Garageband for Lapto
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January 24, 2017
Garageband for Laptop is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS and iOS that allows users to create music or podcasts
What if My Boss Was a Strong Trump Supporter, but I voted for Hillary (or the Other Way Around)?
by cjleclaire
 William Cafaro
Jan 20, 2017 | 1305 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 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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Workers Compensation in Queens New York | Part One
by cjleclaire
 Pyrros Serres
Jan 20, 2017 | 1043 views | 0 0 comments | 109 109 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Queens NY Workers Comp.

by Pyrros & Serres LLP

You’ve been hurt on the job and can’t work. You’ve heard about “workers’ compensation,” but you really don’t know what it is or how it works. You’ll be best served by hiring an experienced attorney to guide you through the process, but here’s an overview of the workers’ compensation system to help you better understand what you can expect.

Workers’ Compensation is Insurance

It’s helpful to think of workers’ compensation as insurance, because it really is. Under New York law, every employer (with very limited exceptions) is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, designed to cover the costs of benefits paid to any injured worker. Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to cover two types of losses:

  • Any medical expenses related to the injury
  • A percentage of your lost wages or income due to the injury

There are also circumstances where an injured worker will be entitled to cash benefits at the end of a claim, based on the type of injury.

The workers’ compensation laws evolved as a compromise between employers and employees. Before the enactment of these laws, employers worried that injured employees might obtain exorbitant judgments from a sympathetic jury, and workers often had to wait months or years to see any benefit from a personal injury lawsuit. Known as the “grand bargain,” workers’ compensation insurance allows employers to manage and anticipate the costs of worker injuries, but also provides benefits to injured workers in a more timely manner.

Workers’ Compensation | An Overview

Experienced NYC | Queens | Bronx | Brooklyn Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we provide comprehensive counsel to people with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens | NYC | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

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The Right to Discovery in Probate Litigation
by cjleclaire
 Bonnie Lawston-LiEstate Attorney
Jan 20, 2017 | 971 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
by Bonnie Lawston

When someone dies with a will in New York State, that person’s estate must generally be “settled” through filings and proceedings overseen by the probate court. Referred to as probate, this process can often be done without the need for litigation. However, when there are issues about which executors and heirs disagree, probate litigation may be the only way to resolve the dispute.

An essential part of the litigation process is what is known as “discovery.” The discovery phase of a trial is that period where all parties seek to obtain (and are usually required to share) all evidence related to the matters in dispute. Discovery can be accomplished in a variety of ways, through depositions, through the production of relevant documents, and through answers to written questions, known as interrogatories. A couple recent opinions handed down by the Surrogates courts have specifically addressed and clarified the rights of discovery in probate contests.

Matter of Shure

In an opinion handed down in early December, 2016, the Manhattan Surrogates Court confirmed that a third party had to disclose information to allow potential estate beneficiaries to determine whether an executor had breached a fiduciary duty. In Matter of Shure, a co-executor asked the Surrogate Court to compel Chase Bank to provide certain information that involved the estate, information that included reference to internal bank procedures. The co-executor cited SCPA (Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act)2103, which allows discovery of documents and testimony to confirm or deny the existence of assets or property that might belong to an estate. The court recognized Chase Bank’s need to maintain confidentiality of its internal policies, so allowed the co-executor access to the information, but required that the parties enter into a confidentiality agreement.

Estate of Melendez

In this opinion, released in November, an executor sought discovery of documents related to the deceased’s purported spouse, who had attempted to exercise a spousal right of election to the estate (see our blog on the right of spousal election in New York). The executor had alleged that the right of election could not be exercised because of the existence of a prenuptial agreement signed by the alleged spouse. The court held that discovery of passport and border crossing records was reasonable.

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we focus our estate administration practice on estates subject to probate in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Contact our office online or call us at 631-425-7299 or 24/7 at 855-479-4700 to set up a free initial consultation.

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