Can You Sue a Company for False Advertising?
As a consumer, you rely on companies to properly represent their products and services. Unfortunately, not every company plays by the rules in their marketing and advertising practices. Some businesses choose to use false or misleading advertising to get more people interested in what they’re selling. And when a company violates that trust, buyers suffer negative consequences. At best, buying a falsely advertised product can result in a loss of money — and at worst, it can cause serious injury or even death to consumers. Government and state statutes stop companies from making false claims in their marketing and advertising. As a result, consumers have legal rights and protections. If you paid for a product or service that was falsely or improperly advertised, you can hold the offending company accountable through a misleading advertising lawsuit. If you successfully prove your claims, you could receive financial compensation. Because false and misleading advertising is targeted at large groups of consumers at once, affected customers often join forces in class action lawsuits against the responsible company. This gives customers plaintiffs strength in numbers and can make it easier to prove the true level of impact of a company’s irresponsible marketing practices. If you purchased a product or service based on deceptive advertising practices, our award-winning class action lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm want to help. Call us at (800) 501-3011 for your FREE consultation or use our online form. Is False Advertising Against the Law? Yes, there are laws that forbid companies from misleading consumers with deceptive product labels or false advertisements. An attorney can help you determine the laws under which you can file a false advertising lawsuit in your state. What Qualifies As False Advertising? False advertising, deceptive branding, and misleading marketing come in many different forms: Manipulating key terms – using certain words as descriptors without justification Deceptive visual representation of the product – showing a product being used in a way that it cannot actually be used Bait and switch – pretending to sell one product or service, but actually giving the consumer an inferior product or service Incomplete or false comparisons – claiming a product or service is superior to another without justification, or deliberately concealing parts that are inferior in comparison Misleading product warranties or guarantees – guaranteeing a certain quality of product and not delivering on that quality, or offering warranties for repair or replacement but refusing to honor the warranty Unfortunately, some companies go to extreme lengths to maximize sales, putting profits over people. Instead of investing in creating a better product or offering a superior service, they’d rather mislead people about its features or even trick people into buying it. This type of unethical advertising can result in millions of dollars stolen from consumers. Depending on the product or service, it can even put lives at risk. Below are some specific examples, for context: False Advertising Examples Selling a product that doesn’t actually do what it’s marketed to do Leaving out information that the average buyer would consider important to know Exaggerating the size of a product (or serving size of food) to make it look bigger Inaccurately labeling a product “organic” without actual basis Misrepresenting the ingredients that make up an item or their ratios Charging fees or surcharges that are hidden until the customer has been billed Falsely claiming support from the scientific community or industry leaders, or approval from government agencies Making marketing claims based on outdated, debunked, or flawed research studies Misreporting the geographic source of the product or its ingredients Advertising a product for one price and actually selling it for a higher price Claiming sales prices without actually marking down products Advertising a warranty for a product but refusing to honor it Marketing a product with a no-hassle money-back guarantee and then refusing to honor it While exaggerated claims are common and even expected in advertising, unlawful false statements and dubious marketing can mislead even the savviest of consumers. What Are the Consequences of False Advertising? Victims of misleading and false advertising can file a false advertising lawsuit against the responsible company in civil court. For mass-market products that are widely available across the U.S., the sheer number of victims can lead to a class action lawsuit, representing possibly thousands or millions of consumers. A class action of this size could have potentially billions of dollars at stake. The company responsible for the product may be ordered to pay consumers for their financial losses and cover the costs of any injuries caused by their deceptive marketing. In addition, if consumers are able to prove their false advertising claims, courts may use a legal injunction to stop the company from continuing the false advertising campaign. False advertising cases can get complicated, especially if the victims have significant financial losses or the product led to personal injury or even wrongful death. If you’ve experienced false advertising or deceptive marketing practices, you should first talk to a lawyer about your case. What Should I Do If I Have a False Advertising Claim? If you believe you have grounds for a false advertising claim, you should seek legal help right away. A class action attorney can help you join forces with other consumers and follow all the appropriate steps of a class action lawsuit to hold the at-fault company liable. At Wilshire Law Firm, our class action lawyers who go up against some of the largest corporations in order to achieve just compensation for consumers. To find out if our team can assist you with your case, call us today at (800) 501-3011 for your FREE consultation or fill out our online form.
What Types of Damages Can You Get in a Personal Injury Case?
Federal law uses damages to compensate victims for the harm they've suffered because of another person’s actions. Courts award damages to “make victims whole,” as if their injuries never happened. Of course, it’s literally impossible to undo an injury. Instead, damages give victims financial compensation to offset the harm they’ve experienced. If you’ve been injured, you need medical treatment – whether your injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, an injury caused by a defective product, or something else. Even with insurance, treating your injuries can cost a significant sum. Typically, the more complex your injuries, the higher your medical bills will be – especially if you need lifelong care or support. But damages don’t just stop there because an injury can have a greater impact on your life than just medical bills. You may suffer physical pain for years as a result of your injuries, which can develop into long-term chronic symptoms or lifelong disability. You may become unable to work, losing an important source of income for yourself and your family. You may find that you are no longer able to participate in activities that used to bring you joy. Damages help compensate you for all that you’ve lost as a result of an injury – not just your financial losses. Some types of damages even exist to punish especially negligent or reckless behavior that led to your injury. Damages in personal injury cases could recover hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for victims. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing (whether that's from a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall accident, an injury caused by a defective product, or something else), you could recover more compensation than you may even realize. Call the award-winning personal injury lawyers at the Wilshire Law Firm at (800) 501-3011 to get a FREE consultation of your case. What Are the Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Lawsuit? Personal injury lawsuits can result in three types of damages: Specific or economic damages compensate you for all the financial losses you’ve suffered and any future costs you expect because of your injury, including medical expenses, property damage, repair or replacement costs (such as vehicle repair after a crash), lost income or wages, lost earning potential, rehabilitation costs, home and vehicle modifications, etc. General or non-economic damages compensate you for any physical pain you’ve suffered as well as emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, shortened lifespan, disfigurement, or increased risk of future harm as a result of your injuries. Punitive damages punish the responsible party for their role in causing your injury, but are limited to cases involving especially bad, reckless, or intentional behavior. The categories above may cover much more than you’d think. For example, if you’ve been injured in a traffic accident and your car needs repairs, you can include the cost of a rental car in your personal injury lawsuit. If you’re a stay-at-home mom who can’t function at the same capacity because of your injuries, you could get damages to cover the cost of childcare. Be sure to discuss your potential damages with a qualified attorney, as each of the types of compensation you’re eligible for will vary on a case-by-case basis. How Are Lawsuit Damages Calculated? Calculating the amount of damages depends on the type of damages involved. Specific or economic damages are the most straightforward to calculate. For past expenses, you can simply show your bills. For future expenses and medical bills, your legal team can help calculate an estimate of the cost based on the severity of your injuries and the extent of the treatment you’ll need. General or non-economic damages are more intangible in comparison. Courts calculate pain and suffering based on your medical diagnosis, testimony about your injuries by expert witnesses, records from your mental health providers such as therapists or psychiatrists, and prescriptions for pain medication. The worse your injuries are and the longer you’ll need treatment, the more damages you can expect. Punitive damages generally can’t be more than four times your general damages as most courts require them to be “relatively proportionate” to the harm you’ve suffered. Based on the state where you were injured, there may be additional limits on punitive damages. The best way to recover the full compensation you deserve is to present a strong case. That means you need good, convincing evidence to prove your claims. At Wilshire Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and injuries, making sure you have the best evidence possible to prove your case. Every little detail counts when it comes to getting the maximum possible recovery for our clients. How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth in a Lawsuit? “Pain and suffering” is an umbrella term that describes the mental harms you suffer as a result of an injury. When deciding the amount of pain and suffering damages, courts look at: How much pain, discomfort, or distress you feel on a daily basis How much medical treatment you’ll need to recover Whether your doctors expect you to make a full recovery or not Any pre-existing conditions that became worse because of the injury If you’ve experienced any long-term or permanent disability, impairment, or scarring Whether the injury puts you at a greater risk of future harm to your health If you experience a lower life expectancy because of the injury The effect of your injuries on your ability to work or enjoy certain activities How Much Money Can You Get From a Personal Injury Lawsuit? Personal injury lawsuits can recover thousands to even millions of dollars for victims. As an example, the Wilshire Law Firm has won hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients since 2007. The amount of money you can expect from a personal injury lawsuit depends on: The severity of your injuries, and The strength of your evidence. A successful personal injury lawsuit can end up with a payout in the form of a negotiated settlement agreement between parties or a judgment by the court. A settlement can be negotiated up until the court makes a judgment. Many personal injury lawsuits settle because the responsible party wants to avoid a long and expensive court case that they know they’ll lose. Get the Legal Help You Need for Your Case Because each case is different, it’s critical that you work with an attorney to determine what types of damages you can claim, the amount of compensation you should be seeking, and how to properly proceed with your case. Wilshire Law Firm is a nationwide leader in handling even the most complex personal injury cases. We’ve fought passionately for the rights of injury victims for years, with hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation recovered for our clients since 2007. Our legal team is available 24/7 for your convenience. Call us now at (800) 501-3011 for your FREE consultation or use our online form to contact us.
I Was Hit by a Car: Pedestrian Accidents 101
Car accidents involving pedestrians, also known as pedestrian accidents, are an extremely common occurrence that has increased by over 50% from 2009 to 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Pedestrian accidents most commonly occur in urban locations and can leave rippling consequences for pedestrians and drivers alike. There were over 6,205 pedestrian deaths in 2019 alone, which accounts for roughly 17% of all motor vehicle fatalities in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. If you’re involved in a pedestrian car accident, you need to know your rights. Our team of highly experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm has compiled a complete guide to answer all the questions you may have about your pedestrian car injury. Who Is Considered a Pedestrian? A pedestrian is defined as a person who is walking, running, or using a wheelchair. Pedestrians can also include people riding non-motorized vehicles such as skateboards, scooters, or roller skates, but they do not normally include those riding the standard bicycle. Is a Bicyclist Considered a Pedestrian? Depending on the state you reside in, a bicyclist can either be considered a pedestrian, a motorist, or a hybrid of the two. While a bicycle may not be considered a vehicle, bicyclists often have the same responsibilities as motorists and must abide by traffic rules as if they were driving a vehicle. The confusing subject matter has led to individual states adopting specific laws for cyclists. For example, in California, while a pedestrian is allowed to stop in crosswalks, a bicyclist is not. What Is the Right of Way? The right of way is considered as a pedestrian or vehicle’s right to proceed. Many laws and vehicle codes including the California Vehicle Code 21950 will refer to “yielding your right-of-way,” or letting the other person proceed before you. Conflicting notions of right of way can cause car accidents and even worse, pedestrian accidents. Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way? For the most part, pedestrians will always possess the right of way in marked or unmarked crosswalks and on the sidewalk. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule, like in California where the pedestrian does not always possess the right of way. According to California Vehicle Code section 21950, a pedestrian is not allowed to walk in the path of a vehicle or pose themselves as an immediate hazard, even while in a crosswalk. Can Pedestrians Ever Be at Fault During a Pedestrian Car Accident? There’s a common misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way, which means they can never be held responsible for a pedestrian car accident. However, that’s not true in all instances. There are exceptions where the pedestrian can be at fault for the accident such as: Jaywalking or ignoring traffic signals Walking along non-pedestrian prohibited locations like highways or bridges Entering a street while intoxicated Intentionally posing as an immediate hazard Even if the pedestrian is at fault, both parties might share the blame due to Comparative Negligence. What Is Comparative Negligence In a Pedestrian Accident? Comparative negligence is when both the driver as well as the pedestrian share the fault of the accident. For instance, if a driver is speeding but an intoxicated individual darts in front of the car outside of a crosswalk, both parties are at fault. What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents? Pedestrian accidents can be caused in a multitude of ways, the most common being: Distracted Driving: Operation of a vehicle while using a mobile phone or electronic device Crosswalk Accidents: Failure to yield to a pedestrian using a crosswalk Reckless Driving: Speeding, ignoring traffic signals, or failure to yield Driving While Intoxicated: Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs Unsafe Conditions: Hazards such as unrepaired potholes, poorly maintained sidewalks, or any other unsafe conditions on the premises Left-Hand Turns: Turning into traffic and often speeding through crosswalks Backing-Up Accidents: Accidents involving backing out or in, most commonly found in parking lots Injuries Associated with Pedestrian Accidents Accidents can have a wide range of outcomes depending on a handful of variables such as car speed, vehicle type, and the age of the pedestrian accident victim. Statistically, most pedestrian accident victims are most likely to suffer injuries in the form of: Abrasions, contusions, and lacerations Torn and sprained ligaments Fractured and broken bones Brain injury Spinal cord injury Wilshire Law Firm was recognized by TopVerdict.com for having the Number 1 Pedestrian Accidents Settlement for Single-Plaintiff Cases in the U.S. in 2019. If you’re the victim of a pedestrian accident and suffer from any of the following injuries, contact our knowledgeable team of pedestrian accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for a free consultation at (800) 501-3011. How Severe Are Injuries of Pedestrians Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes? Pedestrian motor vehicle accidents can range in severity from as little as a scratch or as serious as death. There are extra variables that can dramatically impact the severity of the accident. According to the CDC’s Pedestrian Safety Data, nearly half (47%) of all pedestrian accidents that resulted in death involved alcohol consumption by the pedestrian and/or the driver. Additionally, catastrophic injuries such as damage to the spine, skull, and spinal cord have been recorded as result of pedestrian accidents. Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur Most? Pedestrian accidents can occur almost anywhere that involves cars and on-foot traffic. These locales are more typically found in urban areas rather than rural areas. Nearly 75% of pedestrian accidents occur in urban locations, most likely due to the clashing of motor vehicles and on-foot traffic in densely populated areas. When Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur Most? Pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight with approximately 3,371 deaths recorded in 2019, according to IIHS. Conversely, the fewest pedestrian accidents occur between 6 a.m. and noon with approximately 850 deaths recorded in 2019. Interstate Highway Pedestrian Accidents While pedestrian auto accidents are most commonly experienced on the street or in crosswalks, highway pedestrian accidents also take up a portion of the total annual pedestrian accidents. After a highway car accident, people often leave their car for a multitude of reasons. This poses many hazards for oncoming traffic that may not be fully aware of the situation. Highway pedestrian accidents occur when: Tending to a Crash: Highway accident victims leaving their vehicle to exchange insurance information Standing or Walking on Shoulder: Abandoning a car to exit the interstate Pushing a Vehicle: Pushing a stalled vehicle off of the interstate Hitchhiking / Soliciting: Standing on the shoulder flagging down vehicles Fixing a Vehicle: Changing a flat tire on the side of the road Hit and Run Accidents Involving Pedestrians Pedestrian accidents are serious matters, but if the car that hit you has fled the scene, the situation becomes so much more severe. It is a criminal offense to flee the scene of a car accident if it causes property damage or bodily harm. Fatal hit and run accidents account for over 1,290 deaths a year, which is over 20% of all pedestrian accidents. If you’ve been involved in this type of accident, our hit and run accident lawyers can help. Get a Free Consultation for Your Pedestrian Accident Regardless of what type of pedestrian accident you were involved in, we can help you fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless you win your case. Our legal team is standing by 24/7 to assist you. For immediate assistance, give us a call at (800) 501-3011 or fill out our online form for a FREE consultation.
Dangerous New Texas Bill Shields Trucking Companies From Lawsuits
Updated 6/1/21 A proposed law in Texas, House Bill 19, will make it harder for truck accident victims to sue trucking companies for negligence following a collision. Texas had more truck accident deaths than any other state in 2019. And yet both the House and the Senate recently passed HB 19, which threatens to undermine the rights of victims following their trucking accidents. Next, the bill goes back to the House, which must approve it before the governor can sign it. What Is HB 19? Under HB 19, trucking companies could only be held liable in accidents where it can be proven that the trucking company committed gross negligence (or extreme negligence) in their driver training and policies. This means that in most cases, the injury would only be able to sue the truck driver who was involved in the crash. This means that instead of suing the trucking business after a truck accident involving one of their vehicles, more victims would be limited to suing just the truck driver. It also means that there is a higher standard of proof that a plaintiff must meet if they wish to hold the trucking company accountable. That’s because, under the proposed law, evidence of a trucking company’s negligent hiring, training, or supervising practices could only be presented in the second phase of a trial after the truck driver is found negligent. Additionally, gross negligence requires a unanimous vote by the jury in Texas while the lower threshold requires a 10-out-of-12 vote. Unfortunately, because individual truck drivers have nowhere near the level of resources that trucking companies have, HB 19 could make it difficult for truck accident victims to obtain the right level of compensation for their life-altering injuries or the death of a loved one. Those in support of the bill argue that it is necessary to combat the rising number of lawsuits against motor vehicle carriers, which are said to be increasing insurance rates for trucking companies and hurting the industry. (Supporters of HB 19 include the Keep Texas Trucking Coalition and hundreds of Texas businesses.) However, some insurance industry analysts are skeptical of these claims, saying that the rising rates could be due to the natural business cycle of the insurance market, especially since all types of industries are experiencing increases in insurance rates premiums right now. The question we need to ask is this: Where do we draw the line between allowing trucking companies to protect their own business interests and making them take accountability for accidents caused by their fleets? Why should these companies be able to pass all the blame onto their drivers when the causes of truck accidents tend to be much more complex than just driver error? HB 19 will reduce insurance premiums for trucking companies while leaving accident victims without a road to recovery. About Trucking Accidents and the Trucking Industry in Texas With trucking serving as a major industry within the Texas economy, it’s no wonder that truck accidents are so prevalent and growing in this state. Not only does Texas lead the nation in truck accident fatalities, but there has also been a significant increase in the number of truck accidents in recent years. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trucking accidents increased by 27% in Texas between 2016 and 2019. To help you better understand the significance of the trucking industry in Texas, here are a few facts to consider: Texas has over 66,000 trucking companies and 185,000 employed truck drivers. 73% of all products manufactured in Texas are distributed by truck. As one of only four Mexico, with 85% of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico being carried by trucks. Because of Texas’ central location in the U.S., truck drivers can reach any other part of the continental U.S. within just 48 hours. Over 1.2 billion tons or $1.6 trillion of goods are carried by trucks on Texas highways each year, making up nearly half of all freight moved in the state. Texas’ major deep-water ports route a huge amount of foreign trade into the U.S., with the Port of Houston acting as the largest container port on the Gulf Coast. Texas is second only to California in both population and total miles traveled by vehicles every year, with trucks representing 12% of that traffic. Texas has the most extensive highway and interstate infrastructure in the country, with over 300,000 miles of public roadways in the state. It’s safe to say with these figures that trucking in Texas is here to stay. With such an active trucking industry, it’s critical to protect other motorists and pedestrians who share the road. Unfortunately, the new HB 19 bill does the opposite — limiting truck company liability and putting the lives of Texans at even greater risk when it comes to trucking accidents. How HB 19 Limits Liability for Trucking Companies Hundreds of families in Texas experience tragedy in trucking accidents every year. Because commercial trucks are larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, truck crashes often cause catastrophic injuries or death to other motorists and pedestrians. Personal injury cases filed for tractor-trailer accidents can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation for victims for the harm that they suffered. Holding Trucking Companies Responsible The trucking industry must abide by both state and federal laws when it comes to operating commercial vehicle fleets on the roads. Truck driver fatigue is a major problem that can often lead to serious accidents. The government’s safety regulations include rules and limits on the amount of cargo that trucks can carry, as well as the total length of time that truck drivers can work each day or week. Highway safety laws for the industry are constantly at odds with the profits of trucking companies — the more hours a driver can work, the faster deliveries can be completed, the better profit the company can make. As a result, many trucking operators break the rules or fail to properly enforce these policies, which can lead to tragic accidents. Lawsuits hold trucking companies responsible when they fail to operate in a way that takes the safety of others into consideration. The threat of having to pay a huge settlement to an accident victim helps keep trucking companies in line. By limiting the ability of accident victims to sue trucking companies, the law lowers the incentive for companies to prioritize safety over profits. How Personal Injury Lawsuits Protect Victims Personal injury lawsuits are an extremely important legal tool. They are a way for accident victims to hold trucking companies responsible for the damage that they cause. Lawsuits also help cover the cost of medical treatment, any income lost because of the accident, and other damages such as the cost of vehicle repair or replacement. The organization Public Citizen Texas argues that passing HB 19 “limits corporate liability and throws roadblocks into the recovery process for grieving families.” What does this new law mean for you and your family if you were injured in a truck crash? What options do you have if a loved one was killed by a commercial truck or big rig? HB 19 is NOT the Solution The truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm strongly oppose HB 19. If passed, the new law will let trucking companies in Texas off the hook for accidents involving their trucks. This dangerous bill makes it even harder for injury victims to recover the compensation they need to treat their injuries and move forward in life. Furthermore, while this bill is being proposed specifically for the state of Texas, if passed into law, it could become a trend that spreads to other states, putting victims at risk on a much larger scale. We implore you to stay informed about this issue and write to your legislators (if you live in Texas) to share any concerns you have about HB 19. And if you were hurt in a truck accident or you lost a loved one in this type of crash, make sure to take immediate action to consult with an experienced lawyer. Our award-winning truck accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm can help you seek maximum compensation for you. we take trucking accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay any legal fees unless you win your case. Call us at (800) 522-7274 for free consultation or fill out our online contact form.
5 Examples of Disability Discrimination Against Workers and Job Applicants
Disabled workers have the right to a dignified workplace and a career where they get the same opportunities as their typically abled coworkers. Unfortunately, some employers fail to support their disabled employees, discriminating against them instead. Below, we will explore five examples of disability discrimination that commonly occur in the workplace — but before that, it’s important to understand how the law defines disability discrimination. How Do You Know If You’re Protected Under Disability Discrimination Laws? Discrimination can be devastating for your career and health, and it is illegal in all 50 states under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some states even have additional laws that protect disabled workers on top of what they get under federal law. You are protected under the ADA if you are a qualified worker and: You have a physical or mental disability or impairment that substantially limits your ability to engage in one or more major life activities (basic tasks or bodily functions), You’ve had a history of disability or impairment (such as cancer in remission), or Your employer actually believes you are disabled, even if they are incorrect. You’re a qualified worker if you’re able to complete the job tasks that are fundamental to your position with or without reasonable accommodation by your company. The law requires your employer to work with you on adjustments or modifications that will allow you to complete your work – so long as the accommodations don’t create an “undue hardship” for the company. Disability discrimination can take many forms, not all of them easy to spot. Below are five of the most common examples of disability discrimination in the workplace. 1. Refusing to Hire a Job Applicant Based on Their Disability It may have happened to you. You had a promising phone interview with a new company but when you went in person, they cut the interview short and dismissed you once they saw your disability. Or you had a great interview process until you asked the company about reasonable accommodation for your disability and they retracted their job offer shortly after. According to the law, a prospective employer is generally not allowed to ask you disability-related questions or require you to get a medical examination until after they have made you a conditional job offer. There is, however, an exception. If you have an obvious disability or you willingly disclose your disability, the company can ask limited questions about what types of accommodations you would require (if any) prior to making an offer. After you get a job offer, the company can ask limited disability-related questions or require a medical exam as long as all applicants are treated the same way. Unfortunately, employers who discriminate rarely admit the real reason behind their decisions. Even if they refused you the job because of your disability, they could lie about why or offer a vague excuse like you simply weren’t a “good fit.” A qualified employment discriminatio lawyer may be able to help you uncover evidence that shows that disability was the basis of your rejection. 2. Firing or Demoting an Employee Because of Their Disability It is illegal for an employer to take any adverse or negative action against a qualifying worker based on a real or assumed disability. Adverse actions include: Firing you or demoting you from your position Terminating your employment contract Changing your schedule or cutting your hours Failing to assign you to priority projects Refusing to put you in a client-facing role Denying you deserved promotions while your coworkers progress Cutting you out of benefits that other employees enjoy Taking unfair disciplinary action against you Reducing your pay, salary, or benefits These types of actions can delay or even derail your career. They can also cause you mental and emotional anguish. It’s also illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint of disability discrimination. The law is on the side when it comes to protecting your rights. 3. Failing to Give Disabled Employees the Same Opportunities Your employer can’t treat you differently than other employees because you are disabled. That includes how they consider you for promotions and growth opportunities at the company. If your employer fails to consider you for a promotion or opportunity that you qualify for because of your disability, then you could have a legal claim for discrimination. When you file a successful legal claim or lawsuit based on disability discrimination, you could receive a settlement from your employer that recovers the wages, benefits, and bonuses you lost as a result of being passed up out of an opportunity. If you prove your case, your employer may also be on the hook to pay your legal fees and court costs. 4. Harassing an Employee Based on Their Disability Harassment is a serious workplace issue with major consequences for victims. Disability discrimination and harassment can lead to a toxic or hostile work environment, which can cause you stress, anxiety, depression, and mental anguish. You could be the target of harassment by a coworker, a supervisor, a subordinate, or even a non-employee such as a customer or third-party vendor. Unacceptable disability harassment at work could look like: Verbal harassment such as teasing, jokes, or slurs based on your disability Intrusive comments or questions about your disability at work Singling you out for different treatment based on your disability Refusing to offer reasonable accommodation for you to do your job Failing by management to stop harassing behavior once it’s reported Forcing you into positions that aggravate your disability Repeatedly making assumptions about your capabilities Your health is your own business. Disabled workers have the right to a workplace safe from harassment – a workplace that’s inclusive of all types of abilities. 5. Failing to Provide Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA, your employer actually has a legal responsibility to provide you with reasonable accommodations so that you can do your job. If your company fails to provide these adjustments or modifications, you can sue them for discrimination. A reasonable accommodation helps you complete your essential job duties. Examples include: Disability tools such as hearing aids or mobility aids The option to relocate your desk to an accessible area Schedule modifications based on your needs Protected leave time for medical treatments and care When offering accommodations, your employer must take an interactive approach by including you in the process and asking about your needs. Your company doesn’t have to provide the exact solution you ask for so long as they offer a similar plan that works. However, you are responsible for communicating your needs for accommodation – the law does not require your employer to guess what you need for you. Your employer must provide accommodation so long as doing so wouldn’t be an undue hardship. What Should You Do If You’re Experiencing Disability Discrimination at Work? Your company has a legal duty to protect its employees from disability discrimination. So when your employer treats you differently because of your disability or allows a hostile work environment to continue unopposed, they must answer to the law. Many people are afraid to bring up complaints of discrimination because of the threat of retaliation by their employers. But retaliation is illegal – you have the right to protect yourself. A knowledgeable employment discrimination lawyer can help you navigate the legal process of filing a claim or lawsuit. The attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm have helped protect employees’ rights for years, winning millions of dollars in total settlements. We know what you’re going through and what it’s like to face down a large company with deep pockets. Your employer may have an army of lawyers but that doesn’t intimidate us. We’re here to fight for you. Call our nationally recognized employment lawyers now at (800) 522-7274 or use our online contact form. Our award-winning team is on call 24/7 for a FREE consultation of your case. We work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay us unless you win your case.
6 Examples of Pregnancy Accommodations You Can Get at Work
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an employer with 15 or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. While some pregnant workers experience little to no change in their ability to do their jobs, pregnancy is a major physical condition and pregnant employees are protected under the law. If your employer refuses to accommodate you, you could file a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination. (To learn about your rights are as a victim of pregnancy discrimination, read this article.) United States federal law treats pregnancy similarly to a temporary disability, which is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pregnancy protections also extend to pregnancy-related conditions (such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, anemia, morning sickness, sciatica, leg swelling, depression, etc.) and to new mothers who have just given birth. What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy? A reasonable accommodation allows you to perform your essential work tasks without creating an undue burden for your employer. Under the law: Your employer must engage in an interactive process to provide you accommodation by asking about your needs and taking your input into consideration; You must be proactive in communicating your needs to your employer, as your company does not have the responsibility to guess your needs; Your company does not have to give you the exact accommodation you requested, as long as they provide you with a comparable solution that works; and Your employer may ask for a certificate from your doctor or medical care provider confirming that you need the accommodation. If your company refuses to offer reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy or another related condition, you could file a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against them. A lawsuit can help you recover the benefits you were denied that you are legally owed under federal law, along with compensation for the discrimination you had to suffer. So what does pregnancy accommodation look like in the workplace? What is a reasonable accommodation you can expect to get as a pregnant employee or an employee who has recently given birth? Below are five common examples: 1. Reduction of Physical Work (Light Duty) Pregnant people are often advised by their doctors to avoid engaging in strenuous activity such as lifting heavy objects. But what do you do if the essential functions of your job go against this advice? You can request temporary light duty instead of your regular tasks to protect your health. Your employer is required to treat your pregnancy the same as employees who have similar conditions that affect their abilities. So if your company provides light duty as an option for other employees with disabilities, they must also offer it to pregnant workers. Your employer cannot deny you this right simply because it would be inconvenient or more expensive for them. If you are unable to do the regular tasks of your job because of your pregnancy or recent childbirth, temporary light duty offers you the option to complete less physically intensive duties rather than take medical leave. However, you should never be pressured into accepting a light duty assignment instead of taking your legally protected leave. 2. Breastfeeding and Pumping Facilities at Work Breastfeeding mothers have the right to take time at work to take care of their lactating needs. In fact, breastfeeding facilities are required under federal law. According to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law passed by Congress in 2010, companies covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must provide accommodations at work for pregnant workers to breastfeed or pump. The accommodation must offer a private space for lactating or breastfeeding that is not a bathroom. In addition, you get a reasonable amount of break time to handle your lactating, pumping, and breastfeeding needs as a paid break. But everybody is different and this “reasonable” standard may change based on how quickly the process goes for you or the efficiency of your pumping machine. You only need to clock out if you need extra time beyond what’s reasonable. The law allows you to take a lactating break once every few hours, as needed. 3. Schedule Adjustments for Doctor’s Appointments Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions often require frequent visits to doctor’s offices, especially if your pregnancy comes with additional health complications. U.S. law recognizes this reality for many pregnant workers and protects their right to take care of their health as well as the health of their baby. Workers on the job from 9-5 may struggle to find appointments outside of their work hours — but no one should have to miss important doctor’s appointments because of an inflexible work schedule. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, your employer must provide reasonable accommodation on your work schedule so you can get the medical attention you need. In addition, your company must allow schedule adjustments such as reduced or modified hours. 4. Medical Leave for Pregnancy-Related Treatment If you work for a company with over 15 employees, you can get unpaid medical leave for pregnancy-related conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Work-leave is considered to be a reasonable accommodation under the law. The ADA does not specify how much leave time an employee can take — rather, the reasonable accommodation must be determined on an individual employee basis, considering each worker’s disability and the job position they hold. If your employer qualifies for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers who are pregnant or have recently given birth can take up to 12 months of unpaid, protected leave. That means your job or a similar position will be waiting for you when you get back. Some states even offer additional family and medical leave benefits, especially states that have strong worker protection laws (California, for example). You can take your legally protected leave in parts, intermittently, or all at once — whichever works the best for you. 5. The Ability to Sit Even for Typically Standing Jobs A simple task like standing can become excruciatingly difficult when your body is carrying and supporting a baby, especially if you’re on your feet for hours at a time. Workers who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth can request seating even when their jobs normally require standing. Your employer could provide a stool or a chair or even an ergonomic solution that helps manage the physical symptoms of your condition. Small, simple accommodations like seating can make a huge difference for pregnant employees. You may also request accommodations like the ability to keep food or drinks at your workstation even if they’re not normally allowed. 6. The Ability to Work Remotely The ability to work remotely can be a game-changer and lifesaver for employees dealing with the effects of pregnancy or the aftermath of childbirth. If you're able to complete your job remotely without creating an undue burden for your company, you could request remote work as a pregnancy accommodation. This option may be ideal for pregnant women who are especially hard-hit with pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness or who are ordered to bed rest. What to Do If You’re Experiencing Pregnancy Discrimination Pregnancy and other related conditions create additional challenges and difficulties for employees who are just trying to do their work. Real, concrete accommodations can help ease the burdens that pregnant workers carry into the workplace. If your employer refuses to make reasonable accommodations as required under the law, you could file a complaint, legal claim, or lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant employees have rights under the law. If your employer denies your rights, you can turn to the law for a legal remedy. A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit can lead to a settlement or judgment that compensates you for any damages you've suffered or income you've lost as a result of your employer's failure to accommodate you as required by law. Additionally, it's also illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for complaining about pregnancy discrimination. Retaliation happens when a company takes negative action against an employee for exercising their legal rights — for example, by firing or demoting them. The employment lawyers at the Wilshire Law Firm have years of experience fighting for the rights of pregnant workers to get the accommodations they need at work. If your company has failed to accommodate your needs around your pregnancy, you should talk to our nationally recognized legal team about your case as soon as possible. Our top-rated attorneys are available 24/7 for your convenience and we work on a contingency fee basis so you don't pay us until we recover compensation for you. Call us at (800) 522-7274 or fill out our contact form now for your FREE case consultation.