Farmworkers dying because of unsafe transport

According to a report from The Associated Press, over a dozen accidents involving migrant farmworkers moving to the United States resulted in at least 38 fatalities and almost 200 injuries since January 2015.

U.S. Department of Labor records show that of the 1.1 million farmworkers in the country, 71% were born overseas, and half of those people acknowledged they were working in the United States illegally. Stony Brook University history professor Lori Flores, who has studied the Mexican farmworker movement, said these scenarios are commonplace. She noted “It’s an honor system.” She referred to the regulatory processes used to ensure safe transportation processes, “And it’s only when accidents … happen that agencies might get involved. But then it’s way too late.”

Lawmakers recently enacted the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). However, transport deaths still occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, even though over 10,000 farm labor contractors are registered under the MSPA, the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division has only 976 investigators to enforce the rules under it.

Employees who have incurred job-related illnesses and injuries have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If this has happened to you in Raleigh or another area in North Carolina, do not hesitate to acquire the legal services of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Cook County to mandate employers to provide paid sick leave

On Wednesday, October 5, the Cook County Board of Commissioners put into law an ordinance that will mandate employers throughout Cook County, Illinois to give their employees paid sick leave. The county is adopting the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which was passed by the city in June 2016 and which will go into effect the same day as the ordinance approved in Cook County: July 1, 2017.

According to the provisions of the ordinance, employees all over Cook County will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work for a company. Employees have the chance to obtain five days of paid sick leave per year, or more days, if their company decides to provide greater benefits.

Our lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal services for our clients in Raleigh and other areas in North Carolina. We are the ones to turn to if you have problems regarding your workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt in a workplace accident. Call our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Bill protecting companies from undercover threats passed

House Bill 405, a bill that seeks to eliminate employees who are secretly working against their employers, has been approved by the North Carolina Senate in a 32-13 vote, the Times-News reported on May 19.

The bill originally targeted undercover investigations of farm conditions by animal rights activists but was expanded to include all workplaces.

A provision of the bill allows a civil recourse for employers to file a lawsuit against employees who use their positions to steal documents or to illegally take note of company records that are not public knowledge. However, some critics say this bill reduces the protection of whistleblowers, who would then be discouraged to report illegitimate or illegal practices by their employer.

The attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC, help those who have been injured in Raleigh workplace accidents. Call us at (919) 851-3311 today to discuss your options for receiving financial compensation while you are unable to work.

Workers’ compensation premiums to decrease in North Carolina

In a move aimed to benefit businesses, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced on April 2 that workers’ compensation premium rates paid by businesses are set to decrease effective this month, the Stanly News and Press reported.

The move followed the approval of the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s request for a rate reduction back in November 2014.

Estimates coming from the North Carolina Department of Insurance showed that around 95% of the state’s employers may see an average decrease of 3.4% in their 2015 workers’ compensation premium rates. Businesses that obtain coverage through an “assigned risk pool” could experience rate decreases up to 4.5%.

McCrory believes that this move will allow businesses to reinvest their money elsewhere, such as hiring additional employees.

Especially as premiums go down, it becomes more and more difficult to secure an adequate amount of workers’ compensation. The attorneys of Scudder Seguin, PLLC, however, are experienced at holding employers and insurance companies accountable for the compensation they are obligated to give injured workers in Raleigh, and we may be able to advocate on your behalf. Call our offices at (919) 851-3311 today to speak to a member of our legal team.

State leaders vow action on misclassification of workers issue

North Carolina leaders recently vowed that changes will be pursued after a labor scheme has put several workers in danger and has cheated them of benefits, including workers’ compensation, by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than employees, the News & Observer reported on September 11.

By misclassifying workers, it not only denied workers their rights as employees, but also prevented the federal and state governments from collecting almost one-half billion dollars annually from taxes.

Governor Patrick Lloyd “Pat” McCrory said he will pursue legislation that seeks to penalize companies that intentionally treat legitimate workers as independent contractors to gain a competitive advantage against other businesses, while North Carolina Attorney General Ray Cooper stated his lawyers would determine the legal action that may be taken against these companies.

Workers who have been injured in the workplace often need workers’ compensation benefits to provide financial assistance while they are unable to work. The experienced attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC, can help you through this process and any related issues. Call our Raleigh offices at (919) 851-3311 today to learn more.

Charlton Allen elected to the NC Industrial Commission

The General Assembly voted 31-18 to appoint lawyer Charlton Allen to the six-man North Carolina Industrial Commission, the state agency which makes judgments on contested workers’ compensation claims, an Associated Press article stated on June 16.

Critics claimed that Allen was not fit to serve on the Industrial Commission because he opposed a minimum wage for employees and may have written racist articles for his college newspaper. Republican state senators defended Allen, asserting that he represented workers for years as an attorney.

Modern laws ensure that workplace safety is a mandatory priority for companies to maintain, so workers and employees’ interests and health are protected. These safety standards are meant to limit the possibility of workplace injuries. If you are experiencing an issue regarding the state’s workers’ compensation program or you need to file a claim, seek the legal assistance of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC, by dialing (919) 851-3311 today.

Charlton Allen confirmed to NC Industrial Commission by state Senate

North Carolina’s state Senate confirmed the appointment of Charlton Allen to the six-member Industrial Commission, even though critics opposed his nomination due to his views on minimum wage, reported on June 16.

Governor Pat McCrory’s appointee was ushered into the post through a vote of 31-18, with votes falling mostly along party lines. The agency presides over workers’ compensation claims. Allen has openly denounced minimum wage, which many Democrats believe will hinder his ability to objectively make decisions about workers’ compensation. Allen’s other criticisms stemmed from his college articles on the student publication Carolina Review, which critics said were racist and anti-Semitic. Allen called this description, “grossly unfair.”

If you have been injured in a workplace accident in Raleigh, our workers’ compensation attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC, can protect your legal rights and help you file your claim. Call our offices today at (919) 851-3311 for more details.

Democrats oppose appointment of Charlton Allen to N.C. Industrial Commission

Some Democrats voiced their opposition to the confirmation of Charlton Allen to serve on the North Carolina Industrial Commission due to opinions hinting at anti-workers rights and a possible lack of experience handling workplace policy, The Charlotte Observer reported on May 22.

According to House of Representatives Minority Leader Larry Hall, Allen stated in a candidate questionnaire for the state’s conservative non-profit organization Civitas Institute that he wants to amend the state’s constitution to that of a “right to work” one, characterized by a lack of unions and an employer’s freedom to not give paid sick leave or lunch breaks. Allen is a Mooresville lawyer who campaigned for a House seat in 2012, losing in a Republican primary to Representative Robert Brawley. Allen will start his six-year term on July 1.

For employees who require time off from work because they were hurt in a workplace accident, workers’ compensation benefits may solve their financial problems. Should you experience this situation, get in touch with our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC in Raleigh, so we may help you file the necessary paperwork. Call us today at (919) 851-3311.