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Albuquerque New Mexico Personal Injury Law Blog

Whistleblower wins jury verdict against retaliatory employer

Workers in New Mexico received a strong message that the law considers companies liable for damages when they retaliate against employees who report unlawful activities. A jury has sided with a man fired by his company, an asbestos removal company, after he blew the whistle on improper asbestos handling.

OSHA litigated the case on behalf of the former employee to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act's Section 11(c), which makes retaliation illegal. The lawsuit described how the man realized that the company was mishandling asbestos at a work site. He collected evidence at the work site and took pictures. When he questioned his employer about the illegal activity, the company dismissed him the next day. The company also filed a lawsuit against him for defamation.

Learn more about what constitutes retaliation

Employers generally cannot discriminate against their employees. However, roughly half of claims submitted to the EEOC are related to what happens after a discrimination claim is made. If an employee in New Mexico or anywhere else is subject to adverse action after taking part in a protected activity, that behavior may constitute discrimination. Generally, there must be a link between someone partaking in the protected activity and his or her employer's materially adverse action.

Filing a charge with the EEOC or testifying at a hearing are both examples of protected activities in which an employee may engage. If someone is subject to materially adverse activities conducted by an employer, it may be retaliatory. This may be true even if the actions an employee complained about didn't rise to the level of discrimination. Employees may be able to establish that they were victims of retaliation by pointing out that an employer had no written and consistent policy to investigate complaints.

What protections are available to whistleblowers in New Mexico?

Reporting injustice or illegal activity in the workplace can be intimidating. There’s a fear of retaliation or losing your own job for advocating for your rights or the rights of your coworkers.

If you are considering reporting your company, your biggest question is likely “How will making this report affect me?”

What can family members do after a fatal car accident?

Car accidents are an all too common occurrence. In New Mexico in 2016, there were 358 fatal car crashes resulting in 402 deaths, a significant increase from only 298 deaths in 2015. Numerous factors can lead to accidents, and as impaired and distracted driving increases, fatalities from car accidents will also rise.

 

How is car safety measured?

Car manufacturers love to tout safety ratings and crash prevention features to potential buyers, but have you ever wondered how car safety is measured?

There are two major organizations that perform car safety testing in the U.S., the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Both organizations review car safety features and perform crash tests on vehicles.

How much time does speeding really save you?

We’ve all been there. You hit snooze one too many times, the shirt you were looking for was hiding behind a jacket, the dog wouldn’t come back inside and now you’re running late for your morning meeting. After questioning the sanity of scheduling a meeting for the first thing on a Monday morning, you realize the only way to make it on time is to speed.

It has been said that there are two kinds of drivers: Slow drivers (defined as those driving slower than you) and maniac drivers (those driving faster than you). So, once you hit Interstate 25, you become most other people’s maniac driver. You may not be flaunting the speed limit laws and no one’s going to mistake you for Lightning McQueen, but you lock in your speed at 65 miles an hour—10 miles over the limit. How much time do you save?

Better vehicles means fewer crash deaths

New Mexico residents who are considering getting a new car may be interested to know that late-model vehicles are becoming significantly safer. This is according to the most recent calculations released by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

The ongoing drop in the death rate is attributed to enhanced safety technology and vehicle designs. IIHS researchers determined in a related study that specific alterations, such as new safety features and better structural designs, were most responsible for the drop in the fatality risk during the years 1993 through 2006. The vehicle changes also contributed to declines in risk after 2006; although, there were additional contributing factors, like the weakened economy. Researchers say that there were 7,700 fewer driver deaths in 2012 than there would have been if vehicles had remained the same since 1985.

Science reveals the top causes of car accidents

This has probably happened to you at some point or another: You are driving on the highway when traffic inexplicably slows to a crawl. As your car progresses, you see the cause of the jam--a serious roadside accident. As you pass the scene, you crane your neck to take in the details, and you wonder what could have caused such a terrible crash.

Car accidents may seem mysterious, but they do not occur without reason. Scientific methods such as driving studies and accident reconstruction have been able to examine car crashes and determine the main reasons why they happen. In this post, we will go over the top four causes of accidents as determined by recent studies.

The role of personal responsibility in preventing car accidents

There is an increased awareness in New Mexico about the dangers of driving while impaired. Many residents of the state have had personal experience with or have seen friends or family members suffer the loss of a loved one as a result of an accident connected to alcohol. While many people understand that driving impaired is unacceptable, statistics show that some still choose to engage in this dangerous behavior.

A report showed that in 2012, more than 4 million adults in the United States admitted to having driven at least one time in a 30-day timeframe while impaired by alcohol. Each one of these drivers ran the risk of creating a scenario where their lives, the lives of their passengers, the lives of other drivers, and the lives of innocent pedestrians could have been irrevocably altered.

Adding hidden cameras in nursing homes to reduce abuse

New Mexico residents who rely on nursing homes to care for elderly loved ones may be interested to learn that, in some states, the majority of elder abuse allegations are not investigated. For example, in 2016, 97 percent of abuse allegations made in state-licensed senior facilities in Minnesota were not ever investigated. Hidden cameras may help address the problem; however, there are privacy and compliance concerns that often go along with this type of technology.

Part of the problem is that governmental agencies simply do not have the resources to investigate and respond to all of the elder abuse allegations, especially as the number of residents in state-run facilities continues to increase. Family members of these residents may be able to use hidden cameras to help protect their loved ones. Some states have even begun to use these technologies to address the elder abuse problem. The devices can record video and, in some cases, audio.

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