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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wage Theft -- Another Assault on Workers' Compensation

As corporate American devises new methods to reduce wages it also assaults the injured workers' benefit safety net including workers' compensation insurance. It results in rate benefits to go down and premium bases to become inadequate to pay on gong claims. Today's post is shared from nytimes.com and is authored by it's Editorial Board.
When labor advocates and law enforcement officials talk about wage theft, they are usually referring to situations in which low-wage service-sector employees are forced to work off the clock, paid sub minimum wages, cheated out of overtime pay or denied their tips. It is a huge and under policed problem. It is also, it turns out, not confined to low-wage workers.
In the days ahead, a settlement is expected in the antitrust lawsuit pitting 64,613 software engineers against Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe. The engineers say they lost up to $3 billion in wages from 2005-9, when the companies colluded in a scheme not to solicit one another’s employees. The collusion, according to the engineers, kept their pay lower than it would have been had the companies actually competed for talent.
The suit, brought after the Justice Department investigated the anti-recruiting scheme in 2010, has many riveting aspects, including emails and other documents that tarnish the reputation of Silicon Valley as competitive and of technology executives as a new breed of “don’t-be-evil” bosses, to cite Google’s informal motto.

The case...
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Workers' Compensation: Would Higher Minimum Wage for ...
Apr 17, 2014
Wages determine rates of workers' compensation. The lowest wage earners go unnoticed in the struggle to increase benefits. Today's post is shared from njspotlight.com . Advocates decry current $2.13 per hour as unfair, ...
Feb 11, 2014
But the report also made plain what many Americans feel in their bones: Wages are stuck, and barely rose at all in 2013. They were up 1.9 percent last year, or a mere 0.4 percent after accounting for inflation. Not only was that ...
Mar 16, 2014
McDonald's Accused of Stealing Wages From Already Underpaid Workers. Wage are the basic factor upon which to calculate rates for workers' compensation purposes. Today's post was shared by Mother Jones and comes ...

Monday, April 21, 2014

President of Roofing Company Pleads Guilty to Felony for Scheme to Avoid Paying Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Insurance Premiums

Acting NJ Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that the president of a roofing company pleaded guilty today to providing false and misleading information to the company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums that he was obligated to pay.

Charles Kelcy Pegler Sr., 56, of Spring Lake, pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud before Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci in Monmouth County. Pegler was charged in a Dec. 19, 2013 state grand jury indictment.

Judge Mellaci scheduled sentencing for June 6. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Pegler be sentenced to 180 days in county jail as a condition of five years of probation. Pegler previously paid full restitution to New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company. The plea agreement also requires Pegler to pay $134,087 to Atain Insurance Company.

“Employers have an obligation to provide full and adequate workers compensation insurance coverage for their employees,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “Because of criminals such as this defendant, honest, hard-working New Jerseyans are forced to pay increased premiums to cover the costs of the fraud.”

“This conviction demonstrates that the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor stands ready and able to prosecute sophisticated schemes and influential executives, even those at the highest reaches of companies,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said.

Pegler was the president of Roof Diagnostics, Inc. (“RDI”), which was located at 2333 Highway 34 in Wall. During the time of the alleged crime, RDI was located at 608 Brighton Avenue in Spring Lake Heights. RDI employs approximately 400 people. In pleading guilty, Pegler admitted that between June 11, 2003 and Oct. 5, 2009, he created the false impression to New Jersey Casualty Insurance Company, which is a subsidiary of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, that RDI was not a roofing company, that it did not employ roofers and that it did not install, maintain and/or repair roofs. An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that, as a result of the alleged crime, RDI paid $265,044 less in workers’ compensation insurance premiums than it should have.

Pegler further admitted that between Jan. 15 and Dec. 9, 2009, he created the false impression to USF Insurance Company, now called Atain Insurance Company, that all roofing and re-roofing services offered by RDI were performed by subcontractors. Through this fraud, Pegler avoided paying $134,087 in general liability insurance premiums which he owed to the insurance company.

Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi, Deputy Attorneys General Michael Locke, Bradford Muller and Thomas Tresansky and Detective Natalie Brotherston coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi represented the state at the guilty plea hearing. Additional investigative assistance was provided by Detective Taryn Kong and Detective Trainee Ryan Kirsh, Analysts Terry Worthington and Terri Drumm and Technical Assistant Ramona Navarro. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company and Atain Insurance Company for their assistance in the investigation.

Inside low-wage workers' plan to sue McDonald's — and win

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from www.msnbc.com

The wage theft lawsuits filed against McDonald’s last week in New York, Michigan and California threaten to breach a wall that for decades has protected fast-food corporations from the demands of minimum wage workers.
The accuse McDonald’s restaurants of various illegal labor practices. Many fast food workers, it’s alleged, have been taken “off the clock” either while working or while waiting on site to start or complete a shift; either way, federal law requires that the workers be compensated for their time. Another allegation is that many of these low-wage workers have gotten the cost of their uniforms deducted from their paychecks, effectively reducing their pay to below the federally or state-mandated minimum wage. Yet another allegation is that many fast food workers have been denied legally-mandated overtime pay.
What’s unusual here aren’t the claims of labor law violations, which are common enough, but rather, who’s being blamed. The wall that fast food workers hope to blast through with these class-action suits is the franchise system. All of the lawsuits name McDonald’s itself as a defendant, even though most of the targeted restaurants are owned not by McDonald’s but by McDonald’s franchisees.
Starting with Howard Johnson’s in the 1930s, franchising enabled fast-food companies largely to get out of the food business. Owning and operating the restaurants was mostly left to franchisees –...
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Generic Drug Manufacturers Get a Favorable Signal From The US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has given generic drug manufacturers a favorable signal by not staying the mandate of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in an ongoing battle over a patent infringement. The decision of Chief Justice John Roberts will allow Teva's Copaxone drug to continue to be manufactured in genetic format, and resulting lower cost, during the pendency of the appeal.

A lack of competition among drug manufacturers in United States has resulted in a huge escalation in pharmaceutical costs. The resulting impact has increased medical delivery costs in workers' compensation, and burdened the system substantially. The cost for medical delivery far exceeds indemnification for temporary and permanent disability benefits.

The court's action, albeit temporary in nature, maybe a signal of forthcoming judicial intervention in the pharmaceutical arena that will result in a more realistic cost for pharmaceutical benefits in workers' compensation.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al., Petitioners v.Sandoz, Inc., et al. No. 13-854

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over four decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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Medical Costs Still Treading Upward. The cost of medical treatment in workers' compensation claims, despite a resumed trend in lower claims, is continuing to increase. View complete report: NCCI Workers Compensation .
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CATHERINE HAYLEY, whose diabetes was diagnosed when she was 9, describing the digital insulin pump that helps keep her alive." data-mediaviewer-credit="Luke Sharrett for The New York Times" ...
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Minimum Wage, Maximum Outrage

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from www.nytimes.com
No one should ever endure the kind of economic humiliation that comes with working a full-time job and making a less-than-living wage.
There is dignity in all work, but that dignity grows dim when the checks are cashed and the coins are counted and still the bills rise higher than the wages.
Most people want to work. It is a basic human desire: to make a way, to provide for one’s self and one’s loved ones, to advance. It is that great hope of tomorrow, better and brighter, in which we can be happy and secure, able to sleep without hunger and wake without worry.
But it is easy to see how people can have that hope thrashed out of them, by having to wrestle with the most wrenching of questions: how to make do when you work for less than you can live on?
That is why the minimum wage debate resonates so profoundly with so many: We know what it feels like to not have enough money after you’ve busted your body with too-hard work. We know the worry in parents’ eyes as they sit around a dinner table littered with more bills than dollar bills, trying to figure out whom to pay and how to save.
These scenes play themselves out in more American households than the well-dressed men and women in the marbled halls of Congress will ever care to imagine. These are the forgotten and forsaken, the just getting by on just enough. They don’t have much money to donate to a church, let alone a political campaign, and yet they yearn just the same for someone to...
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Georgia senate approves medical marijuana bill







Photo source or description
[JURIST] The Georgia State Senate [official website] on Thursday approved a bill [text, PDF] legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The bill carves our narrow acceptable uses and is careful to make clear it is not meant to be a step towards outright legalization. Specifically, the bill legalizes the use of cannabidoils (CBD), which is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for the treatment of children's seizures. Studies show that CBD has been effective in reducing the duration and frequency of seizures. In addition, the bill allows for clinical trials and further research to be done on the potential benefits of medical marijuana for cancer patients or those with glaucoma. The bill was paired with another measure that mandates insurance coverage for children with autism and passed the Senate unanimously, 54-0. The bill now goes back before the House for final approval.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes and the legalization of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] for recreational use has garnered more legal support [Marijuana Policy Project website] in the US in recent months. Last month the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Department of the Treasury issued guidelines [JURIST report] for banks to provide services to legal marijuana-related businesses, predominately in Colorado and Washington. In January the Florida Supreme Court approved [JURIST report] a citizen initiative to vote on an amendment to the state constitution on the...

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Fault Lines Appear at Northwestern Over Union Vote

Today's post was shared by The New York Times and comes from www.nytimes.com

EVANSTON, Ill. — The imminent vote by scholarship football players at Northwestern on whether to certify a union has students, professors and athletes in other sports choosing sides.

When a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled last month that the players were employees and therefore eligible to form a union, it sent shock waves through higher education and college athletics that hit hardest here at Northwestern, a university in the Chicago suburbs that is known more for its academics than its athletics.

“What it means for the athletic department and the greater economics of the school, I don’t think anyone knows exactly,” said Laura Beth Nielsen, a Northwestern professor of sociology and legal studies. “But no one is ambivalent.”

The varied viewpoints were on display at a meeting on Wednesday night organized by former Northwestern football players at a civic center here. Several dozen alumni attended, most of them former football players.

The meeting was led by Kevin Brown and Alex Moyer, two Northwestern players from the 1980s who said they were concerned about pressure being put on players. Brown contended that players on the team were being called by alumni and urged to vote against the union.

“We want the facts to be the facts,” said Brown, who said he did not have a stance on...

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