Philadelphia Police Inspector Accused of Sexual Harassment

assult

Two female officers in the Philadelphia Police Department have alleged that Chief Inspector Carl Holmes sexually harassed them.

Michele Vandegrift, a detective who has been on the force for 13 years, filed a lawsuit last summer, alleging that Holmes had made numerous sexual comments to her, and had actually sexually assaulted her in 2007. Vandegrift had filed a complaint with the EEOC in 2014, seeking a right to sue letter.

In her complaint, Vandegrift also alleged that she was the victim of retaliation by the city of Philadelphia, claiming that she was subjected to a number of acts that constituted punishment:

  • She was not assigned any cases that would qualify her for overtime
  • She was reassigned to “Southwest Detectives,” a unit that most officers regard as punishment
  • She was reprimanded for mocking a colleague on Facebook

Vandegrift also contends that, once she was transferred to Southwest, her former supervisors told personnel in the Southwest to “watch what they say around her,” creating a climate where her colleagues were encouraged not to trust her.

Vandegrift is not the first female officer to accuse Holmes of sexual assault. Officer Christina Hayburn told investigators in 2008 that the Chief Inspector had sexually assaulted her in his police car and two witnesses corroborated Hayburn’s allegations. Holmes was demoted by then-commissioner Charles Ramsey, but challenged the demotion and was reinstated. He became Chief Inspector in 2012.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in New Jersey

compensation

If you have been hurt on the job in New Jersey, your first course of action will typically be to file an application for workers’ compensation benefits. It’s part of what is known as the “grand bargain,” established by the state legislature to benefit both workers and employers. As an injured worker, you can have access to benefits much sooner and without much of the complexity that comes with a personal injury lawsuit. As an employer, you can avoid large judgments by sympathetic juries, as the benefits payable are limited by law.

Before you can expect to obtain compensation for a work-related injury in New Jersey, though, you have to qualify for benefits. To do so, you must meet two criteria—you must have been working at the time, and you must have been injured during the course of your employment. Accordingly, even if you were working off the books, you may still be able to show that you meet the tests, and still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

The first thing you’ll want to do, though, is get the medical attention you need. As a general rule, any emergency treatment does not require authorization from your employer. However, if doctors want to perform any “non-emergency” procedure, you must notify your employer and obtain permission for the treatment, or it may not be covered.

In any instance, you must notify your employer as soon as practicable and generally within 30 days of the actual injury, or of the discovery of the injury, if it was not apparent (or if it was cumulative or related to an occupational illness). Your employer will likely require that you visit a physician chosen by the company (or the workers’ compensation insurance provider). You may still visit your own doctor.

Once you notify your employer of your injury, your employer will notify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Based the doctor’s report and other evidence, the insurer will either approve or reject your claim. You have the right to appeal a denial to the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

The Most Common Causes of Construction Site Injuries

construction-accident

If you work on a residential or commercial construction site, you know it’s one of the most dangerous ways to make a living. Industry statistics show that nearly five percent of all construction workers suffer a non-fatal injury every year. Though owners and general contractors know how dangerous a construction site can be, the profit motive can often lead to shortcuts and unsafe behavior. Here are the most common reasons construction workers get hurt on the job.

Falling Objects

Many workers on lower levels are hurt when building materials, tools, debris or other items fall from upper levels. Often, this could be avoided if proper barriers were erected on upper floors.

Falls from Heights

Perhaps the most common cause of high-rise residential and commercial construction site injuries are falls from upper levels, from ladders or scaffolding, from cranes or buckets, and from construction elevators. Research shows that nearly a third of all construction site injuries come when workers fall from significant heights. Often, owners and contractors have failed to erect any type of fence or barrier, or have improperly maintained or installed the guard rails.

Dangerous or Defective Products

Complex power tools are prevalent on construction sites, and often break down or malfunction, causing injury.

Slips, Trips and Falls

One of the biggest problems at most construction sites is the accumulation of worksite debris, from tools to building materials to trash. Unfortunately, too many workers are hurt tripping over or slipping on these materials.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a needless injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

truck

When you are involved in a truck accident, the chances of serious injury or death are extremely high. Though state and federal officials have taken measures to minimize the risks associated with commercial truck accidents, nearly 4,000 people still die every year in truck crashes on the nation’s roadways, with more than four of every five deaths someone other than the truck driver.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the following are the most common causes of commercial truck crashes:

  • Driver fatigue—The trucking industry typically pays drivers based on the number of mils they drive, so there’s an incentive to be on the road as much as possible. Recognizing this, Congress and many state legislatures have mandated regular breaks and have limited the number of hours a truck driver can consecutively be on the road, and can be on the road during a given time period (such as a day or week). Drivers are required to keep log books documenting their hours on the road, as well as breaks, but these books are neglected or falsified on a regular basis.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse—Though truck drivers will occasionally drive while impaired by alcohol, the more common problem is drug abuse, with many drivers taking amphetamines or “uppers” to help them stay awake, so that they can put more hours on the road.
  • Poor truck maintenance—Trucking companies and their drivers are also required to keep accurate maintenance logs. Unfortunately, time spent maintaining your vehicle is time that your truck can’t be on the road, and you can’t make any money. As a result, many drivers put off or avoid maintenance as long as possible.
  • Driver negligence—A significant number of truck accidents are the result of inappropriate speeds, failure to obey traffic laws or signals, careless lane changes, or simply being unfamiliar with the roadways.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

New Jersey’s Dog Bite Law

dogbite

If you’ve been hurt in New Jersey when someone else’s dog has attacked you, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses. The New Jersey dog bite statute sets forth specific conditions, though, that you must meet to recover.

Technically, New Jersey’s dog bite law is a “strict liability” statute. In most personal injury lawsuits, you must show that someone was careless or negligent and that your injury was caused by that wrongful behavior. With strict liability, though, there is no requirement that you show any negligence. Instead, all you need to show is that:

  • The dog must have been owned by or under control of the defendant
  • The dog bit you
  • You suffered some injury or loss because of the attack

Under New Jersey law, you can only pursue damages for a dog bite if you were either on public property at the time of the attack, or you were on private property with permission or by invitation (express or implied). A trespasser will not have a claim for any injuries suffered because of a canine attack. With commercial property, the owner has liability if the injured person came on to the property in the ordinary course of business.

It’s also important to understand that the New Jersey dog bite law only addresses bites, not scratches or injuries caused by knockdowns. You can, however, file a general negligence claim for those types of injuries.

A Dog Owner’s Defenses

As the owner of the canine, you have two potential defenses:

  • The injured person was illegally on your property at the time of the attack
  • The injured person provoked the attack

Contact Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Amtrak Engineer Files Lawsuit Tied to Deadly Crash

train-acc

The engineer on the Amtrak train that crashed in 2015 in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit against his employer, alleging that Amtrak neglected reports that the trains had been targets of projectiles. Brandon Bostian claims in his lawsuit that a foreign object struck his train shortly before the May, 2015 accident, leaving him either unconscious or disoriented. He alleges in his civil suit that the company failed to provide him with a safe place to work, and asks for unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.

Federal investigators say that all evidence indicates that is wasn’t Bostian’s train that was hit, but a nearby train, though they admit there’s no way to know for certain. They concluded that Bostian became distracted when he heard that another train had been “rocked,” lost track of where he was and accelerated when he should have been decelerating for a curve. The National Transportation Safety Board also put part of the blame on Amtrak, noting that the company had failed to install automatic speed control technology. The company installed the devices within days after the accident.

Bostian filed his lawsuit in federal court under the Federal Employee’s Liability Act, a statute that sets forth the rights of injured railroad workers, among others. He alleges that he has suffered psychological and physical injuries that make it difficult or impossible for him to work.

The 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak accident took the lives of eight people and injured more than 200 others. Amtrak has accepted responsibility and will pay in excess of $265 million to settle most of the lawsuits filed.

Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Silicon Valley Firms Face Allegations of Employment Discrimination

Allegations

Once of the fastest growing companies in the world—Palantir Technologies, founded by well-known high tech financier Peter Thiel—has been accused in a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor of discrimination against Asian job seekers. Government attorneys allege that Palantir “routinely eliminated” Asians from the employment process, either when resumes were screened or during telephone interviews. The lawsuit arose after federal officials conducted a statistical analysis to confirm that Palantir, a federal government contractor, was in compliance with anti-discrimination rules.

Palantir, located in Palo Alto, currently employs about 1,800 people. The company says the government’s case is without merit and is based on “flawed statistical analysis.”

Palantir is not the first Silicon Valley company to face similar allegations. Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently agreed to pay $750,000 in back pay in a discrimination complaint filed by African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians who applied for inside sales jobs at its facility in Arkansas.

One of the unique aspects of the Palantir lawsuit is its focus on Asian-Americans, a group typically well-represented in most Silicon Valley companies. However, attorneys for the Departments of Labor say that because so many of the applicants for these jobs are of Asian heritage, it skews the numbers a bit. They say that 77 percent of the pool of applicants at Palantir during the time period reviewed were Asian.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Philadelphia Woman Files Sexual Harassment Claim against Wells Fargo

Sexual Harassment

Wells Fargo’s legal problems continue to mount. Just days after a 6.2 billion class action was filed against the company, and less than a month after company officials admitted that more than 5,000 employees had created over two million bogus accounts to meet sales quotas, the company has been served with a sexual harassment complaint by a former broker for Wells Fargo Advisors in Philadelphia. The complaint alleges that the company paid female brokers less than males in similar transactions, and engaged in retaliatory conduct against employees who reported fraudulent practices.

Laurie A. McNally, a broker for 29 years, says she was given substantially less support than men in her office and that she was routinely subjected to lewd comments from colleagues and managers. She says that her first regional manager at Wells Fargo told her that “we only hire hot women and you qualify.” Her complaint also alleges that company officials tolerated a hostile environment based on sex, where a co-employee told her to wear thigh-high stockings because it was “thigh-high Thursday, asked her for sex, and requested that she lift up her shirt for him. When she asked her branch manager for a working telephone, he told her that “you have to do something to get something.”

McNally says things became extremely difficult for her at Wells Fargo after she complained to management and the SEC about what she perceived to be fraudulent or illegal business practices. She says that Wells Fargo encouraged brokers to get customers to sign blank signature pages and then would create new accounts that brokers could use to generate sales commissions.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Wells Fargo Sued in New Jersey for Discrimination and Retaliation

workplace-discrimination

Wells Fargo Bank, facing a multi-billion dollar class action by former employees, has been served with a complaint in state court in New Jersey. The legal action, filed by a former teller, alleges gender discrimination, age discrimination and wrongful discharge. The plaintiff, Lenore Kuter, says she was terminated when she refused to cheat customers to meet sales requirements.

According to Kuter’s lawsuit, Wells Fargo established unrealistic and unattainable goals for its employees—one required tellers and other bank workers to get their customers to open up at least 8 accounts. Performance evaluations, bonuses and raises were all tied to meeting what many considered to be unrealistic and unethical goals. In 2014, around 5,000 Wells Fargo employees signed a petition asking the bank to change its employee incentive programs. The bank ignored the petition.

Kuter says she was routinely encouraged to open fraudulent accounts, and was harassed and denied promotions when she balked at doing so. Ultimately, she says, she was fired for refusing to engage in unethical behavior, but “other factors” were cited as the reason for her termination.

It’s not the first time Wells Fargo has faced similar accusations. In 2009, the company settled a federal class action lawsuit for gender discrimination, agreeing to pay $32 million based on wrongful conduct in its Wachovia Securities brokerage.

Wells Fargo has publicly acknowledged over the last month that some 5,000 employees were either allowed or encouraged to open as many as two million bogus accounts on behalf of customers, accounts the customers did not know had been opened.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of personal injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Former School Nurse Gets $2 Million Settlement

nurse

A former New Brunswick school nurse has accepted $2 million in settlement of employment discrimination claims against the New Brunswick Board of Education. The plaintiff, Rosa Martinez, left a higher paying nursing job in 2002 to go to work for the school district, and worked at the Roosevelt Elementary School from 2002 until 2007, and Livingston Elementary from 2007 to 2012.

In 2009, Martinez asked her employer to accommodate a vision disability she had, known as convergence insufficiency. The condition caused her to experience double vision with close objects. The condition negatively affected her ability to work on a computer, a skill that was increasingly in demand in her job. She asked for additional time to enter student medical information onto the school’s computer, but the school did not respond to her. She continued asking for the accommodation, both verbally and in writing, and brought in doctor’s notes to support her request. This went on for two years. At one point, she asked for a period of time to put eye drops in daily and school officials responded by putting a window on her door, so that they could watch her.

After the 2012-2013 school year, when the school board refused to accommodate her, she voluntarily resigned, then filed her lawsuit. The trial began on September 12, but the parties settled before the matter went to the jury.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Our Office Locations

Freehold

86 Court Street,
Freehold NJ 07728

Telephone: 732-780-0230
Fax: 732-780-5002

Toms River

250 Washington St
Toms River NJ 08753

Telephone: 732-780-0230
Fax: 732-780-5002

Point Pleasant

3247 Route 88
Point Pleasant NJ 08742

Telephone: 732-780-0230
Fax: 732-780-5002