Sexual Harassment in the City

If the popular television show “Sex in the City” is to be believed, New York City is a hotbed of licentiousness, where traditional boundaries do not exist. This is true in a sense; modern thinking has relegated sexual intercourse to as casual a topic as what is for dinner. However, federal and New York state law draws the line at sexual harassment.

While sexual harassment may take the form of sexual advances, innuendoes, or contact, it is primarily a discriminatory act, and not a sexual offense. It is discrimination because of two elements: it is targeted at a specific gender, typically against women but not necessarily, and it is carried out by a person or persons in a position of power or influence over the victim.

For an act of a sexual nature to be considered harassment, however, it must be unwanted or unwelcome, even when it occurs between an employee and an immediate supervisor. The element of consent is crucial for determining whether the behavior can be penalized or not, and proving whether it was consensual or not can be tricky.

There are some situations where a sexual relationship between certain employees would be considered automatically coercive, because there is no inherent equality in the relationship. A good example would be that of an inmate and a corrections officer. Even if the relationship is consensual, it is still prohibited by law and may have legal consequences for the corrections officer.

But in the workplace, the line is not so sharp. For example, the court ruled in a recent case that sexual harassment laws do not apply to unpaid interns because the laws specifically refer to employees, and since the intern did not receive remuneration for her services, she is not considered an employee. According to the law firm Cary Kane LLP website, a co-worker may also be accused of sexual harassment when it results in a hostile work environment of the plaintiff.

There are so many factors that may affect a sexual harassment complaint. If you believe you have been a victim of this type of discrimination, it is always a good idea to consult an experienced sexual harassment lawyer to make the case.

Assistance for Truckers and Trucking Companies

The continuous flow of cash and communications are probably the two most important things in the trucking industry. Without the former, operations will grind to a halt faster than an engine with no oil. Without the latter, coordination will go right out the window.

The business of transporting goods over land is huge, accounting for more than 80% of all commercial goods in the US. Without truckers and trucking companies, many businesses will go bust because of the distribution problem. This means that a lot of over-the-air communication goes on all the time everywhere, especially since the advent of the affordable mobile phone. However, because of the risks associated with using a handheld device such as a mobile phone, federal law prohibits the dialing, holding, and reaching for hand held devices while operating a vehicle.

The law requires that wireless communication is conducted with the use of a hands-free device such as multi-functional hands-free headsets. There are headsets that connect to the computer, mobile phone, and human via Bluetooth, so even tangled wires are no longer a problem.  However, getting a citation for using a mobile phone is not the biggest concern for trucking companies. Their biggest concern is cash flow.

The trucking business is primarily a credit business; you transport today, you get paid 30, 60, or even 90 days later, depending on the client. The trucking industry follows a business model where accounts receivables are customarily delayed for as long as 90 days. In the meantime, wages, fuel, and spare parts need to be paid up front. This creates a cash flow bottleneck than can make or break a trucking enterprise.

Start up and small trucking companies are especially vulnerable to cash flow problems because they don’t have the resources to wait three months to get paid, or the customers to ensure a regular cycle of service orders and payments, or both. This is where freight factoring provides assistance to trucking companies.

Freight factoring allows trucking companies to trade their invoices for cash, usually for a small, fixed fee. It is not the ideal situation, but like hand held devices, it is a fact of the industry. Considering the alternative, the service fee for freight factoring is a small price to pay for continued operations of this most crucial of service providers.

Selling Mineral Rights under Mortgage

Mineral rights on mortgaged property are pretty much the same as surface rights when it comes to selling them: you need to get the lender to agree to it. Without a deed of release, the property owner cannot legally sell the surface or mineral rights.

Presuming that the mineral rights are not severed from the surface rights, the property deed has mortgage liens on it in favor of the lender. In other words, until the mortgage is paid in full, the lender has the right to refuse to allow you to go about selling your mineral rights.

The lender has every reason to refuse; selling the mineral rights means the purchaser can enter the property at any time to extract and store whatever natural resources may be present under the surface land. This can pose a serious threat to the security and value of the property, which in turn will impact on the lender’s outlay. But if the lender is amenable, the property owner may be able to secure a deed of release.

The deed of release is a legal document which specifies the extent to which the lender will surrender the interest it has on the property. The deed may refer to the land in its entirety (such as when the mortgage has been paid in full) or in part. If the reason for the deed of release is to enable the sale of the mineral rights, you only need a deed of release for that aspect of the property. The lender will most probably require a certain amount in payment to offset the loss of market value of the land deed resulting from that transaction.

If and when the lender agrees to a deed of release, the next step would be to determine how much those mineral rights are worth. It should be noted that a sale is permanent; once it is done, there are no backsies. It is therefore important to consult with professionals regarding the fair market value of the mineral rights to avoid getting the short end of the stick.

Causes of Car Accidents

There are four major causes of car accidents in terms of factors. These are road conditions, weather conditions, equipment failure, and driver behavior. According to the website of Ian Inglis, among the four, the largest contributor is driver behavior which ranges from drunk driving to driver error.

One of the major causes of car accidents under driver error is speeding. Nearly 70% of all drivers are guilty of excessive speeding for a variety of reasons: racing against another vehicle, rushing to a meeting, beating the traffic, responding to an emergency, or simply enjoying the great condition of the road. At high speeds, it only takes a split second’s inattention or distraction to end up a car wreck on the side of the road.

Sometimes, an error in judgment can have unfortunate circumstance. In some cases in a speeding-related auto accident, the driver was actually traveling within the posted speed limit but the road or weather conditions demanded more caution.

It may also surprise many people to learn that bugs can also cause accidents. A buzzing bee can startle a driver into swerving or serve as a distraction that can be dangerous on any road and catastrophic when travelling on a highway. Several documented cases of bug-related auto accidents include a 2008 two-car accident in Michigan and the 2010 three-car crash in Virginia.

Another major driver behavior that leads to many preventable car accidents is texting. It is estimated that a minimum of 20% of all car accidents in the US is caused by the driver texting while driving. Related driver behavior that also increases the risks of a car crash is dialing in, talking on, or simply reaching for the mobile phone. A majority of states have already imposed a ban on texting while driving as a result.

There are many factors that cause car accidents that are beyond the control of the driver. However, it is entirely possible to significantly reduce the number of accidents that happen by simply modifying reckless driver behavior.