FANTASYLAND

This is a Presidential election year, and this month I listened to many fine speeches given by and on behalf of both the Democratic and Republican candidates.  Even their children were drafted into extolling the virtues of their respective parents. All of the speeches outlined the virtues of each of the candidates and painted the other as the devil incarnate.  But, if the truth be told, each of the candidates carry considerable baggage.  Each of the candidates was most likely an absentee parent, despite their children alleging otherwise. Each of the candidates either had, or were rumored to have, extramarital affairs.  Neither candidate has stellar reputations for honesty and fair dealing.  Each of the candidates have had their character questioned.

 

Does the above mean that the candidates should not be elected as President? No, it just means that they are human, and that they are subject to the same human frailties as every other human.  It does mean that they have had the good fortune, the tenacity, the financial resources, the human network, or most likely a combination of all of them, to rise above and/or overcome their issues to the level where they are considered Presidential candidate material.

 

However, for most of the rest of us, we are not as fortunate. Both of the candidates’ daughters are married to men whose family members have served time in prison for some type of financial fraud.  Both of the candidates have suffered severe financial losses and incurred large debt.  Both of the candidates have made statements or signed documents and later disputed that they made the statements, or that the documents they signed are valid.  Yet, how many of us can so easily walk away from our problems in life and run for office.

 

The reason I titled this blog Fantasyland is because I encounter many people who appear to be in fantasyland with regard to the law and their legal issues.  I will give you some examples.

 

Lady A called me because she was uncertain if her brother was operating under a valid power of attorney allegedly signed by her mother, and if the power of attorney was valid, whether he was exceeding his authority under the power of attorney.  After patiently explaining to her the many factors that have to be considered in such an analysis, and that the law recently changed in Pennsylvania regarding powers of attorney, she appeared frustrated that I did not have a quick answer for her, and then asked me to explain all aspects of the new law to her. She, as well as others who call me, do not seem to respect that the law is complex, is ever changing, is often formatted depending on a particular set of facts, that just because laws exist, often they are not enforced, and that lawyers have a purpose, training and knowledge which laypeople usually do not possess.

 

Lady B, a doctor employed by a hospital, who earns a high salary, called me because she signed a non-compete agreement which requires her to notify her employer a certain number of months in advance if she wishes to not renew her contract. The penalty for not providing this notice is that she will owe her employer one (1) year’s salary. Yet she appeared to believe that because she did not think her employer had treated her fairly, she could just walk away from this penalty, and her employer would not pursue her. She also was reluctant to spend a small amount for a lawyer to determine if her employer would agree not to enforce the contract. These types of problems usually do not resolve themselves, so the decision to save a small amount in hiring a lawyer could have major repercussions for her and result in large legal fees if her employer sues her for violating the terms of the agreement.

 

Gentleman C contacted me because his bank account has been attached.  The only way this could happen aside from a family law court action is if the person had a court judgment entered against him.  This type of call is becoming more common in our office.  Many people are aware that they have been sued, and either did not respond or did not appeal from said suit. They apparently feel that no one can do anything against them to collect the funds owed, and then they are shocked when their bank account is frozen and the funds attached.  These judgments remain valid for many years (21 years in Pennsylvania) for money judgments. Other persons may not have known about the existence of said lawsuits because they had moved or had otherwise not been served with the legal papers. Yet, they have not been vigilant about monitoring their credit reports.

 

I also hear from intelligent individuals who own and operate their own businesses, who encounter problems because they do not realize that their business skills do not mean they have the knowledge and experience equivalent to lawyers.  Unfortunately, they usually ask us to represent them after they have done things, made statements, or taken actions which have seriously disadvantaged them.

 

So, the lesson I hope to impart in this blog is although there are many things in life we cannot control, there are many things we can.  It is important to contact a lawyer and seek a perspective that may be different than the perspective you currently have, as the legal process is complex and often fraught with many treacherous trenches.  Although there may be a fee involved, often the cost savings is enormous. So, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish in consulting with and hiring a lawyer.

 

 

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GOVERNMENT AGENCY MORASS

Another Presidential race year is upon us. Not only is it upon us, but it seems like news about the aspiring Presidential candidates is being ingrained in our pores. If the strategy of politicians and the media is to annoy us, exhaust us, shock us, and nearly destroy our faith in the democratic process, they have accomplished these things this year.

 

I will not discuss individual Presidential candidates or their views, or my candidate preferences, but I want to discuss the state of our local, state and federal government agenciesfrom the perspective of our attorneys, who deal with these agencies on a regular basis.  Due to our interaction with these agencies I fear for the state of our government. I was going to title this blog “We Need a Revolution”, but I thought the CIA might visit me if I did. But clearly, some action has to be taken to shake up the stagnant agencies we interact with.

 

Our taxes support government agencies and pay for their staff. Yet nearly in every instance in which we deal with government agencies, we are forced to deal with incompetent and unconcerned staff who apparently lack the skills, knowledge, intelligence, common sense, and training, that they should possess in order to do their jobs.  Not only is dealing with these staffers frustrating, anger provoking, and time consuming, but it is often expensive for our clients, who are paying us for the time to straighten out what these staffers have usually messed up.

 

The bottom line, however, is that the action or inaction of these staffers seriously and adversely affects the lives of our clients, many of whom have no choice but to deal with government agencies because they have become disabled and are no longer able to work.

 

Although I can provide many examples of the incompetence of we regularly deal with, today I will limit my examples to the Social security Administration (“SSA”). Nearly any interaction we have with the SSA makes us want to run screaming from the room.   For example:

 

  • The SSA disability process has gone electronic for the most part. That is good. But, that does not mean that the SSA age-old practice of losing, misplacing, and/or saying they never received documents from attorneys has ceased. In nearly all of our cases, despite sending in the required forms notifying the SSA of our representation, SSA staff act as if they have never heard from us, and often we have to send out the same forms three or four times.

 

  • The SSA has a good trick to collect money. They frequently tell people who have been approved for and who are receiving disability payments that they have been overpaid.  It is scary for a disabled person who relies on SSA benefits for their livelihood to receive a letter they perceive as threatening from a federal agency.

 

My experience with these overpayment demands and requests is that they are often bogus, based on faulty calculations, and based on faulty presumptions. Regardless, the SSA terminates the benefits of recipients during the pendency of a years-long appeal process. While the SSA may be ultimately be proven wrong, recipients are stranded without income for years due to these mistaken overpayment demands. The SSA likes to play “gotcha” and claim the recipient failed to comply with a particular obligation or duty. This is often laughable. No SSA employee knows everything about the myriad of SSA regulations, laws and guidelines, as they are “trained” in only a small and particular aspect of the law. To blame a disabled recipient for not doing something to comply with often obtuse requirements is totally inequitable and ridiculous. Yet, I venture to say that most recipients repay SSA the alleged overpayment because they are in fear of the SSA.

 

  • SSA files at SSA offices, either in electronic format, or paper format, if they are older files, are frequently incomplete and do not match up to the files maintained by attorneys. In a recent case a judge said he did not appreciate our sending medical paperwork a day prior to the hearing. We stated that we did so because the prior paperwork we sent was not on the record, so we resent it. He stated that the records we sent previously were in his file, but had not been entered on a record we could review online. Ok, this theory is like Alice in Wonderland encountering strange things in the rose garden. Lawyers are frequently criticized by administrative law judges for not creating a complete record, which is often very difficult as we have to rely on receiving records from medical providers who are busy themselves. But we are then criticized for making certain the record is complete.

 

Aside from the SSA, I recently had arguments with staffers at two government agencies, one state and one federal, because they insisted on dealing directly with our clients. Our clients engaged us because they are ill and need professional guidance in maneuvering the procedural obstacles between their illness and relief. So what is the point of eliminating the attorneys from this process? There is rational answer to this question.

 

So, my recommendation is let’s all spend less time arguing about politics and more time determining how we can fix our very broken government agencies.

 

 

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THE LUCK OF THE DRAW

In nearly every matter we work on, we deal with opposing counsel. I have realized that the single most significant feature in how a matter proceeds, and indeed how a matter is concluded, is based on the personality, reputation, character, work habits, ethics, knowledge, and practice of that opposing counsel. I have identified various characteristics that attorney who have been our opposing counsel possess, and this blog discusses them. Although I have used the pronoun “he”, these descriptions apply to lawyers of both sexes.

 

The Missing in Action Lawyer.   This type of lawyer may initial return telephone calls or e mail promptly, or may even agree to resolve a matter, but gradually becomes less responsive, or sometimes disappears entirely over time. By “disappears”, I mean that the lawyer is still alive, but becomes less and less responsive.  I assume that the reasons leading to the disappearing lawyer are one or more, such as the lawyer becomes involved in other matters, the lawyer becomes bogged down with deadlines or litigation, the lawyer doesn’t manage his time well, the lawyer is lacking in the necessary administrative support necessary, the lawyer has health and/or family problems, or worse, such as substance abuse.  It is very frustrating dealing with a lawyer like this.  In one instance, a lawyer has referred me several good cases, but whenever I have tried to contact the lawyer to communicate my thanks, I have never received a return acknowledgement. In another case, although the other attorney and I agreed early-on on the terms of an agreement, it took many months until I was able to receive the written agreement from the other attorney. This latter situation is frustrating because the attorney did not communicate the reasons for his delays, and my weekly contacts urging his response were usually ignored. Although my client was understanding about the delay, other clients may have become frustrated in this situation.

 

The Bully.  This type of lawyer’s tactics is to threaten other lawyers with legal sanctions, disregard what other lawyers say, file unnecessary motions, conduct unnecessary or voluminous discovery not warranted by the case, refuse to discuss settlement in a rational manner, uses profanity, makes sexist comments to female lawyers, has no respect for his fellow lawyers, and generally digs his heels in the sand, hoping that the other lawyers in the case will drop the case or settle for a low amount because he is so obnoxious. Generally other lawyers have to work around him or assume more of the settlement just to get the case resolved. When I have had the rare instance of dealing with a bully, I make certain that other lawyers are aware of this lawyer’s tactics and demeanor.

 

The Inexperienced Lawyer.  I sometimes call these lawyers “baby lawyers”, because although they tend to have less than five years of legal experience, regardless of their actual age, they do not have the experience which can give them the confidence of realizing that their client looks upon them for legal advice, and in fact, that is their responsibility, to give their client their opinion or legal advice.  Often baby lawyers act as mouthpieces for their clients, do exactly what their clients want them to do even if they inwardly disagree with their clients, and are often afraid to disagree with their clients in the event the client is displeased and terminates their services or their firm’s services, in which case the lawyer may often lose his job. It is not unusual that a lawyer who does not properly advise his client often costs his client much more in the long-run. An experienced lawyer usually understands that a case that is settled can be far less expensive than a case that is lost, or even if not lost, that the litigation expenses often exceed the amount a case can be settled for.

 

The Wimp.  I feel that lawyers have a professional responsibility to their clients, opposing counsel, and the court system to guide clients through the legal process, because they are familiar with the process and their clients are generally not. Even if their client has been involved with the legal system, it may have been or be in a different area of the law, in a different court, etc.  Many people have complained to me that they have not been pleased with their former lawyers because they just “stood there” in court. Although I try and explain that sometimes a lawyer should not argue or engage with a hostile opposing counsel, or even a judge, and that just because the client wants their lawyer to do exactly what the client wants, it may disadvantage them in the long run.  On the other hand, I have been witness to ineffective lawyers who don’t even appear to be present in the room, and are not familiar with their client’s case, or seem to be counting the minutes when they can leave.

 

So, the moral of this blog is that lawyers can usually only control themselves, and the manner in which a case proceeds greatly depends on who is on the other side of a case.  Based on the axiom “you can draw more flies with honey than vinegar” I try and preserve my reputation by putting forth my most professional and charming demeanor as a lawyer, at least initially. My good reputation has many times resulted in good results in a prompt fashion, as opposing lawyers provide me with respect, and provide my client’s case with respect, and we spend time discussing the merits of the case, rather than who can be the nastiest troublemaker.

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YOU CAN’T TEACH ETHICS

Although lawyers, at least in Pennsylvania, are required to take ethics courses as part of their continuing legal education requirements, my personal philosophy is that ethics are not something that can generally be taught. Each person possesses his/her own set of morals, standards, ethics, beliefs, feelings, etc., and one person’s version of what is ethical is not often the same as another person’s. Furthermore, over the course of time, society’s standards and guidelines shift and what was formerly considered immoral or unethical may no longer be considered so; and these shifts and changes are ongoing and have become part of the fabric of society. These changes are happening at breakneck speed in the Internet age, where it seems like anything goes. The other day I wanted to listen to music on my iphone and I selected the category “pop music”. I was asked whether I wanted to listen to “clean lyrics” or not. It seems so quaint now that many years ago, Tipper Gore, the then-wife of Vice President Al Gore, appealed to Congress to limit obscene songs and lyrics, when rap music was just beginning. Obviously, that battle is long-lost.

 

So, back to the topic of ethics. As a lawyer in Pennsylvania, it is embarrassing to consider the many stories we are assaulted with daily in newspapers, magazines, news reports and social media, involving government officials and judges. I can’t recall a time in my long career when there was so much lurid publicity about elected government officials and judges, their staff, cohorts, advisors, etc. Although I like to believe that the majority of judges are hardworking, honest, and ethical, anyone reading these accounts would gain the impression that many of the judges making up judicial system in Pennsylvania are engaged in a cesspool of graft, dishonesty, corruption, self-interest and pornography.

 

Unfortunately, in some ways the Pennsylvania legal system seems to operate like the Wild West, with few guidelines, regulations or controls, and with little interest of the majority to place guidelines on judges in the system. I am not even certain that if guidelines were established that they would have any effect if the elected officials and judges do not believe that what they are saying or doing is unethical, immoral, and in some cases, dishonest.

 

Day after day we are assaulted with stories involving the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, her current staff, her former staff, Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin, and the list goes on. The former Sheriff of Philadelphia has recently been indicted, Chief Supreme Court Judge McCaffrey resigned under a cloud, and many judges are being disciplined, fined and/or jailed for actions they take which are intended to benefit themselves, their families, and their friends. Once they are accused, they rarely take personal responsibility for their actions, and instead blame others for their actions.

 

And, let us not even dwell on what constitutes conflicts of interest in the law. That term appears to have totally gone by the wayside, and even the courts are ruling very liberally on what constitutes a firewall (a term that means a firm is taking action to separate various lawyers within the firm from working on matters which are perceived to be a conflict of interest that other lawyer or themselves have worked on, or are working on). I have yet to have an opposing lawyer admit to me that they or their firm have a conflict of interest, when to me, that is clearly the case.

 

So what used to pass for ethics is being surpassed by greed, stupidity, lying, racism, sexism and lack of morals. As I said, my belief is that one either has ethics or one does not. In my opinion, it follows that a person who does not have the self-control or intelligence to determine how to act ethically can certainly not learn ethics from attending a class.

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DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING

One would think that in this day and age most people realize that seeking legal help for various matters is not a luxury, but a necessity. Yet it appears that many people equate visiting a lawyer to visiting a dentist – they will only visit if it is a dire emergency, and they often have to be dragged there, kicking and screaming.

 

Every day we receive telephone calls from people with serious legal issues who are consulting a lawyer often years down the road from when they should have consulted a lawyer. For example, their delay in consulting a lawyer has often resulted in their losing a piece of property to foreclosure, fraud, or sheriff’s sale, or walking away from an inheritance they were entitled to receive, which they did not receive because of fraud or malfeasance of the person who was administering or probating the estate of the person they were to inherit from.  In other areas of the law, when they call a lawyer they learn they have missed a deadline in which to file a complaint or initiate a lawsuit, as the majority of legal matters have strict statutes of limitations in which some action must be taken, or the ability to take that action will be lost forever. In other matters the person has permitted someone else, a family member, a non-profit agency, a nursing home, a neighbor or a friend, to assume responsibility for a relative, often legal responsibility, which has left them out of the decision-making loop for that person’s care and/or the ability to make financial decisions for that person. This delay often arises in family law as well when married couples, who no longer have a good relationship, take actions which will impact them at a later date, such as making agreements with each other which are not memorialized in writing, or have no legal process in which to support their agreements.

 

So, the good old days when most people had to consult with a lawyer on a rare occasion are behind us. I can think of very few instances in our current society in which a lawyer should be at least consulted, and as necessary, retained. The law is not going to go away. It is part of everyone’s life. There are hundreds of thousands of laws on the books, and the law is a vibrant thing, often changing daily, as it is interpreted and modified by government entities and regulatory bodies and changes in interpretation of the law made through judicial decisions. I suggest that people take the necessary action to be more safe than sorry. If some matter is not handled correctly initially, it will be far more difficult and expensive to straighten it out at a later date.

 

It appears to be human nature that people do not want to make the hard decisions that they feel will confront them. Below is a quote that seems to sum up why people do not seek legal advice in a timely fashion, and even if they seek that advice, why they are reluctant to take it, often causing detriment to themselves and their loved ones.

“It may be difficult to believe that we can learn from adversity, yet it is our best teacher. It can open our eyes to things we couldn’t see before; it can make us grow in ways we never knew; it can give us the precious gift of compassion. It can teach us a universal truth: life is not fair; and if we are thoughtful, it could lead us to God.” Maurice Lamm.

So, although consulting a lawyer and taking a lawyer’s advice, and doing the thing which has to be done, may be difficult, uncomfortable, and cost money, it is often necessary. It may, in the long run, teach us something, may open our eyes to approaching the things we do in our lives in a different manner than we have considered before, and can make us grow. It is true that life is not fair, and often the law is not fair. But, as I tell my clients, “you will enjoy having a lawyer in your corner for your current matter and for any future matters that you may encounter”. Having a lawyer in our corner will not always lead us to God, if that is what we are indeed interested in, but it can lead to a state of grace in conducting our lives as required by the law.

 

 

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A Personal Touch

I am going to toot my own horn. Having just concluded the winter holiday season, it has caused me to reflect on the way the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. does business. We employ a personal touch, which has, and does, serve us well. The manner in which our Firm develops and keeps relationships with our clients, develops and keeps relationships with other attorneys and law firms, and the manner in which we stay in contact with former attorneys and other staff who have worked for us, I believe distinguishes us from many lawyers and law firms who and which I have encountered.

 

This personal relationship extends to the personal note I sometimes add to the thousand or so holiday cards we send each year, the gifts I personally select for some of the vendors we do business with, and the fact that many of the attorneys who formally worked with our Firm, often going back many years, on a part-time or full-time basis, stop by and visit with us regularly, attend our office parties and refer cases to us.

 

Our clients are primarily individuals and the owners of small companies. Our clients are not large corporations who we charge premium rates so we can be at their beck and call. Yet, we are very responsive to our clients, and try and provide the best possible service in the shortest possible time. The types of matters we handle for our clients require us to become very familiar with their personalities, their concerns, and their lives. For our business clients, we are asked to advise on all manner of issues, whether it involves business formation, tax issues, landlord tenant issues, employee issues, etc. It is for the above reasons that many of our clients are repeat clients, refer many friends, relatives and co-workers to us who become clients, and provide us with testimonials about our services.

 

Recently I have encountered several situations where I have dealt with other attorneys who do not practice in the Philadelphia area who I felt spectacularly failed in their duties as lawyers as well as their responsibilities as human beings. One lawyer has referred us a number of clients, yet when I have contacted her to thank her for the referrals, by telephone and e mail, and invited her to holiday parties two years in a row, she has never responded. Recently I asked her to provide information only she had about a client she referred as she is representing him in another matter, despite numerous attempts to reach her, she never responded. Needless to say, this lack of response can disadvantage the matter we are handling for him. When we informed our client about our inability to reach her he originally stated she was busy, but based on his interactions with her, or perhaps his lack of interaction, he is now seeking new counsel for his other matter.

A second lawyer represented a buyer in a real estate transaction in which I was the seller in New Jersey. Various issues arose and I was forced to deal with him, although I had tried to be hands-off and not act like a lawyer, just a seller. Settlement was delayed due to a new federal law, which caused some confusion in the paperwork. A couple of days before the settlement I left him several messages and several e mails. He never responded, and when I reached him the following morning he said he could not return my calls or e mails because he was in meetings all day, but if I needed him later that day he would be in his office the entire day. When I called him later that day I was told he was “in a meeting”, and he never called back or responded to questions about the settlement paperwork which was confusing. On the following day, the day of the settlement, his prior lack of response caused confusion, and when I asked him why he did not respond the day before he stated that he did not agree with my position, so why should he bother to respond. I will chalk up his attitude to lack of experience or rudeness, but the difference between the way our Firm practices law, and the way he conducted himself, is night and day. His attitude turned what should have been a cordial situation into a less than cordial one.

I have also encountered other lawyers lately who have told me the clients I wanted to refer to them can represent themselves and they don’t have to get involved. This was surprising to me, both as a business owner who is pleased to have business, and because I rarely permit clients to represent themselves due to lack of knowledge with the legal system, or possible harm to their situation.

Well, to each his own, and different people do different things, but if one has decided and trained to be a lawyer, it is surprising to me that they do not act professionally or they don’t want to provide services. This Firm makes a real effort to act professionally and provide a personal touch to its clients.

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NO EMPLOYEE IS INDISPENSABLE

One of the character traits of lawyers is that because we often see the negative side of life as we tend to observe matters in a pessimistic manner equivalent to viewing a glass half empty versus a glass half full. On the other hand, clients often view matters in an overly optimistic manner, which is often not based in reality.

 

For example, in our employment law practice, we often encounter clients who have been terminated from their jobs, often causing them surprise and shock. This surprise and shock is caused because they felt they were indispensable to their employer.

 

If I have learned one thing during the course of my legal career in the labor, employment, and civil rights fields, it is that no one is indispensable to their employer. Pennsylvania is an employee-at-will state, and although employees sometimes have recourse to appeal, contest, or complain about their termination, this is often a lengthy and costly process, if done correctly. Attorneys are often able to expand severance packages which employees have been offered, but a severance package often does not replace one’s job, or the loss of self-esteem which an employee often experiences as a result of being selected for a layoff or a termination.

 

Therefore, I offer some suggestions from a legal perspective about what one should or should not be doing as an employee.

 

  • Although many employers advertise that they have an “open door policy” and state that they welcome ideas and suggestions, and they want to hear about problems you are having with other staff or supervisors, I recommend that employees should be very careful about stepping through that door, and if an employee decides to step through that door, be very careful about what one says. Many employers do not want to learn about their employee’s opinions, and especially do not want to hear complaints about other staff. Among the clients I encounter, the employee who files the complaint against the “evil” supervisor, is usually the person who is terminated.

 

  • Do not assume that because you are a long-term employee (and I mean even upwards of 25 years) , that your efforts have earned the company a lot of money, or that your efforts have saved the company a lot of money, that your employer will not lay you off, eliminate your position, or dismiss you. Unfortunately, the days of guaranteed long-term employment ended many years ago, and do not appear to be returning.

 

  • What is the difference between insubordination and disagreeing with your supervisor or manager? The difference is solely in the opinion of the employer. Employers do not appreciate being told that you do not agree with their opinions, do not agree with other staff they work with or supervise, and do not appreciate hearing that you are not going to do things the way they have asked you to do them because you do not agree that is the way they should be done. Let me repeat: no one is indispensable, and you can find yourself terminated because you have voiced your disagreement.

 

  • Although most employers have policies regarding sexual harassment and hostile work environment, and urge reports of same, they are rarely pleased to hear these complaints. This is usually because they feel they must spend time and resources investigating the complaint, and they risk making a decision which will come back to bite them in the long-run. Remember that the person complaining about this behavior, and the person who is complained about, have equal rights, so if the person complained about is disciplined or terminated, that person may allege that said action was undertaken wrongfully by the employer, and the employer will have to defend themselves, costing them more time and money.

 

  • Do not assume that human resources professionals are on your side. From my many years of experience, the vast majority of the professionals I have dealt with are concerned about their own jobs first, and your job second. They try to balance making it appear as if they are “investigating” your issues, while at the same time trying not to offend the employer by spending time and resources on your matter.

 

  • I wish I had a dollar for every time an employee client tells me that their employer can’t do something “because it is illegal”. First, although there may be laws against engaging in certain types of activities, generally the enforcement of those laws is up to the individual employee’s attorney, as government agencies don’t always have the time, money, staff, knowledge or inclination to handle matters, and if they do handle matters, it may take years to do so. Second, people often misinterpret the law. Each case is based on an independent fact pattern and is subject to many vagaries, so what someone reads on the Internet often does not apply to the facts of their case, or may depend on the laws of different states than the relevant one.

 

In conclusion, and continuing on with viewing employment matters as a glass half empty, my advice to all employees is to tread very carefully in their positions, because they are not indispensable to their employers: remember, length of service makes no difference if the employer decides to eliminate your job for some reason, do not rely on human resources representatives to be of valuable assistance, and consult a lawyer when you feel there is something inappropriate or peculiar happening in your workplace. It is preferable to consult a lawyer if you have doubts about what is happening in your workplace, and your position, than wait until you have been disciplined or terminated.

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