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Las Vegas Litigation Law Blog

Employee social media posts: when an employer might take action

Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter have become so engrained in people’s lives that you might not think twice about posting a tweet or status update on something you feel strongly about. However, if you are a business owner, you might not like your employees posting things that could put your company in a poor light. Our team at the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., understands that it is important for business owners to know when it is appropriate, and when it is not, to discipline employees when it comes to social media posts.

The National Labor Relations Board outlines the rules in which employees’ words may be protected or unprotected, under the National Labor Relations Act. In particular, your employees may talk about conditions at work, which can include discussing these topics publicly on social media. For example, an employee who has been affected by a superior’s mistake might air her frustration on Facebook. Her co-workers might join in the conversation to offer advice, support or to say they were similarly affected. You might not be happy about the negative publicity, but firing the employees involved may result in wrongful termination accusations.

Bystanders can be victims of construction accidents

You may already be aware that the construction industry can be dangerous for workers in Nevada and across the country. Every day, those in construction face numerous hazards, even when they are properly trained and using the appropriate safety equipment. Unfortunately, construction might also pose dangers for the unsuspecting public. At the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we are aware of the serious mishaps you might encounter simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time near a construction site.

On a worksite, there is a great deal of organized chaos. Construction trucks drive back and forth; heavy machinery is being operated; traffic and walkways might be diverted; and construction employees are hard at work on numerous tasks. If you live or work near a construction site, you might be exposed to the noise and bustle on a daily basis. Moving equipment, falling debris, noise pollution and other factors can be a constant hazard. These risks are a major reason why, according to Construction Dive, construction companies may spend months in advance of a project planning strategies to keep the public safe from worksite accidents. Some hire third-party safety consultants to assist in this important step.

The importance of choosing a strong trademark

Every business in Las Vegas and elsewhere uses trademarks in some form or other. When business owners create a name, logo or commercial catchphrase for their company, they are using a trademark. Once registered, a company’s trademark should be protected from infringement by others. It is important, therefore, to understand the elements that go into choosing a trademark that is solid and not easily copied.

Why should a trademark be strong and identifiable? First, one must understand the definition of a trademark. This, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is a symbol, design, word or phrase that helps consumers recognize a particular brand. The right trademark can make a company’s brand or service stand out from others.

How do you protect yourself from surgical mistakes?

Medical errors are a significant cause of serious injury or death for people in Nevada, as well as across the country. Your doctor or surgeon might falsely diagnose an issue you are having, give you the wrong prescription or make a mistake during surgery. Additionally, you might be vulnerable to infection when you stay in the hospital. If you undergo a surgical procedure, you could be exposed to bacteria or viruses, and your immune system is likely to be weakened during recovery.

Is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of an infection or mistake while you are in the hospital? Consumer Reports has provided the following steps for preparing for a medical procedure, as well as discussing your concerns with your doctor:

  • Discuss the upcoming procedure with your surgeon and ask for details on post-operative care.
  • Ask a close family member or friend for help while you recover, such as preparing meals, handling light housework and taking care of children and pets.
  • Make sure you understand which medications you will be prescribed, the dosage and how often to take it.
  • Understand that it is acceptable to be sure your medical team has adhered to hygiene standards before any procedure, such as washing their hands before checking your incision.
  • Update yourself on the details that are written on your chart, or designate a trusted person to stay informed of your status.
  • Consider writing a living will before you go in for surgery, which will let your loved ones and medical team know of your wishes in case you are incapacitated.

Understanding how insurance scams can hurt businesses

Often, people who file false claims so they can be paid by an insurer do not think they are doing any harm – or they do not care. However, insurance fraud is a crime that is detrimental to everyone involved, from the insurance company to consumers, who pay for the bogus claims of others with higher premiums. It is likely that your company deals with insurance in some form or other. At the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we feel it is important that you and other Las Vegas business owners understand how insurance fraud can affect companies and consumers.

Bankrate lists several common types of insurance fraud that may be committed by a variety of people, including policy holders, customers, employers or insurance agents. For example, you might have read news stories about people who filed slip-and-fall claims after pretending to be injured in a grocery store. Others were caught in a lie after planting an insect or mouse in food and claiming the restaurant or food manufacturer was at fault. Some policy holders try to collect insurance money by destroying a vehicle or burning their home down. In a crime that is more common than most might think, some people try to fake their own deaths so co-conspirators can collect on the insurance.

Undocumented immigrants often subjected to employee abuse

Many people from other countries relocate to America in an effort to improve their lives. Some gain residency through legal routes, while others are undocumented. A significant portion of the workforce in Nevada is made up of immigrants. Immigrants have the right to be treated fairly in the workplace like everyone else. Unfortunately, many employers mistreat their undocumented immigrant workers. It is important for employers to understand the legal ramifications of denying employees their basic rights, since doing so may result in legal action.

Reuters points out that Nevada is the top state per capita for undocumented immigrants, at 7.6 percent. Additionally, the Silver State employs the largest number of undocumented workers – 10 percent of the population. Many jobs performed by immigrants complement the local workforce and provide valuable services to residents. For example, construction and agriculture are common industries that employ immigrants. These are also jobs in which employees are subjected to unfair treatment.

What insurance coverages are NV employers required to provide?

If you are a new business owner in Las Vegas, you may not yet realize your obligations regarding employment insurance. Your employees are legally entitled to certain protections, which are covered under employment-based business insurance. In this post, we will discuss two types of insurance that Nevada business owners are required to provide when they have numerous employees – unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance.

The Nevada Department of Business and Industry explains that all businesses in the state with one or more employees need to provide these types of insurance. Unemployment insurance compensates your workers who are let go from their jobs, for a certain period, to allow them time to seek employment elsewhere. If any of your employees suffer an injury on the job, workers’ compensation covers their medical treatment and often their lost wages while they recover. Additionally, you may be required to offer health coverage if you have over 50 full-time employees.

Things landlords need to know to avoid legal trouble

If you own rental property in Las Vegas, you may well understand the problems that can arise from having someone rent from you. However, you are also responsible for many aspects of the property, which could cause a health or safety issue with your tenants if you fail to attend to these items. At the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we understand that providing a habitable residence is more than just keeping your renters comfortable. If you do not uphold your end of the rental agreement and abide by Nevada’s landlord statutes, you could find yourself in legal hot water.

First and foremost, you must ensure that your rental property is safe and habitable for your tenants, state the Nevada Revised Statutes. This means keeping up the grounds as well as the interior of an apartment or dwelling. The walkways, parking lot, stairways and common areas should be clean and in good repair. Garbage receptacles should be readily available and regularly emptied.

What does fair use mean?

Several weeks ago, we discussed the topic of fair use by citing a lawsuit between Google and Oracle. The subject involved a civil appeal regarding whether Java code owned by Oracle could be copied per fair use law. Whether you are a business owner or consumer in Las Vegas, understanding how fair use works may save you the expense and hassle of a lawsuit.

Fair use encompasses intellectual property that is copyrighted by a business or person, states Stanford University Libraries. If material is permissible under fair use law, you could copy it for use without the copyright owner’s permission. The conditions allowing this type of copying typically fall under discussion, criticism or parody purposes.

Are ride-sharing services dangerous?

With the holiday season upon us, you may be making plans to spend some time at the Las Vegas Strip celebrating with friends. It is always a good idea to get a sober ride home, instead of driving after having too much to drink. One of your choices might be to hail a ride from one of the popular ride-sharing services, such as Uber or Lyft. However, are these services as safe as you might assume?

Unlike public transportation or traditional taxi companies, ride-sharing services do not employ their drivers as regular employees. Instead, these services allow drivers to act as independent contractors, working their own hours by responding to hails from people using the smartphone app. In the past couple of years, numerous complaints have arisen regarding the behavior of some of the drivers contracting with the companies. According to CBS News, there have been several instances where customers claimed they had been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped by Uber drivers. You might also have heard of a tragic accident, in which a young girl was struck and killed by an Uber driver. In this incident, there was an insurance gap that did not cover the death of the child.

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