William Cafaro by cjleclaire
Employment Law,Medical Malpractice,Personal Injury Lawyers
May 17, 2016 | 27120 views | 0 0 comments | 238 238 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Important New Rights for Freelancers in NYC
by cjleclaire
Feb 14, 2017 | 22276 views | 5 5 comments | 632 632 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Article:By William Cafaro

Important New Rights for Freelancers in NYC

  "Freelance Isn't Free" Bill Passes in NYC, What Does it Mean?

New York City Passes Freelancer Wage Protection Law

The new law covers individuals who provide services, and is only available in the City of New York:

New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | The Bronx

What Does This New Law Mean for Me, as a Freelancer?

It basically gives you the same state law labor rights as employees have. This is HUGE.  It gives you the right to double damages  - $2,000.00 for every $1,000.00 of the agreed price of the work.

If you win, the company will have to pay you a 100% penalty, plus your attorneys’ fees and your court costs.

Why will it be different now?

Now you will be able to get a lawyer to sue without paying out of pocket. This is called: “Contingency Fee”  You Don’t Pay any Legal Fee , Unless You Win

  • Then the attorney gets a percentage of the fee. You have nothing to lose!
  • The people that hired you will have to take your lawsuit more seriously now, because they will have to pay double damages.
  • They will have to pay your attorney’s fees if they lose, which could be more than the amount that you were supposed to be paid in the first place.
  • In practical terms, this also means that your case will be easier to settle, and will resolve in less time.

What if the company never gave me anything in writing saying how much I’d be paid?

  • A written contract is now required.
  • If you asked for a written contract and none is given to you, that’s a violation that you can now sue for, in and of itself.
  • In employment law cases, if the employer doesn’t keep any records, your word is presumed to be right, as long as what you’re claiming is reasonable. This is another issue that will have to develop in the courts when the law goes into effect.

What Practical Difference Will this new “ Freelance Isn’t Free” law mean to me?

Now, a lot of companies just aren’t paying you because you have so few legal rights, and they’re just not worried about you suing them. Until this law was passed, most lawyers were not willing to do these cases for a percentage of what they got for you at the end (this is called a “contingency fee”, explained above); they wanted you to pay their legal bills by the hour up front, which you couldn’t afford to do. THIS CHANGES ALL THAT.

If I was hired to do the job by a single individual, as opposed to a company, will this law apply?

Yes, it will.

I consider myself a Freelancer, but how do I know if I can use this new law?

  • It only applies to “organizations of no more than one person”, but if you have a corporation or a d/b/a name, that’s OK.
  • If you have salaried employees on a regular basis, this law may not apply to you.
  • If you use independent contractors or people to help you on an “as needed” basis, you probably will be able to use this law, but:

These issues, and others, will be fought between “us” and “them” when it goes into effect. It will only apply to jobs for $800 or more.

When is this law going into effect?

On May 16, 2017. It will only apply to contracts entered into on or after the effective date

 Where can I find the new law?

New York City Passes Freelancer Wage Protection Law: "Freelance Isn't Free" Here’s the link:

http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2530972&GUID=61F8754B-80AF-493E-895E-D6D17209776Ehttp://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2530972&GUID=61F8754B-80AF-493E-895E-D6D17209776E
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What if My Boss Was a Strong Trump Supporter, but I voted for Hillary (or the Other Way Around)?
by cjleclaire
Jan 20, 2017 | 26068 views | 15 15 comments | 882 882 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

by Bill Cafaro

What Rights Do I Have if This Causes Me a Problem at Work?

Employees of Private Businesses:

What about the First Amendment? Can’t I say whatever I want?

  • Yes, you can say anything you want under the First Amendment, but your boss is allowed to fire you or take action against you at work for it – Private Employees have no First Amendment protection against being fired or demoted under Federal Law.

Do I have Any Legal Protection at Work at All?

  • Yes, there is a New York State law that gives you some protection, Labor Law § 201-d. It says that no employer can discriminate in hiring, firing or conditions of employment against anyone for political activity.

What Political Activity is Protected?

  • running for public office,
  • campaigning for a candidate for public office, or
  • participating in fund-raising activities for a candidate, political party or political advocacy group.

Example: A records clerk for the Nassau County legislature was fired from his job less than four months after an election in which Republicans took control of the Legislature, and claimed that he had gone door to door for Democratic candidates, volunteered at phone banks, and distributing campaign literature.  The Legislature argued that it had let him go due to budget cuts, the fired clerk argued that the need for budget cuts arose only because the Legislature had hired three new employees—all Republican. His claim was valid Fishman v. County of Nassau, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47071, 2013 WL 1339466 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 1, 2013),

  • Absolutely not. Remember also that there will be generally little or no protection for any political activities conducted during work hours, on the employer’s premises, or using the employer’s equipment or materials; It gives you protection for what you do on your own time. Whether a simple one time statement of political affiliation at work is protected is not really clear from the law, and can probably be argued either way, but the more extensive the speech is at work, the better chance the boss will win. If the employee is wearing a campaign button for a particular candidate and the employer says to take it off, they should do it and put it back on when they leave work.

Remember – The General Rule is That There is No Free Speech Right When You Work for a Private (non-government) Employer on His Time. The law we’re talking about here provides some protection, but that protection is limited; it is by no means absolute.

Are Government Employees (Federal, State, City, County, etc.) Political Speech Rights Protected?

  •  Yes – They have much stronger federal law protection under the First Amendment. The First Amendment generally prohibits government officials from dismissing or disciplining an employee because of the employee’s engagement in political activity. One recent Supreme Court case,  Heffernan v. City of Paterson, 136 S. Ct. 1412  (U.S. 2016) protected a police officer who took a campaign sign for someone challenging the mayor to his disabled mother on his own time. The police chief, who had been appointed by the current mayor, demoted him. Even though he wasn’t campaigning himself and had no interest in the election, he was just doing a favor for his mother, he was protected, because to hold otherwise would frighten the other employees from exercising their political speech rights – what courts call a “chilling effect.”

But here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The speech always has to be about a matter of public concern, and if it is, the employee’s right, as a citizen, to engage in the speech has to be weighed by the Court against the interests of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs, Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 (U.S. 1968).
  • This can also cover rights of political association; and
  • In order to be protected, it must generally be on the employee’s own time, without using the employer’s premises or materials; and
  • Anything a public employee says in the course of his/her employment will not be protected. Example: If an employee of the Mayor’s Office makes any statement on the news in his/her official capacity, the Mayor can fire or discipline them for anything they say or don’t say, whether it’s true or not. Remember also that policy making and confidential employees probably can be dismissed just based on their political affiliation where the employer can show that party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the effective performance of the public office involved,  Vezzetti v. Pellegrini,22 F.3d 483, 1994 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1994).

If you have strong political views which are very different from those of your employer, you should probably avoid any confrontation and get legal advice first as to how to best protect yourself. Call the Law Offices of William Cafaro at 212-583-7400 before you take any action like this.

 

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Very Important News for you, If you work more than 40 hours per week for the same weekly salary
by cjleclaire
Jan 12, 2017 | 21472 views | 4 4 comments | 722 722 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I work way more than 40 hours a week for the same weekly salary. My boss says that he doesn’t have to pay me anything for my overtime hours. Is this true?

  • It depends. Under the old rule, Anyone who earned a weekly salary of at least $455 per week and was considered Executive or Administrative was exempt from the overtime laws, and did not have to be paid for their overtime hours at all. In order to be exempt, the employee has to have what’s called “substantial discretion”, which means that they have to be able to make some pretty important decisions on their own on a regular basis. Various other conditions have to be met as well. This usually includes supervisors, managers, and certain office people who make important decisions. Many times when the boss says that you are not entitled to overtime, you might very well be, and you won’t know without asking an Employment Lawyer.

How is the New Rule Different?

  • The biggest change in the rule is a big increase in the minimum weekly salary.

How Much Did it Go Up?

  • In New York City, the minimum salary is now either $825 a week if the business has 11 or more employees. It is $787.50 per week if the business has 10 employees or less. Outside the City, these limits are a little lower.

What’s the Practical Effect of This Rule for Me?

  • Your boss now has to do one of two things if you are salaried and considered executive or administrative: 1) Increase your salary to the $787.50 - $825 per week level or 2) Start paying you time and a half when you work more than 40 hours.

When Does the New Rule Go Into Effect?

  • This rule goes into effect on December 31, 2016.

What’s so great about this?

  • These exemptions were originally meant for highly-paid employees who had better benefits, job security and opportunities for advancement, but because the minimum salary cutoff is hasn’t changed for such a long time and was far too low, many middle class workers, managers, and people with executive duties had no right to overtime protection. Their employers forced them to work ridiculous hours at no additional labor cost, any they legally couldn’t do anything about it.
  • This will change all that, and require employers to either i) raise their salaries; or ii) pay them time and a half for their overtime; iii) give them more time off; or iv) some combination of those things. This is a win/win for all the workers covered by it. The employer will now have to be conscious of how long he is making his employees stay, or start paying them more money.

Where Can I Find the Actual NY State Law?

  • If you want to read the new rule, at p. 11 § 142-2.14.

Was There Any Change in the Federal Rule on This?

  • By order of President Obama, the U.S. Dept. of Labor enacted a new federal rule that would have raised the minimum weekly salary to $913 per week, but a judge has already stopped it from going into effect. The new Secretary of Labor appointed by President Trump, Andrew Puzder, (who became very wealthy in the fast food industry) is strongly opposed to any increases in the minimum wage, so the new federal rule will not go into effect. So much for President Trump helping the working man.
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NY Employment, Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Lawyers
by cjleclaire
May 17, 2016 | 21703 views | 4 4 comments | 404 404 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Our Blog—A Place to Learn More about Our Practice

Employment Law | Personal Injury | Medical Malpractice | Construction Site Accidents | Premises Liability | Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When you are involved in a legal dispute, whether you're experiencing unfair treatment at work, or you've been hurt because of someone else's carelessness, you want to be represented by attorneys who understand the law and the process, and who have proven their ability to get results for their clients. That's exactly what you'll get when you hire the Law Offices of William Cafaro. We've obtained several multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients, and always use our considerable experience, knowledge, skill and resources to pursue maximum compensation for our clients.

In this blog, we'll offer insights into legal issues, so that you can be a more effective participant in your legal issue. We'll address a wide range of topics, including:

Employment Law

  • How to know if you have an overtime, discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge or other work-related claim
  • The best ways to protect your rights when you are being treated unfairly at work
  • What you can expect in terms of damages or other legal redress when you have a problem at work
  • What to expect from your employer during a work-related dispute
  • Any relevant changes in employment law

Truck-Accidents

Personal Injury

  • Construction site accidents, from falls and falling objects to dangerous and defective equipment or machinery, construction site motor vehicle accidents and negligence in hiring, monitoring or training
  • Medical malpractice, including failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, surgical error, prescription error and anesthesia error
  • Premises liability, such as slips and falls, dog bites, deck collapse
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse, including dehydration or malnutrition, falls, bedsores, failure to monitor or properly restrain, medication errors
  • Car, truck, motorcycle, mass transit, bus, light rail, commuter train and other motor vehicle accidents

Experienced and Effective Employment and Personal Injury Lawyers

Our attorneys and staff take a comprehensive approach to employment and personal injury actions, combining thorough preparation with extensive courtroom skills. We understand the stress and anxiety that accompany a personal injury, and place a premium on being available and accessible when you need answers to your questions.

To learn how we can protect your rights, call (212)583-7400 for a free case evaluation or contact our offices online.

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