Thursday, December 31, 2009

What is an Employment Solicitor and What Does He Do?

Last week, one of my close relatives came to my father, with swollen eyes and vexed expressions on his face. He came to discuss a pressing issue. According to him, he was terminated from his job without any prior notice. He was worried not because he was fired from his job unduly but for the reason that whether he would be able to find a new one or not. In other words, he was, in fact, not aware of his legal rights as an employee.

It is not only the case of my relative but of many people who are altogether unapprised of their legal job rights; in case they do have an awareness of the violation of their rights, they might not know to whom they should consult, in case of the violation of their legal job rights? From where they can have the proper guidance about what should be done in such a situation?

The main purpose of this article is to introduce you to an employment solicitor, or in other terms, an employment lawyer, and to make the people, who are facing the violation of their job rights, aware of the existence of a professional who can lead them to the right direction.

As its name implies, an employment solicitor is a qualified and experienced professional, who not only deals with the employment issues lawfully but may also advise his clients in critical situations related to their jobs. Besides that, he also keeps an eye on the changing rules and regulations, concerning the employment law. In short, he is the one who is the expert of the employment law.

Not only in case of unfair dismissal, as that of my relative, but also in the cases of the breach of the job contract, in terms of tenure, salary etc., work timings, discrimination at workplace - disability, race or sex, harassment at work place - general, racial or sexual, being at the risk of redundancy, whistle blowing and raising ethical concerns inside or outside the organization. Besides that, anything which is or can be detrimental for the employee comes under the functions of an employment solicitor to deal with.

In short, if one has been victimized, sacked or harassed at the work place and is entitled to place a claim against his employer, it is the employment solicitor who can tell him about the legal specifications and procedures, according to the "Employment Rights Act", which is made by every government to secure the rights of the employees of her country.

In western countries, there are employment solicitor companies, which provide the assistance to their prospective clients in cases related to employment law. "British employment Law Advice" is an example of such a company. As far as the Eastern countries are concerned, there are only a few lawyers working in this specification. But, let us be optimistic that future brings positive changes in this field all around the world.

Simon P Jennings is a personal insurance consultant. You may consult with the Professional Negligence Solicitors for guaranteed claims now.

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Guess What? You're Fired

A "Donald Trump" Primer on Employment Law in Texas

One of the most common calls I receive in my office are calls involving employment situations. On a weekly basis I'll get a call from someone who was fired regarding their situation. The call invariably ends with the question, "Can they fire me for that?" About nine times out of ten, the answer is "yes." Texas is essentially an "employment at will" state. Basically this means that, unless you have an employment contract, you can be fired or you can quit at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. Say the boss doesn't like your shoes? She can fire you. Say you don't like the tie the boss is wearing? You can quit.

As with everything else in the law, however, there are always exceptions. For instance, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot be fired for refusing to perform an illegal act. If you refuse to dump that fifty-five gallon barrel of toxic waste into Lake Conroe, your job is still secure!

Also, you cannot be fired for discrimination based on your age. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of age if they are over 39. And yes, in case you are wondering, it is a bit depressing to realize that this law applies to me now!

Here's an interesting question: Can you be fired for refusing to take a drug test? Here's a very lawyer like answer: Probably. Remember, private employers can fire you for any reason or for no reason at all. If your employer can fire you because they don't like your shoes, they will likely have the right to fire you for your refusal to take a drug test. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they tend to involve public employers. (But honestly, do we really want intoxicated mail carriers wandering our streets?)

Okay, forget the drug test. Can you be fired for refusing to take a lie detector test? This is actually one of those exceptions I mentioned earlier. Federal law actually prohibits an employer from asking an employee or prospective employee to take a lie detector test. It is also illegal to refuse to hire or to fire someone for refusing to take the test. There are some exceptions to this rule that involve an employer's ongoing investigation regarding economic loss or theft. But hey, what fun would the law be if there weren't exceptions to the exceptions?

What do we do when laws appear to contradict one another? I recently had a call from someone who was fired for simply stating their opinion about a matter at work. They called me, very upset, and felt that their constitutional right to free speech was violated. I ended up giving them a good news / bad news answer. The good news is that you do have a constitutionally protected right to free speech. The U.S. Government cannot restrict your right to express yourself.

The bad news is that your employer can fire you for expressing yourself at work. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects you from the government's attempt to restrict what you say, but it does not affect your employer's right to fire you for saying it. Besides, the guy ordering his pizza from you probably isn't all that interested in your opinion on the Iraq war anyway!

Written by the owner of This article can be reproduced in whole or in part, providing this byline is included along with a followable link to

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inventor Mistakes to Avoid

Inventors are not marketers. A strong belief in their new product idea combined with little or no understanding of marketing causes them to look for an easy way to achieve commercial success. Sadly, many spend their time, effort and money on get rich quick schemes that drain them of resources before they achieve commercial success.

Probably the most common get rich quick scheme is the Infomercial scam. A number of companies cater to inventors. They promise to present the inventors product to the market via an infomercial for somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. The poor inventor has visions of someone like the late Billy May making them into over night millionaires. The short video gets produced and the firm airs the infomercial a few times in unlikely time slots in tiny markets. They report back to the inventor that the product didn't sell. Now the inventor has a very expensive video and a much lighter bank account.

A second area where new product inventors tend to spend money where they shouldn't is on tooling. While we are blessed today with technology that makes it possible to produce a small number of prototypes or even small production runs with out investing in hard tooling, many inventors commit to hard tooling long before they have proven the commercial viability of the product. Not only is this an expensive proposition, it may prove to have been a huge waste if the first parts need to be redesigned or if the tooling is made for one producer and will not work for another.

A third area where inventors tend to spend money before they should is product inventory. All too often inventors avoid producing a quantity of prototypes that would allow them to test the market. Instead, they building a large quantity of inventory because the piece part costs are lower. One inventor came to me with $50,000 worth of inventory in his garage before he ever tried to see if the product would sell.

Another area where inventors complain to me about wasting their money is having their ideas printed up and mailed to manufacturers. Sometimes they are sent by themselves and sometimes they are included with a number of other new product ideas. In today's world, you really have to do more than present the idea if you want your idea to be accepted. You have to show the manufacturer or the retailer how to make money and prove that it is possible. You have to show the end user why they should part with their hard earned money for your invention. In this economy, you have to do the work for your intended customer. The new product idea is only part part of the equation of making money from your idea.

Patents can also be a huge drain on an inventor's resources. Having a patent means you now have a right to defend your patent in court. If the inventor is not prepared to defend the patent, then the patent becomes nothing more than a "keep off the grass" sign. Unless you have created something of unusual design, most design patents are not worth the time or the money. Utility patents need to be well written to prevent competition from reverse engineering your new product idea. Patents can be a tremendous asset when done properly or they can be a huge expense.

Achieving financial success based on one of these ideas is about as likely as pitching the perfect baseball game or bowling the perfect game. It is not impossible, but not very likely either. In real life it is more likely that you succeed from a series of small successes rather than one Grand Slam.

Copyright Bob Cannon/The Cannon Advantage, 2009. All rights reserved.

Byline: Bob Cannon author of "Guide to the U.S. Hardware Market", helps inventors and marketers with new products. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495. This article courtesy of You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.

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Non-Disclosure Agreement - Safest Way in Securing Intellectual Property

Like every other assets, intellectual property is indeed a valuable asset, which needs protection and security. One needs to protect IP while utilizing it to its full potential. Lets face it. You cannot just lock your intellectual ideas at one of the safest corners, away from your business partners, who in turn can make it a success so some way or other. To utilize your intellectual property you also need to share it with prospective people who can fetch you profit. You can protect your IP in several ways while sharing it with others and one such way is signing a non-disclosure agreement.

The non-disclosure agreement also known as the confidentiality agreement, allows you in sharing your intellectual property with others, whose inputs are necessary to fetch you profit however, without unjustifiably risking the information. For example, if you have an innovative idea but you need to consult an expert to have further knowledge in order to develop it more an appropriate this agreement or NDA can ensure you the peace of mind. Precisely, it is the non-disclosure agreement that actually supports in keeping the confidentiality of your IP between you and the expert.

This agreement is like a confidentiality agreement between you and the other party where you agree to unveil certain information to them for a specific purpose. It is somewhat a legal form where they also agree to not reveal your IP information to anyone else.

Why you need the non-disclosure agreement

In the strict sense, you are eligible to use the agreement when you decide to share your intellectual property with an expert whose help you need to develop it further and at the same time you do not want him to pass your IP to others. Non-disclosure agreement is thus more like a partnership agreement between you and your advisor to ensure safety to your IP.

You need this employment agreement for the following purposes:

It might happen that you have developed a prototype of a new widget. Prior deciding to produce it at a large scale you need to have a cost estimate. It is then the agreement will come handy to protect your innovative idea/product.
You have developed a new business model and you need someone to venture funding on it or perhaps want to respond to a confidential RFP. In both the cases you have to share your IP with a n expert whose expertise you can hire provided you sign a non disclosure agreement to keep your IP safe and secure.

As any other legal document before signing this agreement seek help of a legal professional.

For more information flip through the pages of

Non Disclosure Agreement

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visa For Fiance(e) Of a US Citizen - K1 & K2

A foreign national planning to marry a U.S. Citizen (USC) may be able to bring his or her fiance(e) and fiance(e)'s minor children into U.S. under the K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant visa respectively. If the foreign national marries that USC after admission into the United States, he or she and in certain situations their children also, may seek permanent residence by filing for Adjustment of Status. The marriage must have occurred within ninety days of such admission although it doesn't always happen this way.

However, before using this visa to enter United States, foreign nationals must weigh the pros and cons of their situation and contemplate the possibility of changes in the circumstances that may prevent them from ever marrying the petitioner. The condition of marrying the petitioning USC is mandatory. Failure to take appropriate steps often results in separation of families.

On the other hand, a foreign national may find himself or heself in a relationship with an abusive USC fiance(e) thinking that the only alternative is "to leave the country if they had to leave the abusive spouse." Immigration Law treats victims of abuse with compassion, it's a lesser known fact.

Often, the foreign national spouse may feel forced to stay in a relationship ridden with abuse for lack of resources to free himself or herself from the situation and seek help. The victims of domestic violence and their dependents can self petition for their immigration status. However, these people seldom seek help because of lack of awareness of their rights.

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Tax Season Starts For Immigrants

There are a million people who dreams day in and day out of immigrating to the United States. But trust me; this is just the easy part. Once you have legally immigrated to the United States then all the laws Federal laws would be applicable on you too like on any other American. You would be liable to pay all the applicable taxes which you are liable for, and some questions like the SSN, the ITIN, determining the alien tax status, and the taxation of the resident and the nonresident aliens would not take very long to steal away your sweet night sleep.

Mentioned here under are the answers to some of the questions mentioned above. Trust me these are just the starting. But eventually as you get used to these they would not be bothering you so much. So let's move to the first topic.

1. SSN Application - SSN or the Social Security Number is very important for a person living in the United States. Though we are not going to dig much in to it but let's just keep it limited to the fact that your eligibility to file for an SSN depends on whether or not the DHS has granted you permission to work in the United States.
2. ITIN - You can call the ITIN as a substitute for the SSN to some extent. In other words if you are required to file for the federal tax return and in case you do not have the SSN in that case you would require an Individual Taxpayer's Identification Number".
3. Determining Alien Tax Status - Chances are that the IRS guys would deem you to be a resident alien in the United States even if you are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States, or you do not hold a Green Card. A detailed peek in to the IRS would help you understand how the mechanism works and the status of your alien tax.
4. Taxation for the NR Aliens and the Resident aliens in the United States - Asfar as the taxation is concerned, for a typical non resident alien; they are just subjected to the income tax part only, to the extent of their income source only in the United States. However when we look in to the situation of a resident alien the story changes a lot. These people are subjected to the normal federal taxes as is done for any other United States citizen.

These are just the beginning and trust me there is a lot more than that meets the eye, related to the above mentioned topics. Thus your best bet for the above mentioned questions would be to dig in to the IRS. Or wait till we happen to talk about each one of these in details later.

Tushar Mathur writes regularly about Green cards and visas at

He also writes about Investing In India at

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the US and has now reached in epidemic dimension. It simply refers to a fraudulent activity in which one person steals another person's personal information including credit card, social security card number, and passport details in order to use it for unauthorized purposes. From ordinary people, students, and employees to celebrities and industrialists have been hit by identity theft. It takes considerable time, even years, for a victim of identity theft to recover from the damaging affects of identity theft, as it may destroy his credit, apart from wrecking his reputation.

Some people may be accused of criminal charges, as a result of identity theft. There are also instances in which people loose their job due to identity theft. Hence, the only way to keep away from identity theft is via being careful all times. In other words, prevention is the best way to overcome identity theft. Mention below is some of the ways through which you could minimize the chances of identity theft.

* Always secure your key business and personal records including social security card number, credit cards, and bank or financial document in a safe place by locking them in a safe or durable file cabinet.
* If not necessary, never carry such vital information as social security card and signed check leaf when you go outside.
* Further, never carry more than one credit card in your wallet. It is also not advisable to store the ATM card pin number in the wallet.
* Never allow your paid bills to remain in the mailbox, as a thief who searches your mail box can retrieve some of your most important information including name, address, number, bank details, credit card information, and above all your signature, which he may exploit for illicit activities.
* Be careful when you put any kind of business records in the trash, as sometimes these waste papers may prove as a bonanza for identity thieves.
* Likewise, be careful when you converse on the phone. If you receive a phone call requesting for your account details or other personal details, make sure that you are disclosing your important information to only the person concerned. However, it is not advisable to disclose your critical information over the phone.
* Don't forget to delete or cut off the details of previous or terminated employees' details from your company or business database.
* Check your credit reports and bank statements in regular intervals, as it helps to easily trace out suspicious transactions.

In case, if your wallet, suit case or bag containing valid information is lost, immediately inform it to your collection agencies, creditors, or credit card companies in order to block your details. It is also important to file a report with your local police, and maintain a copy of it to furnish it as a proof to creditors who may accuse of crime.

Please check about a new Hard Case wallet named iWallet which is specially designed to reduce identity theft. This wallet has many features that alerts you if the wallet is being lost or taken by someone. Buy iWallet now just for $299!

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The Need For Credit Protection

Credit protection is now a must have thing in this technologically advanced society hounded by fraudulent individuals. Having the right kind of this credit service will give you the assurance of being able to cope with the financial obligation you need to incur for your credit card especially when you become financially incapacitated for some reasons. While you are enjoying the shopping convenience of having to use your credit card, it is also essential for you to arm yourself for any eventuality pertinent to it.

Enjoying the shopping convenience with credit cards is among the many good things brought about by modern technology. On the other hand being tangled with the law and being victimized by people tagged as identity thieves is also one of the bad things brought along by modern technology. Because of the fact that identity theft continues to rise, it is therefore essential to arm yourself with the right credit protection.

Having a real good credit card protection is one way to protect yourself from identity theft but it is principally geared to secure your credit records for any eventuality. It is expected to help you cope with your financial obligation when the need arise. Having this kind of protection will help you coup with your monthly premiums especially in the event that you will no longer be able to shoulder such financial obligations for some valid reasons.

Being a responsible debtor, you should always foresee any eventuality that may incapacitate you to handle the financial obligation you need to incur for your debt. Arming yourself with a good credit protection will really help a lot in times when you are tangled with anything you least expect like having to loss your income for some reason. It is therefore a good stance to have credit protection ready for any eventuality.

Before you shall purchase credit protection, you need to consider a lot of important things. One thing you need to do is to identity the amount of your debt for it will be the basis in identifying the kind of credit protection you shall have. Those whose debt is not that huge certainly do not need to have credit protection as not everyone need to have it.

For sure it would be impractical to have this kind of protection if your debt is pretty much low. This is because of the fact that most banks would base the monthly premiums of credit protection policies on the amount of debt of the card holder. You also need to see the terms and conditions of your credit card at the same time identify your capacity to pay the monthly premiums.

You need to remember that having credit protection is geared to help you when the need arise. It should be your some sort of back up fund when you will be incapacitated to pay such financial obligation especially when you shall become unemployed for some reasons. Hence, you need not have to spend a lot on this matter.

You need make sure having only the right and good product. You can only do this if you only deal with company having this kind of reputation. Hence, it is really a must that you shall be extra cautious in looking for the right credit protection.

You may own a line-up of credit cards and may need credit protection for its security and safety. This is because you never know what might happen next should this be stolen or used fraudulently. Or you may try protection from identity theft.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Underpaid and Undervalued? You Need Employment Law Solicitors

We live in a work-obsessed culture and put work before anything else, even our families. However, it seems more people are being underpaid and undervalued in their line of work, thus resulting in individuals seeking advice from trained employment law solicitors.

If you don't know your rights then it is hard to know if your employer is doing the right thing or not. Employment law solicitors will be able to advise you where you stand and if anything can be done to ease the situation.

Underpaid - if you've been working for an employer for a number of years and never had a pay increase, or if you have been putting in numerous hours of overtime and never see a dime, then your employer could be breaking the law. Too many employers think it is okay to treat workers poorly and it seems that more workers are falling victim to this with the recession in full swing. Employers feel that they have a much stronger hold over their workers as work is in short supply in the big wide world, so some employers think they are doing their staff a favour by just keeping them in a job, and they don't see the need to pay overtime etc.

Undervalued - some workers feel very undervalued when they are at work. They could be stuck doing menial jobs, despite the fact they have good qualifications and are used to doing something much better. Some employers treat workers with very little respect which results in staff seeking advice from employment law solicitors. It is a sad situation when people are undervalued in today's society, especially with the long hours and hard work people put in.

So, if any of the above sounds like something you might have experienced, its time you spoke with employment law solicitors. They will get you the justice you deserve. Don't assume that nothing can be done because it has gone on for so long - there has never been a better time to seek advice from specialists.

For more information on employment law, be sure to speak with the professionals. Raleys Solicitors are professionals in all legal affairs. Click Employment Law Solicitors. Visit today.

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How to Choose the Right Solicitor For Your Case

Dealing with legal matters is high on most people's list of activities they'd prefer to avoid. It can be a stressful experience because so much is at stake. However, most of us need to deal with a solicitor at some time in our lives whether it's for routine procedures such as buying and selling property or making wills, or more individual cases such as divorces or employment-related matters such as appeals against dismissal. Whatever legal situation or problem you may have it's essential you seek qualified legal advice, preferably from experts working in your part of the country. So if have a legal problem and live in the Leeds area, finding the right solicitors in Leeds is the first step to getting a satisfactory resolution.

If you live in the Leeds area, here are some situations you may find yourself in where it would be best to contact a Leeds-based solicitor. First, we'll look at family law. This field of law is very wide and detailed and covers such matters as marriage, divorce, separation, child custody, child support and paternity disputes. These types of legal problems can be painful and acrimonious due to the family bonds involved. This makes it essential to get dispassionate professional legal counsel that will provide solid unbiased advice. It's easy to get hot headed when family matters are concerned.

In these types of cases, Legal Aid is often available. If not other options may be possible. Try and find a Leeds solicitor with an SRA accreditation in Family Law. Other matters involved in family law include domestic violence and housing and homelessness. These can be very serious matters which need to be resolved quickly and expertly.

One particular aspect of family law that can lead to acrimony is that of wills and trusts. Having expert legal advice can not only ensure that the law is done but done in such a way that all parties are satisfied and remain on good terms. Temperatures rise when large sums of money are involved. Finding the right family solicitor in Leeds to deal with will disputes can make the difference between an amicable solution and good relationships, and a protracted dispute resulting in lifelong feuds.

Making a will is an essential task for any responsible adult as the results of dying intestate can be serious. Many people are tempted to make their own wills but improperly prepared wills are not enforceable. For your peace of mind and that of your heirs, it's important to make a properly drafted will. A solicitor can also advise you on the topic of inheritance tax.

The next major field of law that most people have to deal with in their lives is property law. Most people buy a house at some point and it's essential to get the legal aspects of ownership correct. Buying and selling property can be full of pitfalls and expert advice is essential. If you're buying or selling a house in Leeds, engaging the services of Leeds solicitors is vital to a successful transaction and your peace of mind.

Another field of law that many people find themselves involved in is employment law. This can cover everything from redundancy, wrongful or unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination and harassment, and work related injury. Employment law can be very complex so it's crucial to get expert advice in the form of a Leeds solicitor to help navigate the legal thicket and get the result you deserve.

These are just some examples of the types of legal advice that many people need to get at some point in their lives. If you feel for any reason you have need of legal counsel, you should consult a solicitor as soon as possible. When looking for legal counsel it makes sense to choose qualified professionals with long experience in the area in which you live. This local knowledge will go a long way to a successful resolution of any legal problems you may have. So if you're buying or selling a house, starting a business, or have legal problems with your employer, you need to find Leeds solicitors to help you solve your problems as soon as possible.

For expert legal advice throughout the Yorkshire & Humber region including Leeds solicitors, Bradford solicitors, York solicitors, Hull solicitors, Sheffield solicitors, Harrogate solicitors, Wakefield solicitors, Huddersfield solicitors and areas in between, check online for qualified professionals.

Michiel van Kets writes articles for Legal and Financial 100, a gateway to direct access to 100 specially selected individual legal and financial specialists in Leeds and the Yorkshire and Humber region. Receive impartial advice from Leeds solicitors and Leeds financial experts. If you need advise on business law, family law or employment law, visit the website for an experienced and professional Leeds solicitor.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Gets a $23 Million Boost

On December 13th the Senate passed the 2010 omnibus appropriations bill. Under the new funding bill an additional $23 million dollars will be directed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help tackle a growing backlog of discrimination complaints. The perennially cash-strapped employment enforcer will use the much needed budget to boost staffing levels and beef up on litigation attorneys. With more EEOC representatives attacking the standing cases, companies can expect a more agile organization with shorter response times for equal opportunity complaints.

Over the years the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has suffered consistent staffing and funding cutbacks with an increasing rate of complaints being filed year to year. From 2007 to 2008 the complaint backlog jumped over 30 percent. The chronic underfunding has held up from the Clinton administration through to the recent Bush Administration. With some active cases standing at over 3 years old, both government litigators and corporate lawyers agree that the situation has reached an untenable state.

A key piece of the economic revival strategy, equal employment opportunities are being targeted as a means of leveling the job market playing field. From the President down to the house of representative EEO enforcement sends a clear message to constituents that Law Makers are vying to protect the entire spectrum of voters during the slow revival.

While many corporate lawyers see the funding boost as a positive sign, companies are gearing up for an increasing number of EEOC Audits. Ultimately, reducing the 3 year backlog only helps bring the case to judgment. It is preferential to both side to minimize the length of time between complaints and resolutions. In addition to reducing the standing backlog, new EEOC resources will be utilized for new regulations concerning bailout recipients. Under the terms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 all government contractors who received bailout funds will be flagged in the Federal Contractor Selection System for potential future audits.

With a boost in EEOC resources companies need to be more stringent in their enforcement of equal opportunity practices and their record keeping for equal opportunity compliance data. On the positive side, average Equal Employment Opportunity case length should shrink. Given the funding implications, applicant tracking software companies have developed built-in EEO tracking features to automate the data capture process and provide push button EEOC compliance reports. Companies that maintain best practices when hiring, stay up to date on EEOC guidelines and take advantage of technology should stand to benefit from a reinvigorate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

I am an aspiring blogger who enjoys Business, Technology and Travel. My articles are intended to share helpful information. I hope my readers enjoy them.

Resources: EEO Tracking

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Your Rights Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) And New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

As an employee working in the State of New Jersey, no doubt you have heard co-workers, friends or family mention "family leave" or the "family medical leave act." These phrases reference two separate laws that benefit many people working in this State - the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), which is a federal law, and the New Jersey Family Leave Act ("NJFLA"), which you likely guessed is a state law. Fundamentally, these laws provide unpaid leave periods during which a qualifying employee's job as well as certain benefits are protected. For non-military employees, an employee may be entitled to a benefit of 12 weeks unpaid leave in a 12 month period under the FMLA and 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 24 month period under the NJFLA. The concept under both laws is to place an employee in the same job position after family leave expires.

On the surface, these laws seem relatively straightforward regarding the benefits provided. In practice, however, issues such as whether a particular employee is entitled to leave, calculation of the leave period and simultaneous running of leave periods under both FMLA and NJFLA frequently arise. Given the not so obvious pitfalls that surround application of these laws, employers often simply do not know the law or worse, believe, incorrectly, that they fully comprehend the intricacies of the leave acts, both of which lead to misapplication of the law.

In general, the FMLA and NJFLA apply to all private employers with 50 or more employees and all public and governmental agencies regardless of the number of employees. Nevertheless, even the basic task of tallying the number of employees working for a private employer is complicated by provisions of the leave laws that increase the number of employees attributed to an employer if it is shown that there is common management, ownership and control of a subsidiary, division or entity related to the particular employer.

To be eligible for leave under the FMLA, an employee must have worked for a specific employer for a minimum of 12 months and worked 1,250 base hours in the 12 months preceding the leave. Compare the NJFLA, which requires the same 12 month employment period, but reduces the base hour requirement to 1000 hours in the preceding 12 months for leave eligibility. Calculating eligibility is likewise not always what it seems - the minimum 12 month period of working for an employer does not have to be consecutive months of employment and includes partial weeks worked, sick leave, vacation time and other paid time off. Contrast the base hour requirement, which does not include vacation, sick leave or other personal leave toward this requirement.

Under both FMLA and NJFLA, leave is available to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child and to care for the serious medical condition of a close family member (generally a parent, spouse or child). Unlike NJFLA, the FMLA expands leave to cover an employee's own serious medical condition. A serious medical condition is generally defined as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or medical condition, which requires in-patient care or continuing treatment from a health care provider. Issues triggered by the definition of serious medical condition include overlap with an employee's privacy protection in his or her medical records and permissible communications an employer may have with an employee's medical professionals. Moreover, in certain circumstances, cosmetic or elective surgery may qualify as a serious medical condition as well as the treatment for alcohol or substance abuse as opposed to absences caused by the use of alcohol or drugs.

Given that the leave provided for under FMLA and NJFLA may cover the same event, simultaneous running of leave under both acts must frequently be determined. For example, an individual injured at work whom is unable to work for 12 weeks due to his or her own disability, would exhaust the 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA. If, on the final day of the employee's own disability, his or her spouse is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, the employee is then entitled to 12 weeks unpaid leave under NJFLA. Contrast, however, a situation where an employee must provide care to a child for a serious medical condition and the 12 weeks of unpaid leave under both FMLA and NJFLA would run at the same time.

ther issue that often occurs is whether an employer may force an employee to use paid leave time concurrent with the unpaid leave provided for by FMLA and NJFLA. The short answer is yes - an employer may require you to take your paid time off, i.e., sick and vacation time during your unpaid leave period. The principle here is that an employer must follow its past practice concerning exhaustion of all accrued paid leave during a leave of absence. In other words, the employer's practice must be consistent for leave act purposes with its policy about using paid time off during other unpaid leave periods.

For employees and employers alike, the FMLA and NJFLA pose difficult legal and factual questions. At risk for employers that mistakenly deny leave to an employee is litigation and potentially significant monetary penalties. At risk for employees that do not properly follow the leave act guidelines is loss of much needed time off and termination from employment. For these reasons, it is imperative employers and employees consult with a legal professional concerning the FMLA and NJFLA.

The author of this article, Andrew L. Watson, is a partner at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, who specializes in the area of Labor and Employment law. For more information, visit

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Friday, December 25, 2009

If it Looks to Good to Be True - It Probably Is

The NYS Attorney General's Office is addressing the increase of criminals who prey on senior citizens (especially women) with a seminar entitled "Scam, Frauds and Consumer Protection."

The most common scams are: advance free loans, prize/sweepstakes, business opportunities, real estate, credit card and stock offers, magazine sales, travel/vacations, work at home schemes, and counterfeit sweepstakes. One of the most obvious ways is a phone call from telemarketers. ( call 888-382-1222) Fraudulent methods are becoming more and more devious as the unsuspecting heartstrings of trusting, older adults are pulled upon.

One scheme called "The Granny Scam" is to call up fairly late at night. If an older woman answers, they begin talking hurriedly into the receiver. "Grandma! Grandma!" Grandma answers, "Sally! Is that you? You don't sound right!" "Yes! I know" answers sneaky Sally "I've been in a car accident and I need money right away!" "What can I do?" "Please wire money to this address..." Grandma is out is $500 or more, depending on what she has lovingly sent to "accident victim" Sally.

Another scam is a phone call from a "Commissioner of Jurors", who informs you of missing your jury duty assignment, even though were not aware your were called to serve - but if you "tell me your social security number" they will take care of your missing name. This scam has happened in 21 states, and the numbers are growing. Never give out your social security number over the telephone.

The role of the Attorney General's Office is to defend and act as an advocate for the consumer. They mediate where a case of consumer fraud is evident, and litigate if more than one person is involved, shutting down a business permanently. Charities who are negligent in how they present themselves are also open to dissolution. For instance, someone emailing from "The Center For Missing Youth" took of advantage of the well known "Center For Missing and Exploited Children" hoping the reader would confuse the two. The first is not a legitimate organization, and were counting on people not knowing the difference. The Attorney General's Office also gets restitution for the consumer who has been duped. The organization or business may be fined, pay a fee and pay for your attorney.

Another role of The Attorney General's Office is to educate. There are sweepstake and lottery scams, particularly taking advantage of older adults. The rule of thumb to go by is that nobody wins a sweepstakes without entering.

Renegade contractors are also a blight on society's older Americans. Never pay upfront for a contract whether it be to replace your roof, vinyl side your home, or put in a new driveway, as well as any other improvements to your home. Also, make sure you receive an itemized list and a contract explaining what the contractor intends to do, how much it will cost for materials, and most importantly, a date of completion. Make sure the contractor has adequate insurance in case he is hurt on the job, and that he has an escrow account for your deposit. Any money you give him should not go into his own personal or business checking account. It is always wise to get more than one estimate.

The most recent scam to hit unsuspecting seniors is The Home Security Scam. Problems arose when people would show up at a homeowner's doorstep saying the security system needed to be updated. The person may look official, wearing the shirt that has the same logo of your security plan. But several weeks later you will get a bill from the company and the company you originally signed with. What has happened is the second company (who is legitimate) has replaced your previous company's wiring - you are legitimately responsible for TWO security company accounts! Always call and find out before letting someone work on your equipment.

Another way to protect yourself is to remove your name from lists sold to banks and other credit agencies. To prevent the credit bureaus from selling your name and information, call 1-888-567-8688. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months. For more information regarding scams or if you have been a victim, contact Benjamin Bruce at the NYS Attorney General's Office (585)546-7430. Don't let the embarrassment of being taken advantage of prohibit you from protecting yourself and others from becoming victims again.

Eileen Loveman is an author, newspaper columnist, comedian, board sitting public servant, teacher, business owner, paralegal, mother to six grownups, three Labradors and one debonair cat. Based in Western New York overlooking Lake Ontario, "Stories From the Lake" chronicles the extraordinary life of everyday people and her equally extraordinary husband. She has held every job imaginable (even selling cemetery plots for one day) and is qualified to do just about everything except open-heart surgery.

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Medicaid Compliance - Three Sure-Shot Ways to Deal With Mics

It can be a tough task for you, dealing with the Medicaid Integrity Contractors (MICs). Here are three rules from attorneys that will help you understand and deal with the MICs better.

The first rule: You cannot count on MICs following the standardized rules and safeguards that rein in the RACs. According to Steve Lokensgard, special counsel with the Minneapolis office of the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP, MIC audits are conducted on a state-by-state basis. The MIC program does not provide national standards governing, unlike the RACs.

* How far back the MIC auditors can go?
* What's the number of records the MICs can request from providers to come up in a certain period of time?
* The appeal process: What will it be like?

According to CMS, the standards will be based on state law.

Going by a CMS Open Door Forum on the program, you should not expect MICs to always follow state requirements. Says ODF presenter Barbara Rufo, director of the Medicaid Integrity Contracting Division, "If you are in state X and the state Medicaid agency typically looks back three years, then we typically would look back three years." But that's subject to change.

The second rule: You should know the function of the three MIC contractors, and what an audit portends. In a nutshell, the MICs include three types of contractors: review, audit, and education. According to Lokensgard, the review contractors will do data mining to find issues indicative of an erroneous claim. Then the audit contractors will conduct the audits either onsite or as a desk audit. And according to CMS, education MICs will pick up on concerns not covered by the other two MICs to educate providers and others on Medicaid payment integrity and quality of care.

Attorney Paula Sanders, a partner with Post & Schell in Harrisburg, Pa., says that providers are not going to be audited at random by MICs, adding that the review MICs will have already found something aberrant that suggests to them that the provider goofed up somewhere. The MICs will check with state and federal entities like Medicaid Fraud Control Units and the HHS Office of Inspector General to make sure the provider is not under any investigation before they embark on their edit.

The third rule: When you steep your organization in the state's Medicaid billing and documentation requirements, it can put you on par with the MICs. Sanders says that for MICs to be effective, they have to learn and understand the intricacies of every Medicaid program.

Provides weekly digest newsware about healthcare compliance news , and offers advanced Learning Opportunities for medicaid integrity contractor and physician billers according to 2010 Work Plan.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hiring a Lawyer to Deal With Internet Crimes

Even before the invention of the Internet, identity theft crime was a problem for millions of people. Now that the Internet flows into millions of homes around the world, online identity theft is running rampant and new laws are passed every year to combat this growing frustrating problem. When you're charged with identity theft, you need to know what to expect.

The severity of the punishment for an Internet identity theft will typically be based on two things. Most importantly, it will be based on the amount of property or goods that were stolen. This is measured in monetary value. Second, the punishment is also likely to be based on previous conviction records. Because the charges can vary, the right criminal defense for you will be determined by the specific charge against you.

You will need to get yourself a criminal defense lawyer who has lots of experience dealing with identity theft cases. These already know a lot about the laws involved and will be able to make sure your case runs as smoothly as possible. A criminal defense attorney also needs to be very patient and able to explain the charges in a language that you understand. The laws are continually changing and this means that it can be very difficult to get the information you so desperately need to defend yourself. However by hiring a criminal defense attorney you should be able to get all of this information.

Remember that the prosecutor attorney will have unlimited amounts of resources at his/her disposal. You should also bear in mind that it's not just one person working on your case but a bunch of folks including aides, clerks and lawyers. Since you're fighting all these folks to "clear" your name, you need to hire the best criminal attorney possible. When you have legal counsel on your side, he/she will pool their resources together to combat the prosecution.

When you're choosing a lawyer for an Internet identity case, it's best to choose someone who has experience in similar cases. They'll be able to use their prior research and experience to best defend your case. Ask they for information on cases they've handled that are similar to yours, and inquire about their success. Choose an attorney who has a proven track record of positive results.

One of the biggest concerns people have when hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the cost. However hiring a lawyer can actually be cost effective when you stop and consider the lost wages while the case is being sorted out, or while you are in prison. Hiring the best legal representation will help to speed up the whole process and ensure that you get the very best result possible.

It's perfectly normal if you're scared; after all being charged with any crime can be scary. However, if you're able to retain yourself a great criminal defense lawyer then you can relax that he/she is fighting for your freedom. Your case's outcome is likely to be more in your favor with someone who is standing on your side and understands the entire criminal defense process.

Colin Daives writes general information articles about criminal and DUI law. Each state has different laws and every case is unique. His articles are not meant to be legal advice. To learn more, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney or for assistance with your case in the state of Colorado, contact a Denver criminal lawyer today.

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The Growth and Instability of Internet Law Requires Entities to Focus and Refocus on Terms of Use

No other area of law is as undeveloped as internet law. While many traditional legal principles are applied to the online world, the unique technical and factual challenges presented by the internet can leave those who are unprepared vulnerable. Fortunately, internet lawyers do exist and are able to help identify legal risks, mitigate those risks, and provide recommendations in light of the newly developing laws.

In fact, one should look no further than a website's Terms of Use, sometimes known as Terms of Service, for insight into the state of internet law. It is within these terms, which if drafted properly and implemented effectively, that an internet service provider (ISP) and end-user will be bound in multiple instances. ISPs will seek immunity through the use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) safe harbor provision or Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. On the other hand, users will look to these terms to understand what rights have been granted to them and those that are reserved by the ISP. Equally important, third parties will even be governed by these terms as they attempt to redress copyright infringement, trademark infringement, online defamation, or other legal issues through the ISP.

Terms of Use are no longer an option. While they are not required, for example like a housing contract under the Statute of Frauds, they are critically important to any ISP. However, these terms should not be static. They should be reviewed and changed, preferably by an internet lawyer, in light of the changes within the field of internet law. Moreover, ISP's must be aware of the laws so that their actions can also change, as needed. For example, the recent changes to Part 255 of the FTC Guides as it pertains to testimonials could expose entities to liability for failure to comply. Simple disclaimers may no longer suffice. Instead, well-drafted and well-reasoned Terms of Use can help reduce the likelihood of legal and financial liability.

ISPs should:

1. have Terms of Use;
2. abide by the Terms of Use; and
3. revisit Terms of Use on a regular basis to confirm inclusion of recent laws.

Users and others should:

1. read the Terms of Use;
2. re-read the Terms of Use when notified of changes; and
3. understand the Terms of Use are likely a binding agreement.
With the proper attention, and occasional refocus, ISPs, users, and others alike can understand, comply with, and not fear internet laws.

Brian A. Hall is an internet lawyer and partner at Traverse Legal, PLC, a law firm specializing in internet law and intellectual property matters as well as complex litigation. His law firm serves as internet lawyers for web companies, bloggers, and other entities requiring representation in areas related to internet law.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

DUI and One Program That Is Saving Lives

DUI, driving while intoxicated, is a very bad idea. It can get a lot of people hurt. It can even get them killed. There a lot of prevention programs out there. One of them is called Every Fifteen Minutes.

The Every Fifteen Minutes program originated in Canada. The first Every Fifteen Minutes program took place in Chico. It was done by the Chico police department in 1995.

It was brought to the US, starting in Spokane, WA. The success of the program in preventing DUI among Junior and Seniors in high school has been good. It has spread throughout the United States.

This program is geared towards junior and senior high school students. It is usually planned to be done on or right before the week of prom or homecoming. Schools plan the summer before.

This program discusses many alcohol related dangers. The two the focus on the most are alcohol poisoning and drunk driving. They often involve several law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and real parents. The class doesn't just focus on avoiding a DUI traffic ticket, it saves lives.

Each school's version of the program is different, but the concept is the same. Two days are dedicated to the event. It then wraps up with an assembly that stresses the importance of staying sober in relation to the events the students have witnessed over the two days. The event order follows below.

On the morning of the first day, the student body is gathered outside, normally to the football field. There they witness a mock crash, complete with paramedics, police, and fire and rescue. The grim reaper shows up to take away the dead. The drunk driver is then arrested.

Every fifteen minutes thereafter, a student who is prior chosen is removed from the class. A police officer then informs the class that their classmate has been "killed" in an alcohol related incident. The students chosen for this program are picked in September of that year. In reality, students that are removed from the classroom spend the night doing non-alcoholic activities, and discussing the dangers of drinking and driving at a lock in.

The next day, students that were removed are returned to their classes. They are not allowed to speak during the day. Some schools elaborate by having the "dead" wear grave stone signs with their name and how they died printed on it.

At the end of the day, the student body is gathered for an assembly. This assembly wraps up the two day program. Police officers run it. They sometimes show horrifying crash sites in a slide show. These images are often graphic.

After the slide show, the program is turned over to the volunteers of the program. This includes the dead students, and their parents. They read testimonials about their experience in the event. Sometimes, the parents will read letters they have written to their dead children.

The Every Fifteen Minutes program is still being used today in a lot of schools. It has been heralded as innovative, and poignant. Some places even have their own variation of this program. The goal is still the same: the prevention of DUI driving while intoxicated and other alcohol related incidents

JASON A. DIAMOND, ESQ. Mr. Diamond's traffic ticket team has over 50 years of combined experience and has s 99% success rate in getting his clients no points and no school, Traffic Ticket

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Why Do We Need to Conduct Criminal Records Search?

With all the crime related activities we witness on TV and newspapers, we are wondering about our safety and the trust that we can give especially to people whose backgrounds we barely know about. There are a lot of reasons why people need to look for criminal records about an individual they feel suspicious about and most of the time; this helps them reassure their safety and the safety of their families by being able to know the criminal background of an individual, if they ever have one.

Every time a person feels like looking for a particular crime record, their first move is to look for any online records repositories with the initial hope that they can certainly find what they are looking for. Although it is true for a fact that the internet holds millions of information on different types of subjects, this is seldom factual when it comes to a personal records search because looking for a particular record such as this does not mean that you can easily type in the name of the subject and hit the search button. What you have to understand is that if you want to have a more productive search, you need to employ the services of online criminal records search service providers for you to able to locate the records you are looking for. This is because a lot of novice individuals looking for these records do not often realize that a simple Google or Yahoo search is not enough to produce the results they want. That is why it is never advisable to conduct a personal records search on your own without the help of criminal records search service providers who, in the first place, have a comprehensive database to offer when it comes to online records repositories.

Online criminal records search service is a convenient and helpful tool when someone is performing a background check while on the lookout for existing crime records about an individual. This records search service providers have plenty of accurate and reliable sources to offer which can extremely simplify your hunt for these records. Subscription based criminal records search services most of the time, are able to provide accurate information which can be a reliable source you can use on your background checking for whatever reasons you have in mind. These websites regularly up date and cross referenced their databases in order to come up with the most comprehensive online databanks.

To sum it up, looking for criminal records is not an easy task to perform on your own that it is why a lot of online criminal records search service offers their services to the public to enable them to conduct a more convenient and simple personal records lookup. What you can obtain from this particular service can help you a lot to understand the characteristics and personality of your subject and this can also help you establish the background of that individual based on his crime records which can help you in reassuring the safety of your family.

Meta Description

This article talks about the importance of obtaining criminal records. This also shows why online criminal records search services are important in performing a more convenient criminal records lookup.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Online S Corporation Formation - A How To

An S Corporation is a legal entity that functions much like that of a corporation. The major difference is that stockholders of an S-Corp make an election under Subchapter S to be taxed as a partnership, avoiding unnecessary double taxation. Although this is an added benefit, not every business can function as an S Corporation.

There are several determinants that must be considered for businesses to qualify as an S Corporation. As outlined below, the business must...
have been formed within the United States
have only one class of stock
have no more than 100 stockholders
have stockholders who are U.S citizens or residents
have profits/losses are allocated to stockholders pro rata to each stockholder's ownership interest within the corporation

It can be easy to form an S-Corp online. Of course the process is much simpler if you follow the steps below:

Find a Reputable Online Incorporation Service-
Finding the right online incorporation service provider is important. Many online incorporation services can assist with the formation of your business, but make sure you hire one that has specific experience forming S Corp. This way you know they are qualified to assist you. Reputable online incorporation service providers will be able to furnish the exact services your business needs to get you off the ground and running. They will fill all the necessary paperwork and have the ability to register your business in little to no time, some even under 24 hours.

Find a Registered Agent-
Once you have incorporated your business using an online formation service, the next step is to find a registered or resident agent. Many online incorporation services can provide registered agents for your business. This again is a great way to take the worry off your shoulders in having to hire a registered agent for your business. Most of the time small business owners hire third party resident agents because they are much more cost effective.

Online S Corporation formation is a great alternative to the more traditional approach of do-it-yourself. If you are looking for a quick turn-around and an easy way to incorporate your business let professionals help you out.

Filings Made Easy: Learn more by clicking on: Incorporate Online

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Big Business Starts Small

The story of America's economic success has been written by a combination of its political and social freedoms and the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that have led to the creation of many of the world's largest companies. But all of those companies began as the brainchild of an individual or group of friends and family who saw a place for their work to help the community in some way. Through a combination of planning, keen foresight, hard work, a valued service or product, and more than a stroke of good luck, the work of one person's imagination can become a hallmark of life generations later.

Certainly, anticipating such a sweeping success from the outset of your venture typically falls somewhere between a kind of overeager dreaming and positive motivation. But there is no harm in preparing your business for the possibility of eventual market dominance and expansive growth, and the failure to take the necessary steps can leave you at a considerable disadvantage if you are fortunate enough to experience faster than expected advances of your operations. Taking the time to address potential issues before they arise can save you time, money, and considerable frustration.

Small Business Concerns

There are countless books available on the subject of starting a small business and seeing it through the initial challenges that are likely to appear, but these are often written by individuals whose aim is to sell books an whose backgrounds may not have equipped them to offer such advice properly. Not only must you be wary of the information rendered in such texts, but the content is often contradictory from one book to the next and they are written in such a way that they address general concerns and skirt over the concrete legal issues surrounding specific businesses and the locales in which they operate.

Consulting with a skilled and experienced attorney can help you to ensure that you remain on the right side of the law as you begin cultivating your corporate empire. Some of the initial concerns of any small business should be:

* Attaining the appropriate licenses, permits, and other approvals for operations
* Ensuring that your hiring procedures are in compliance with the law
* Addressing all tax concerns
* Developing a business and marketing plan that is suited to your endeavor

Better Business Now

There are so many complicated issues pertaining to small business ownership that it would be difficult for an owner to remain on top of them all. That is where we come in. Contact the Des Moines business lawyers of LaMarca & Landry, P.C.

Joseph Devine

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Online Copyright Law Problems

Copyright law is one of the most important and relevant aspects of the legal system when it comes to doing business online. Most webmasters will at some stage encounter copyright law problems which must be addressed, whether that's an alleged violation of someone else's rights on their part, or someone else is violating their rights on another website or in an offline publication. Generally speaking, the principles behind copyright law are straightforward, however understanding how they work in practice is critical to ensure success in any legal claim.

At a general level, original works are the property of their creator or anyone subsequently licensed to use, reproduce or modify those works by the creator. The same is true online as it is in the publishing world - the author of content owns that content, unless some other arrangements have been made with other parties. That then gives rise to potential legal claims in circumstances where those rights have been unlawfully breached, such as content being used against advertising that doesn't belong to the publisher, or unauthorised reproduction of a particular part of work elsewhere than where permitted.

Commonly, approaching copyright problems is a straightforward issue. As the legal aggressor, it's best to approach a violation firstly with an email notifying the publisher of the breach and asking for removal of offending content. This usually works and is the most reasonable way to go about achieving your end goal - to protect your lawful rights over that content. If that proves ineffectual, it may be wise to opt for a more formal approach. An attorney will be able to write legal letters for around $200-$500, depending on how well respected they are and how experienced they are within the profession. This should help sort out any remaining issues with copyright infringement, and prompt the other party to deal with offending content.

Also, under US law, it's possible to serve what is known as a 'takedown notice' under recent copyright legislation. In a prescribed form, the takedown notice can be served on the hosting company of the offending publisher, and content so offending copyright must be removed in response to the presentation of the notice. If all else fails, there are legal remedies through the courts which can provide you with damages and expenses in respect of the abuse of your proprietary rights.

On the other side of the fence, it's best to deal with copyright disputes by simply removing content that appears to be owned by someone else. This is the quickest and most sure fire way of preventing the situation from escalating. While only 3% of legal disputes ever end up in court, it's still nonetheless worthwhile to ensure you're fully covered by simply removing any content that is alleged to be breaching another's rights.

Running a lucrative online business from the comfort of your home doesn't have to be difficult at all. If you would like to establish a lasting online success quickly and easily, then you should visit this place:

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Should You Copyright Your Photographs and Content on Your Website?

Copyright law has changed a lot over the years. Generally, when you create artistic or intellectual material (photos, songs, music, articles,etc.), you automatically and instantly create a copyright. You may put the copyright symbol by your creation, but since 1989, this is not a requirement.. However, it is good practice to include it to inform people that the work is copyrighted.

As far as registering your material, it is $35 for a basic copyright. The fee increases depending on what is involved; up to $215. It may not seem that much, but if you have hundreds or even thousands of items, you can see how it could add up. You can register a copyright yourself on line at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

There are a lot of people who choose not to register a copyright, since they own the copyright outright. The only time it becomes an issue is if someone uses your material without your permission, and they copy, reproduce or try to get financial gain from your work. Then, before pursuing legal action, you must copyright the material in question. Copyright law does not follow a consistent standard practice...much of it is on a case by case basis. There are many exceptions and exclusions.

So, there are two sides to copyrighting. Some people put out their work without registering for a copyright. Some people think you should register a copyright for everything. A lot has to do with how you choose to display your work. Will it be on the Internet? Newspaper? Art Gallery? Is it just for your personal collection?

Some say copyright only if you are able to back it up with legal action. This can be very expensive and take years to resolve. If you discover that someone has used a photograph or other content without your permission, you can have your lawyer send a cease and desist order, and sometimes that is all it takes. You can find all the information you need on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is also recommended that you consult a copyright and trademark attorney for further information.

Mike Hodge is the owner of He specializes in Website Development, Search Engine Optimization>, and Internet Marketing.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Are Disabling Conditions?

The listing of impairments (also found on the SSA website) describes impairments that are considered severe enough to prevent someone from engaging in gainful employment. This listing is broken down into major body systems and are as follows:

1. Musculoskeletal System
2. Special Sense and Speech
3. Respiratory System
4. Cardiovascular System
5. Digestive System
6. Genitourinary Disorders
7. Hematological Disorders
8. Skin Disorders
9. Endocrine System
10. Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
11. Neurological
12. Mental Disorders
13. Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
14. Immune System

As previously discussed, you can find these at the Social Security website or you can order their free publication by calling 1-800-772-1213.

A favorable decision would require your medical condition meet one or more of these disabling conditions. This medical condition should be documented in your medical records with the diagnostic tests to prove this condition exists.

Once you have turned in your application for benefits, it can take approximately four to six months for your initial Social Security Disability Application to be processed. Some of that delay is due to the amount of time it takes to receive your medical records from the various providers.

During this application period, it is important that you keep the Social Security Administration informed of any changes in your address or phone number. If you move you should always make sure they know of your new address. Likewise, if your phone number changes, you should make sure they know of your new phone number as well.

Lisa Douglas, RN/Attorney at Law. Lisa Douglas has been licensed as a Registered Nurse since 1986. She has practiced law since 2004. Focus of her law practice is personal injury, social security disability, medical malpractice, products liability, injury and accident claims.
Law Offices of Lisa Douglas
2300 Main St
N Little Rock, Arkansas 72114
(501) 798-0004
Fax: (501) 798-0010

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Social Security Disability Appeals Process

If you are denied Social Security Disability at the application level, then in most states to appeal a denied application you fill out a form entitled "Request for Reconsideration." Essentially this involves a review of the records that are already in your file and you are given the opportunity to submit any new information if it exists. Without more, you are basically asking for this agency to go back and admit it was wrong in their initial denial of your disability benefits. The likelihood of prevailing on this review alone is slim, unless you have additional information that was not a part of your file. If you are still denied Social Security Disability benefits at this level then you proceed to appeal that decision and request a hearing before the ALJ.

The appeals process to request a hearing is so back logged that it takes approximately eighteen months or more for a hearing to be scheduled before the ALJ. When you receive your hearing letter it will advise you of the date and time of your hearing.

Accompanying this letter will be an acknowledgment that you must complete and return to the ALJ. This is to confirm you are aware of the date and time that has been set for your hearing and that you will be there. If you are unable to make this scheduled date, it is important that you contact the court immediately to arrange for a different date.

Before this hearing date, it is important that you review the documents contained in your file. Currently, Arkansas sends out a compact disk (CD) with copies of these documents that are contained within your file. It is important for you and your attorney to review the contents of this file to ensure all the records from your health care providers have been received. If any are missing it is important to obtain these and submit them for inclusion into your file before the hearing. In addition if you have received treatment or additional diagnostic tests since you applied for SSDI, then it is also important that you gather these documents and submit them to be included within your file before the hearing.

Updating your file ensures that the ALJ has the most current information before deciding your claim.

Lisa Douglas, RN/Attorney at Law. Lisa Douglas has been licensed as a Registered Nurse since 1986. She has practiced law since 2004. Focus of her law practice is personal injury, social security disability, medical malpractice, products liability, injury and accident claims.
Law Offices of Lisa Douglas
2300 Main St
N Little Rock, Arkansas 72114
(501) 798-0004
Fax: (501) 798-0010

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Understanding Trademark Categories

The United States government provides us with the opportunity to protect our products and creative ideas with copyrights and trademarks. When you come up with an creative idea for a symbol or mark, you should consider getting a copyright for it so that you can benefit from your creativity. However, when you apply for a trademark, you should realize that there are different prerequisites that your mark must fulfill in order to get a trademark.

First, a symbol must have a certain degree of creativity before you can apply for legal protection for it. A generic description like "car" or "cereal" is a something that we use to identify an object, not just identify a particular brand of object. For example, "Apple" would not be a satisfactory trademark for a apple fruit producing company. However, when applied to computers, "Apple" is a creative way to label a business that produces computers, not fruit. Sometimes, though, a term can lose its creativity as a term becomes more commonplace, and can possibly lose its trademark.

Next, to determine if a symbol deserves a trademark, copyright courts place it into four categories: arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive, and generic. These are in the general order of creativity, with arbitrary marks being the most distinctive. As mentioned above, generic marks hardly ever receive legal protection from trademark and copyright courts.

An arbitrary mark is often called a fanciful mark because it has absolutely no relation to the product with which it is associated. This can often be the most successful type of symbol since it can become engraved in consumer's mind that a "swoosh" mark somehow embodies Nike and all of its products. Because these marks are so distinctive, they are typically given more protection than others.

Next, a suggestive mark is not directly tied into a product or company, but it somehow associates itself with the business or item. For example, the North Face company creates backpacks and jackets and other such outdoor products, and their symbol is somewhat reminiscent of a mountain. While the North Face's products aren't just for mountain climbers, the symbol conveys an idea of ruggedness and warmth for the coats.

Descriptive marks are more linked to their companies or products. Because this can walk the line between generic and actually information, descriptive marks or slogans generally must fulfill a another characteristic, secondary meaning. This means that although a phrase might be able to describe a number of different products, this symbol or slogan has come to be specifically associated with a particular company in the minds of the consumers.

Obtaining a trademark for your company can be an important part of protecting your creativity and products. If you or someone you know needs help with the legal aspect of receiving a trademark or copyright, talk to the business lawyers at Skjold - Barthel today.

Joseph Devine

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Trademark Tips For Beginners

It's becoming more and more important for businesses--both small and large--to protect their intellectual property. From patenting inventions, to copyrighting creative works, to trademarking brand names and marks, business owners should become as savvy as possible on how spending the money to protect IP translates to increased profits or at the least, protected assets, down the road. While it's always a good idea to seek out reputable legal counsel from an experienced IP attorney, there are also some basic tips businesses can keep in mind when it comes to trademarks.

1. Register Your Trademarks. Seems pretty straightforward, right? You might be surprised by just how many businesses neglect to do this, or fail to do it in a timely enough manner to maximize their company's profits associated with branding. As soon as you work out your company's specific name, logos, slogans, certification marks, and any other important marks, you should immediately register them with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the "USPTO"). It may not be mandatory to register them in order to obtain and maintain trademark protection, it makes it much easier when it comes to enforcing trademark rights. You should also consider applying now for registration of other available marks that you think the company may use in the future.

2. Use Trademark Notices. Make sure you use proper trademark notices on all trademarks, service marks, and certification marks your company owns and uses (i.e. TM for non-registered marks and ® for registered marks). Again, while these notices aren't mandatory, using them consistently can make it easier to enforce your IP rights later on, especially when it comes to countering an "innocent infringement" defense at trial.

3. Enforce Your Trademark Rights. Registering for trademark protection does you no good if you don't periodically search for unauthorized use of your marks and then enforce your rights. It's a good idea to conduct periodic web searches and any other necessary means to track how your marks are being used. Enforcement may not necessitate that you file an actual lawsuit--you can start with a request that the unauthorized user cease and desist using your registered mark.

4. Get It in Writing! Whenever your business lets others use any of its protected marks, including its name, logos, trademarks, or other IP, make sure you set out the terms and conditions of the license in writing. Exclusive licenses (permission to use) and assignments (transfer of ownership) have to be in writing in order to be legal and binding. Oral or implied non-exclusive licenses are possible, but often tough to interpret and enforce. Just save yourself the headache and get it in writing!

Zach Girod is the Co-Founder of Legal River. Legal River helps small business save time and money when looking for legal services.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

FTC Guidelines - Be Totally Honest

Cyberspace has been humming in recent weeks about the Federal Trade Commission's new "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" (16 CFR Part 255), and with good cause. These guidelines affect every individual and company that communicates using electronic media (websites, blogs, newsletters and social media outlets like Twitter® and Facebook®). Even "Mommy bloggers" now must be careful about touting products.

It is not surprising that the FTC stepped in with these new guidelines. With so many new ways to push products and services, social media marketing has exploded. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association states that advertisers spent $1.35 billion on social media marketing in 2007, and WOMMA forecasts it will reach $3.7 billion by 2011.

It is important to understand that the FTC is not out to inhibit free speech on blogs, or impose rules on Internet advertising that do not exist in the brick-and-mortar world. It simply is trying to protect consumers from false or misleading advertising.

Briefly, these new rules tell us:

NO DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING: Customers depend on what you say to be the truth when they make a decision to buy. Do not mislead them with your statements, or omit information that customers need to know before deciding to purchase. Example: If the price of a product does not include shipping charges, you must state that.

SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIMS: One example of this is weight loss products. If your ad shows someone who lost 50 lbs. in 3 months, you can no longer simply add a small disclaimer that says, "Results may vary." You must disclose the generally expected performance of the product. If the ad states, "tests show X", you need to have solid evidence that real tests show at least "X."

If you use testimonials to promote your product or service, they must be from real customers or clients, not your mother or best friend.

DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE: If you promote a product that you purchased with your own money, used, and liked or disliked, you have every right to tell others about your experience. However, if a company gives you a product to try, or pays you to review a product, whether what you write is positive or negative, you must disclose your affiliation with the company.

If you write something about a product in your blog that turns out to be false or misleading, you can be held liable. Advertising agencies and product manufacturers also may be liable, since they have the responsibility to make sure their social media endorsers are following the FTC guidelines. Celebrity endorsers can be held liable for deceptive advertising, even if they are reading from a script.

The long arm of the FTC can also reach to website builders, who must now make sure the ad copy they insert for their client does not violate the guidelines.

To read details and more examples, download a copy of the new guidelines at

©Toni McNulty, Virtual Assistant Toni

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Two Steps to Become a Notary Public

A notary public is a person that witnesses the signature of certain documents, makes sure the signers are who they say they are, and they administer oaths if needed. Though the qualifications for how to become a notary differ from state to state, the basics are about the same.

When learning how to become a notary in the United States you will find that it's relatively easy. Most people wanting to become a notary will only have to take a short class, pass a test, and undergo a complete background check. It is important to understand that the duties and responsibilities of a notary public are just to serve as an impartial witness; they are not allowed to give any legal advice, prepare any legal documents, or practice law.

Step One

The first step to becoming a notary public is filling out an application; this application will ask for your name, address, phone number, age, residency and any previous notary jobs you may have held in the past. The questions asked on these applications will vary from state to state but to find the exact information on how to become a notary for your state, you can go online.

Step Two

After the application is filled out you will have to pay a fee to the commissioning authority and then you will take an oath of office. Those are the basic steps when you want to learn how to become a notary but you also may be asked to pass a class to help you better understand your duties as a notary public.

State Specific Notary Public Requirements

You may also have to obtain a notary bond in order to become a notary public in your state. You can go online and visit to find out everything you need to know about becoming a notary in your state.

Many states do offer notary public classes that can help aspiring notaries get their commission. These classes can be very helpful for future notaries and can become an invaluable resource. It is recommended that you take these classes and take the exams offered before you take your notary position.

Some states require you to take a class, pass the exam, undergo a security check where your fingerprints will be obtained and scanned, and obtain a notary bond which usually costs around thirty five dollars. This process can take a very long time because you will have to wait for your test scores to come in the mail and for your background check to come back. You may even be required to purchase some notary supplies such as seals, stamps, and desk signs.

It is important to remember that all a notary can do is be a witness; they cannot practice law in any way, give legal advice, or make legal documents. Being a notary public is an important job and learning how to become a notary is very easy.

You can find the original article here: How to Become a Notary Public

Finantage is independent of the financial services and banking industries. This allows us to provide honest and accurate information directly to you without forcing you to endure a sales pitch. We use this independence to give you a financial advantage whether you are buying your first home or you are setting up a retirement fund.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Understanding Mortgages - What is a Lien?

When discussing mortgages, one term that often arises is "lien." A mortgage is not a loan, but a lien on the property that keeps the loan secure. It is important to understand this confusing term in order to properly understand mortgages and property ownership.

A lien is a hold on your property so that is can be used as collateral for money or service you owe to another party. A lien can keep the borrower from selling a piece of property by preventing the transfer of property title to a new party. Liens are often involved in situations in which one person or party has loaned money toward a substantial item in the possession of a borrower, such as in a mortgage. A lender can force the sale of any property that has a lien in order to collect money owed from the borrower. If instead the borrower decides to sell the property, he or she must pay the lien-holder before the property title can be transferred to the buyer.

One common example of a lien is a construction lien. When a property needs repair, maintenance, or renovation, the property owner often hires someone to do the work. After the work has been completed, the property-owner is legally obligated to pay for the improvements to the property. The lien exists in order to help ensure that a construction worker can be properly compensated without having to sue the property owner.

If you have decided to purchase property, you should make sure that there is no lien on the property. A lien on the property may mean that the person attempting to sell the property is not the legally recognized property owner. Therefore, a lien can prevent you from securing a clear title, and you may not fully own the new property you have purchased. You can hire an abstract company to conduct a title search by delving through public records concerning the property's history to be sure that no lien exists. The title search should also indicate if the seller is legally recognized as the property owner, the description of the property, and details of any lien or other holds on the property.

A mortgage is one type of lien. Therefore, a mortgage is not a loan in and of itself, but rather a way for a lender to secure property rights while the borrower still owes money. Although the term "mortgage" is often used interchangeably with "loan," the two are indeed different. Before deciding to buy or sell property, it is important to be fully informed about legal issues surrounding mortgages and titles to be sure that you fully own the property.

For more information about loans, mortgages, refinancing, and other issues, visit the website of the Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyers of the DeLadurantey Law Office, LLC.

Joseph Devine

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Do I Need a Mortgage Fraud Attorney?

Today, the level of white-collar crime is on its highest. White-collar crime basically refers to a crime committed by person of high ranking positions in the course of their job. White-collar crime usually comes in the form of a threat, bribery, unfair promotions, deception, unfair practices, frauds and cheating in accounts, documents, stock etc. This is in contrast with the crimes known as blue-collar crimes - rape, murder, and homicide, among others. Of all these types of white-collar crime, nothing is more prevalent today than mortgage fraud.

Because of the cunning that most white-collar criminals have, it is typically hard to nip it in the bud and would usually only go to court when millions of dollars have already been carted away by the criminal or criminals involved. There have also been cases wherein people have committed mortgage fraud without intentionally doing so.

One of the things that you need to keep in mind is that mortgage fraud can come in two forms - as fraud for profit and fraud for housing. The former involves revolving equity and inflating the value of properties. Issuing loans based on fictitious properties is also considered to be a fraud for profit. Fraud for housing or fraud for property, on the other hand, is done in order for the borrower to acquire or maintain ownership of a property. In this case, the borrower usually doctors his income as well as employment history in order to get approval for loan.

Mortgage fraud is also different from predatory lending with the former harming those working in the mortgage industry and the latter harming the borrower themselves. There are several schemes by which this type of fraud can be done, foremost of which is property flipping. Although property flipping is generally considered to be legal, creating fraudulent appraisals and doctoring documents are considered illegal.
Another popular fraud scheme is known as backward application. This involves checking first a property to buy and then customizing income as well as doctoring documents in order to fit the loan criteria. Some borrowers also do air loans. This is when a loan is made with no underlying security or collateral.

Being charged with mortgage fraud is no laughing matter. Once proven, you can face many years in prison as well as be made to pay fines and restitutions. Once you are aware of the presence of a mortgage fraud or you have been charged with this type of fraud, you would need to get in touch with a mortgage fraud attorney. This is especially important if you are residing in states where there is a very strict law concerning mortgage fraud such as Arizona and Florida. A mortgage fraud attorney can help determine your degree of liability. They would also be able to defend you should your case result to a lawsuit.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a mortgage fraud, or if you think you might get caught up in this type of white collar crime, your best bet would be to get in touch with an attorney who specializes in an Arizona criminal lawsuit or Phoenix criminal lawsuit, if you are within Phoenix.

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