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Retaliatory Acts Leading to Wrongful Termination

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Employment Law | 0 comments

Many times, when an employee complains about unfair labor practices, discriminatory behavior in the workplace, or otherwise assists in an unfair employment practice investigation, certain individuals work together to find ways of getting that employee terminated. The worst possibility is if the employer has an active role or direct participation in all of it.

Federal and state laws have been passed to protect employees and job applicants from any form of unfair and discriminatory practices in the workplace. These laws require the employers, especially, to make sure that their companies are free from discriminatory practices and that whoever would be proven guilty of such acts should be given the necessary disciplinary actions.

Despite the laws, however, the website of law firm Cary Kane says that many forms of discriminatory practices exist in many US firms, often resulting to wrongful termination.

In a wrongful termination case, dismissal of an employee constitutes an infringement on any of the terms covered in a company’s contract of employment, federal and state employment law and Employee Rights against wrongful termination.

The federal laws that prohibit employment discriminatory practices are contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any form of workplace harassment, abuse and discrimination based on one’s sex or gender, race, color, national origin and religion. Though nor clearly stipulated, Title VII , nevertheless, also strictly prohibits retaliation against any employee who either makes, or helps make, evident prohibited acts, especially if the perpetrator is someone in authority.

Retaliation refers to any hostile act or behavior than an employer, employment agency or labor organization may resort to, to show dissatisfaction against an employee who plays a part in legally protected activities. While a hostile or adverse act can be any action, including denial of employment, unjust termination, unjustified negative evaluation, or threats of criminal or civil charges, that are intended to hinder an employee either from taking part in an employment discrimination proceeding or from complaining about a discriminatory act, a legally protected activity refers to any action aimed at exposing and proving harassment and/or discriminatory practices in the workplace. Protected activities include:

an employee’s refusal to perform discriminatory acts that are ordered by his/her superior;
complaining about or protesting against workplace discrimination;
resolving to file charges of employment discrimination or showing intent to file one; and,
participating as a witness in a legal proceeding or EEO investigation.

While a person who has been complained about will certainly not be pleased with the complainant, the latter will have to be objective in his/her judgment as to whether the alleged guilty individual is, indeed, resorting to retaliatory acts or is simply displeased. A strong conviction, however, of being retaliated upon may require the assistance of a good employment lawyer, whose knowledge and experience in discrimination laws will help the employee verify the truthfulness of his/her conviction as well as help him/her make a correct and timely filing of the case.

Selling Your Mineral or Gas Rights

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Mineral Rights | 0 comments

One variety of sedimentary rock is oil shale, which is formed when silt and clay combine. Oil shale usually contains kerogen, a good possible source of gas and oil. Technological developments which have enabled oil companies to combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have resulted to an increased production of shale oil and gas in the United States. This has transformed the nation from being an oil-dependent country in the past to a major oil producer today: a transformation that has caused excitement not only among oil firms, but among land owners as well, whose lands are considered as oil wells waiting to be drilled.

The common law grants owners of properties or estates in the US certain rights, such as “mineral rights” and “surface rights.” These rights include private ownership of oil, gas, valuable rocks and all other forms of minerals which may be found on or under their property. These rights include the property owners’ legal capability to lease, sell, transfer ownership, bequeath or give these rights to anyone they choose.

Owner’s control over their properties and whatever may be found on or beneath these is one of the most basic stipulations in the private ownership law. Under the law, this private ownership is legally referred to as, “fee simple estate.”

Thanks to this “fee simple estate,” owners of lands along the shale regions are given the possible chance of enjoying the flow of huge amounts of cash into their household. The only thing they need to make is to decide whether to sell or lease their mineral rights to any of the giant oil firms that lay their offer on the table.

To a number of property owners, however, deciding is just never too easy. To start with, both selling and leasing have their own advantages and disadvantages. On its website, The Mineral Auction details the possible consequences should an owner decide to sell or lease his or her oil rights, gas rights and mineral rights. More importantly, the firm offers owners the assistance that they will definitely need not just in selling their rights, but in making sure that owners get the most competitive and generous offer for the future of their families.

Required and Supplemental Hazard Disclosure Items

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Natural Hazards | 0 comments

In the state of California real estate sellers and brokers are legally obligated to inform their prospective buyers whether the property they are selling is located within one or more state-mapped areas where threats of fire, flood, earthquake, seismic activities, and other types of hazards exist.

This information, called the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement (NHDS), is mandated by the Natural Hazards Disclosure Act (which falls under Sec. 1103 of the California Civil Code and which took effect on June 1, 1998). Under this Act there are six types of hazards that legally require disclosure: special flood hazard area; dam inundation; very high fire; wildland fire; earthquake fault zone; and, seismic hazard. Real property sellers, however, have also included in the NHDS the following supplemental hazards reports: radon gas exposure; airport influence area; Megan’s law disclosures; and, military ordnance.

In detail, these hazards reports are about the following concerns:

Required Hazards Reports

  • Special Flood Hazard Area – refers to properties that are located within Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). These properties are identified in maps maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and, through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), these qualify for low cost flood insurance.
  • Dam Inundation – areas which can be flooded and become drainage basins in case of failure of a dam or levee due to erosion, earthquakes, etc.
  • Very High Fire – mapping of areas, which hold abundant fuel or are dry, too windy and difficult to access, that have high risk of fire.
  • Wildland Fire – reports regarding this hazard include areas that can be affected by forest, grassland or brushland fire.
  • Earthquake Fault Zone – structures for human occupancy are prohibited from being built within 600 feet of identified active fault zones. These zones are shown in map called the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone Maps.
  • Seismic Hazard – this report contains areas at risk to landslides, liquefaction, strong earthquakes and other earthquake-related ground failures.

Supplemental Hazards Reports

  • Radon Gas – this cancer-causing, radioactive gas is estimated to cause thousands of deaths in the US every year. It is colorless and odorless and can be found all over the US – in offices, schools and, most especially, in homes. Its worst effect, when inhaled, is lung cancer (it is now held that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US; the first is smoking).

Radon gas is the result of uranium breaking down in well water, and igneous rock and soil. Due to the great danger it causes, the Indoor Radon Abatement Act of 1988 (IRAA) directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to record and identify areas with the potential for higher indoor levels of radon.

  • Airport Influence Area – refers to properties that are located within 2 miles of an identified airport.
  • Megan’s Law – this is based on Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, which provides information, such as the community of residence and the ZIP Code, where listed sex offenders and other certain types of criminals live.
  • Military Ordnance – provides information about properties that are located in formerly used defense sites, which are known to still be containing hazards.

On July 1, 2013, notification of prospective residential real property buyers about the availability and accessibility of the general locations of gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines was also made mandatory in a natural hazard disclosure report. This mandatory notice is called the Gas and Hazardous Liquid Transmission Pipelines.

While there are now different firms that provide natural hazards information to potential property buyers, not all are able to provide error free information and high quality service to all clients. Probably more important than buying a dream house is making sure that it is safe from any form of disaster – this is just what a natural hazard disclosure report aims to achieve.