Employment Law

How Tennessee Law Affects Work Comp Claims and Employment Disputes

by Staff Blogger | September 15th, 2014

The expenses faced by most employees injured on the job are often covered by Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance. However, several factors can leave a worker with no benefits. These include a worker’s industry and citizenship status.

The Tennessean recently examined the dangers and deplorable living conditions that many working in our state’s tobacco industry face today. The article discussed how, despite numerous worker injuries, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not conducted a safety inspection at a tobacco farm since Oct. 2006.

Experts say that there are too few laws regulating the industry and there is not enough funding to cover expenses associated with the inspections.

Regardless of these problems, it’s important for workers to remember that there is help available if they are injured on the job. A Tennessee workers compensation attorney may be able to assist you with getting benefits.

This was illustrated in a case recently heard before the state’s courts, which found that undocumented workers who cannot return to work because of injuries or illnesses still have the right to sue their employers if they are wrongfully terminated from their positions due to their conditions.

At Ponce Law, we understand Tennessee employment law and can help you navigate our state’s legal system. So if you’ve been hurt on the job, feel free to give us a call at (800) 363-9113 to learn more about how we can help you.

Tennessee Court Ruling States Workers Have Same Rights as Legal Employees

by Staff Blogger | August 18th, 2014

At Michael D. Ponce & Associates, our Nashville employment lawyers point out that most companies in Tennessee are prohibited from firing injured workers for work-related injuries. But what happens if the injured worker is undocumented? These questions are currently being examined in the state’s court system, and the answer seems to be that undocumented workers have the same rights as legal residents who work.

The case stems from an incident in Jan. 2011, when an undocumented employee injured his back while working for a company in Whiteville, Tennessee. The worker received medical treatment from a doctor he was referred to by his employer. According to Business Insurance, he later had trouble getting workers’ compensation benefits and hired an attorney to help with the case.

When the attorney attempted to contact the employer, management became irate with the employee and later fired him. This prompted the filing of a wrongful termination and retaliation claim by the worker.

The case went to trial, and a jury determined the worker had no right to file a Tennessee wrongful termination claim because he didn’t have legal work status. However, the state’s Court of Appeals recently overturned the decision by stating that the previous decision had undermined numerous state laws aimed at protecting workers’ rights.

Ponce Law’s team of attorneys has seen the difficulties that can arise for injured workers who are wrongfully terminated from their positions. That’s why we are hopeful the decision reached in this case will help bring some closure to the incident for the worker who was hurt and his family.

Nashville Company Providing Work to Tennesseans With Intellectual Disabilities

by Staff Blogger | August 6th, 2014

In 1990, the federal government enacted the Americans With Disabilities Act to protect people with mental and physical impairments from being employer discrimination. One Nashville insurance company is leading the charge to help  disabled Tennesseans find work by recruiting people with intellectual disabilities to fill positions.

WSMV 4 News reports that in February, the insurance provider AIG decided to transfer their files to a digital format, which means labor-intensive work to organize and scan the 6 million paper files on hand. Administrators met with the non-profit organization, The Arc of Davidson County, and determined several candidates would fit the roles.

The 33 individuals who were hired have now secured employment for as long as the three years it may take to complete the file conversions. CEO of The Arc, Sheila Moore, pointed out how the experience is beneficial for those involved, as the opportunity will provide them with skills that can be applied to other jobs. Meanwhile, AIG has shown just how successful those with intellectual disabilities can be in professional settings.

The Nashville personal injury lawyers with Ponce Law would like to applaud the efforts of all those involved in providing work to Middle Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities.

Changes Made to Tennessee Workplace Discrimination Law

by Staff Blogger | July 11th, 2014

The law prohibits employers from unfairly treating or terminating employees based on factors such as religion, sex, race, or sexual orientation. Violations of these laws can result in lawsuits against employers.

In the past, an employee who faced Tennessee workplace discrimination could seek both compensatory and punitive damages by filing a lawsuit. However, there have been several changes made to Tennessee state law that limit the awards that can now be received by employees who face discrimination at work.

An article from Mondaq explains that on July 1, reforms were made to the Tennessee Human Rights Act and the Tennessee Public Protection Act. These changes limit the amount of compensatory damages employees can receive for damages like emotional distress or humiliation. Furthermore, employers that discriminate no longer face the threat of punitive damages.

The standards for proof for whistleblower cases in the state have also been altered. Now, a whistleblower must make a complaint about their mistreatment to a person outside of the company. They must also prove their claims of illegal activity are the reason for their termination or mistreatment at the workplace.

At Ponce Law, we understand the intricacies of employment law in Tennessee, and we are here to answer any questions you may have about employment disputes. Call our team of Nashville personal injury lawyers today.

Tennessee Working to Address Construction Industry Employment Fraud

by Staff Blogger | June 9th, 2014

The construction industry can be one of the most dangerous lines of work for workers. These risks can be complicated further when employers cut corners on safety and following proper legal procedures to save money.

Some of the most common cases of employer fraud include:

  • Paying workers untaxed with cash
  • Underreporting wages that are paid
  • Misclassifying workers to avoid insurance payments

Working under these conditions can be extremely detrimental to a worker because it can exclude them from coverage under benefits such as Tennessee workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability when accidents occur.

The state’s Department of Labor is working to end these types of employment disputes though by investigating a number of the area’s construction firms and cracking down on offenses. The campaign is being called a success with the program recently getting its first settlement.

News Channel 5 explains a drywall business based in Nashville will pay $300,000 to settle claims they lied about the number of employees on their payroll to save money on insurance.

If you’re hurt while working under suspected illegal conditions, speaking with a qualified Nashville personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. At Ponce Law, we’re here to help. Call us to speak with a member of our legal staff today.

Tennessee Legislators Consider Changes to State Lunch Break Laws

by Staff Blogger | January 22nd, 2014

January 22, 2014

One of the most important tools in keeping United States workers safe while on-the-job is ensuring employees are not overworked and get plenty of rest. The Nashville Personal Injury Lawyers with Ponce Law explain this is precisely why controversy is swirling around a proposed change to Tennessee employment law.

According to a story from WBIR 10 News, a bill being considered by state legislators would allow for employees who work a shift longer than six hours to waive their right to a 30-minute lunch break that is currently required by law. Last year, a law was passed that exempted employees who work for tips, such as wait staff and bartenders, to forgo the break.

Those in favor of the change say it could improve worker morale by giving employees more options, such as getting off 30-minutes early. Opponents of the reform say it not only puts workers at a greater danger of injury due to mistakes that are made because of a lack of a break, but also opens the doors for employers to find ways to force workers into skipping breaks. Such requirements could also lead to Tennessee Wage Disputes.

Debate in the matter is expected to continue through the current legislative session.

The attorneys with Michael D. Ponce & Associates encourage citizens to share their opinions with their state congressmen.

Lawsuit Filed Against Local University Alleges Unfair Hiring Practices

by Staff Blogger | November 27th, 2013

November 27, 2013

The law requires companies to meet certain standards when it comes to taking care of their employees. These standards often include minimum pay requirements and carrying insurance for injured workers. Failure to meet these requirements can result in stiff penalties.

The Nashville Employment Dispute Lawyers with Ponce Law explain the Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council has filed a lawsuit against Middle Tennessee State University, alleging contractors the school is using on its campus are not meeting certain employment standards.

According to an article from Sidelines, Turner Construction is hiring workers using 1099 forms, which categorizes them as subcontractors and not employees. However, the company is paying workers set wages and giving them schedules without paying benefits or taxes as an employer.

Victor White, the Director of Organizing for the Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council, states he has taken his message to numerous organizations that manage the school and it’s campus. MTSU officials have denied any wrongdoing though, stating they are recipients of the company’s work and have no control over hiring practices.

Michael D. Ponce & Associates’ team of Nashville Personal Injury Lawyers is aware of the numerous complications that can arise during an employment dispute. That is why the firm suggests speaking with an attorney regarding your legal rights if you have been harmed by an employer’s hiring practices.

Tennessee Workers Reach Settlement With Employer Regarding Wage Dispute

by Staff Blogger | October 18th, 2013

October 18, 2013

Employers have a legal responsibility to pay workers for the time that they work. However, disputes can sometimes arise between employees and company owners regarding pay. The Nashville Wage Dispute Lawyers with Ponce Law point out that hundreds of Amazon.com employees in Tennessee recently settled a lawsuit, in which they claimed they should be paid for the time they spend going through routine security checks.

According to an article from WTVR 6 News, warehouse employees are required to go through metal detectors prior to leaving the facility in order to prevent theft by workers. If the detectors go off, the employee is required to allow security to go through their personal belongings. Workers state the process can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to complete. This can make taking a break extremely difficult, considering workers are only allowed a single, unpaid 30 minute break for lunch per day.

In an effort to resolve the complaints, the company has offered reimbursements to workers for anywhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars, depending on how long the plaintiffs had worked at the warehouse.

The Nashville Personal Injury Lawyers with Michael D. Ponce & Associates are aware of how complex employment disputes can become and are hopeful the decision that was reached in the recent case brings a sense of closure to the incident for the victims.

Workers From Nashville Restaurant Consider Legal Action Over Unpaid Wages

by Staff Blogger | September 9th, 2013

September 9, 2013

The Nashville Employment Lawyers with Ponce Law explain that one of the most common reasons for legal disputes between workers and their employers are unpaid wages.

Such an issue has led a former employee of a Nashville restaurant to begin a picket line and consider legal action against the former owners of the eatery. She claims to be owed three weeks worth of wages.

An article from News Channel 5 explained that issues began for Chappy’s on Church began several years ago, when employees claim they would sometimes wait for weeks to be paid and even receive IOUs in lieu of a check. The problems came to a head when the federal government seized the restaurant because of failure to pay taxes. After the restaurant close, the owners disappeared.

Now, roughly 18 employees say they are still owed money from the owner as he prepares to open a new location in New Orleans. The employees are considering taking legal action against the restaurant and its owners if the matter is not resolved.

The Nashville Personal Injury Lawyers with Michael D. Ponce & Associates recognize the difficulties that failures to be paid for work can cause. The firm is here to help anyone who has not received fair compensation from an employer.

Supreme Court Decision Important for Temporary Workers in Tennessee

by mdp | February 4th, 2013

justive_gavel_thumbThe Tennessee Supreme Court ruled on January 22 that an employee of a temporary agency who suffers an injury on the job, but is not returned to work by the temp agency at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating, as would a permanent employee in the same situation. If you have sustained a workplace injury in Tennessee, and you think you deserve greater benefits than you were awarded by the court, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates as soon as possible. Our lawyers have experience handling workers’ compensation cases throughout the state of Tennessee, and will work diligently to help you pursue the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to for your on-the-job injuries. With our reputable attorneys on your side, you can receive the medical attention you need and ensure that your medical expenses are taken care of.