injured as a result. Liability issues may occur on the job site, as well. Anyone can suffer injuries from virtually any type of industry, from office work to road construction. At Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we understand that it is vital for you, as a Las Vegas employer, to provide a safe workplace.

Falls, sprains, strains and repetitive movement injuries are among the most common ways employees can get hurt at any job. For example, a worker might trip over an electrical cable that is placed in the way at your office. Someone could sprain their back from lifting boxes or equipment the wrong way or without help or proper lifting equipment. If the job requires repetitive motions, such as typing or manually controlling machinery, your employees might develop carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if their workspace is not ergonomically correct.

LV high school student injured by school official

When parents in Southern Nevada send their children to school, they have every right to expect that their young ones will be in a safe and secure environment. However, it is common knowledge that sometimes violence happens at school, whether due to students getting into a fight or a hostile outsider entering the grounds and posing a threat. These are valid reasons why law enforcement officers have been employed in many schools in Las Vegas and across the nation to keep students safe.

It is not as common for students to be put at risk by teachers and other personnel. Unfortunately, this appeared to be the case in a recent incident at a North Las Vegas high school. A cellphone video taken by a student was released to the public, which showed a school administrator violently throwing a 13-year-old girl to the ground. According to the child’s mother, the girl had been in a verbal altercation with another student before the administrator and a school officer arrived to break up the fight.

Vegas employers should provide harassment-free workplace

It is important for business owners and managers to provide a workplace environment that is professional, safe and comfortable for employees. Being subjected to discrimination and harassment not only causes a contentious or unhappy work environment, but can also open the door to employment litigation. Las Vegas is known for the hospitality and entertainment industries. What happens in Vegas may invite tourists by the millions, but could also potentially subject residents to sexual harassment on the job.

According to VEGAS INC, 9.6 percent of the claims made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for Southern Nevada pertain to sexual harassment. Casino environments may contribute to customers and co-workers making unwanted sexual advances toward cocktail servers, entertainers and others who are required to wear scanty uniforms as part of the job. Nevada ranks slightly higher than other states in regards to sexual harassment claims, and some who deal with such claims believe that many incidents go unreported.

Is a safe and clean parking lot important for businesses?

Property owners in Las Vegas and elsewhere have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. They should ensure that equipment, walking surfaces and other areas where visitors come into contact with are in good repair. Whether you are a resident at an apartment complex or a customer at a shopping mall, you have the right to expect that these places will be reasonably safe.

This expectation can extend to the parking lot of a residential complex or shopping center. For example, you might sprain an ankle or hurt your back if you trip in a pothole on your way into the grocery store. If you are traveling farther north in Nevada this winter, you might slip on a shop’s walkway that has not been cleared of ice or snow. Garbage that is scattered around your townhouse complex might contain something harmful that could threaten you or your children.

Addressing negative customer statements on review sites

Last week’s post discussed the ways in which libel and slander can hurt your business. To recap, these involve someone who might defame your company by making a false statement that others hear or read, which in turn can harm your business. At the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we understand that social media and online review sites may allow your business and other Las Vegas companies to be negatively affected by libelous statements. However, before you decide on legal action, you will need to understand the difference between a reviewer who has a legitimate complaint and one who is truly committing libel.

According to Yahoo! Finance, a libelous review against your company would likely include outrageous claims or untruths meant to destroy your reputation and discourage potential clients. One example involved a woman in Virginia, who took to the website Yelp to say that a contractor performed substandard work and stole jewelry during a renovation of her home. The contractor sued, and a jury found her guilty of defamation. However, since the contractor had also made allegedly false accusations of his own, he was found guilty as well, and the lawsuit was considered a wash.

What dangers do your children face during Halloween?

You still have a few weeks left to get ready for Halloween, but it can never be too early to prepare for safety hazards. You may be among the many Las Vegas residents who are now putting together costumes, buying candy and getting your decorations ready to have the best haunted house on the block. It is also time to start thinking about keeping your children safe as they go out trick-or-treating.

According to the National Safety Council, October is the second-highest month of the year for traffic fatalities, many of them due to pedestrian accidents on Halloween night. You might worry about your child biting into a piece of candy that has been tampered with; however, safety experts caution that children have a far greater chance of being hit by a car than eating dangerous candy. Halloween is an exciting night for children who are trick-or-treating and exploring their neighborhoods’ haunted houses. Children, who are known for not always obeying traffic rules or keeping safety in mind, may be even more apt to dart into the street without looking or to cross before a traffic light turns green.

What are libel and slander?

In the business world, it is almost inevitable that you will come across someone who is not happy with your products or services, or with a business arrangement you had with them. It is normal for people to tell others if they are not satisfied. It is also understandable if you or other Las Vegas business owners are upset about negative things that are said about your companies. Is there a line that can be drawn between free speech and libel or slander?

Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute defines slander as spoken statements and libel as written statements that cause damage to a person or company. Libel or slander may hurt reputations or have a negative financial impact. As you can imagine, having your business be the target of libel or slander could be devastating. In order for a libel or slander case to hold up in court, you would need to prove that the other party deliberately made a false statement, that third parties (potential customers or the general public) saw or heard the false statements and that you or your business suffered damages as a result.

Road construction can be a hazard for Vegas residents and workers

Las Vegas is a busy, congested area, and there is much room for growth outside the city. Because of this, in combination with favorable weather year-round, there is usually some kind of road construction going on in the area. Established roads need regular maintenance and highways are frequently expanded and improved. While most people consider road construction to be an inconvenience as they encounter it while driving, construction also poses serious hazards to motorists and crew workers alike.

The dangers of road construction include the presence of construction vehicles and equipment, unexpected lane changes, debris in the road and rapidly slowing or stopping traffic. Traffic is often made more congested by lane closures. Drivers may be impatient or inattentive, resulting in work zone accidents. Passenger traffic often shares the road with large trucks on freeways, which may be particularly dangerous in a work zone. The Elko Daily Free Press reported on an accident that occurred last July, during construction on U.S. 93. Reportedly, traffic was stopped in the work zone and a semi-truck struck three vehicles. Five people were injured and one woman was killed.

McAfee lawsuit highlights the use of a name as a copyright

As discussed in previous blog posts, infringing on another person or company's trademark can result in serious legal repercussions. A trademark is a logo, catchphrase, jingle or other form of intellectual property that sets a business's brand apart from others. Consumers in Las Vegas and elsewhere should be able to easily recognize a strong trademark as belonging to a particular company or brand. For example, everyone recognizes Disney's iconic mouse ears.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office points out that a copyright infringement might occur when a person or company's trademark that is similar to another's might cause confusion among consumers. Copyright infringement might be accidental or intentional - as in a small business creating a logo that is similar enough to the Disney mouse ears as to make consumers think the product is from Disney.

Can I interpret my dog’s body language to avoid being bitten?

One of the most frightening and potentially life-threatening events someone in your family might face is being bitten by a dog. Many dog bites in Las Vegas are the result of a dog the victim knew; often, it was the family dog, and children are among the most vulnerable victims of dog attacks. Understanding the body language that dogs express may go a long way toward keeping you or one of your loved ones from being bitten.

According to Web MD, dogs have a complicated system of facial and body language. However, you can learn to recognize the signals your dog is sending you. The easiest ways to interpret a dog’s moods and intentions are through his eyes, ears, mouth, tail and body stance. For example, if your dog is happy, his eyes and ears may appear relaxed. He might be looking at you, but should not be staring rigidly in your direction. His tail may be wagging gently or, if he is especially thrilled to see you, in a wild and circular motion. He might also wiggle his entire body. His mouth could be closed or open in a way that suggests a smile, sometimes with the tongue comically hanging out.

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