Tennessee Legal Blog

Unsafe medications might face recall from the market

Drug recalls occur when patients can suffer harm because of adverse events, and sometimes this is learned after the drug is released to the public. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ensures that drugs are safe for human use prior to public release. It also reviews the safety of the drug while it is on the market.

When something happens, and a medication begins to have issues related to safety, a recall can happen. This means that it is removed from the market. Several factors might lead to this action, and they all must be taken seriously.

Lowe's employees invoke ERISA to protect their 401(k)

Tennessee employees of Lowe's Companies, Inc., may be happy about a recent federal court decision that denied the company's motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it. However, the dispute is far from over. Employees are seeking $100 million in losses they claim resulted from the company's violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, which requires fiduciaries of employee investments and pensions to act in the best interests of plan participants.

In 2015, Lowe's replaced eight of its 401(k) investment options with the Hewitt Growth Fund, leaving participants with only a few other options to choose from. The Hewitt Growth Fund apparently performed so poorly that only two other companies in the United States included it as part of their retirement plan options. Nevertheless, the class action lawsuit alleges that Lowe's transferred more than $1 billion into the fund, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for investors in just the few years since the change occurred.

Wage and hour disputes lead to pack pay for nursing home worker

When Tennessee workers clock in at their job or show up at their place of employment and do their jobs, they rightfully expect to be paid for their work. Each person has the right to fair pay for hours worked, yet sometimes, employers do not always respect this right. As a result, mistreated workers may have to engage in wage and hour disputes in order to secure their rightful pay.

Nursing home employees in another state recently challenged their employer when they did not get money they had earned. In this particular case, the employers violated specific labor laws by failing to pay earned overtime and meet required minimum wage. These infractions were discovered by an investigation into the activities of the nursing facilities. 

Not paid for your overtime hours? You can do something about it

Numerous Tennessee residents work extra hours, either to increase their take-home pay or because their employers require it. Unfortunately, some end up putting in the time and fail to see the monetary benefit from doing so. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employees must be fairly compensated for their time on the job -- including overtime. Those who are not may have legal recourse.

An article published earlier in 2019 addressed this very subject. In the 2018 fiscal year, the federal Wage and Hour Division recovered roughly $304 million in back pay and other damages for 265,000 employees who were not compensated fairly for their overtime hours. The complaints were made by employees who work in a variety of fields including medical, law enforcement, construction and food service -- among others.

The potential for wage and hour disputes for restaurant workers

People who work in restaurants often have to rely on tips as a main share of their income. Servers know this about their jobs, but that does not mean that they are not entitled to fair treatment from their employers. Unfortunately, investigations find that many employers, including those in Tennessee, may try to underpay their servers, which can lead to wage and hour disputes.

Investigations into the restaurant industry have found that many servers do not get fair pay. There is even an example of restaurants that crafted schemes with the intent of keeping servers from getting overtime pay after they worked 40 hours or more. When employers willfully deprive employees of any kind of their rightfully earned wages, workers have the right to take legal action. They can seek back pay, and employers may have to pay expensive fines.

Mass torts: Lyft accused of misclassifying drivers -- again

Earning a living is not always easy, especially when an employer allegedly misclassifies its workers. According to a class-action lawsuit, the ride-sharing app Lyft has been doing just that, and drivers are ready to seek compensation. These and other types of mass torts claims are important for people in Tennessee who have been collectively wronged by one or more corporations.

Lyft is accused of classifying its drivers as independent contractors, a move that the lawsuit calls an intentional misclassification. One of the drivers involved in the claim has driven for the company since back in March 2016, and over the course of the years has worked an average of 42 to 70 hours every week. He also claims that he routinely puts anywhere between 500 and 1,100 miles on his vehicle in a single week.

Gas station workers involved in wage and hour disputes

Tennessee employees have right to be expect fair pay for work they have done. There are both state and federal laws in place that are intended to protect the rights of workers and ensure that employers pay fairly, but employees may still find themselves involved in wage and hour disputes. A good example of this is a popular gas station chain that was recently ordered to pay employees more than $1 million for unpaid overtime.

The dispute started when several employees came forward after they did not receive pay for overtime hours they worked. These workers were misclassified as managers, which means that they are not legally entitled to overtime pay. However, they were truly hourly employees as proven by their hours and job duties. By misclassifying employees, some companies think they can have employees work more hours without paying them for it. 

Bring an attorney with mesothelioma experience to your case

As an attorney, you have probably argued dozens, if not hundreds, of cases in court. However, not all of that experience will be in the same areas. Sometimes, clients come to you for help with a serious situation with which you don't have a background of working professionally.

Certain kinds of legal action, such as litigation related to mesothelioma, require a different approach than broader or more common personal injury cases. There are many considerations, from access to compensation trusts to a lawsuit against a negligent employer, as well as the necessity of tying the diagnosis to the client's work history or product use in the past. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of organs and is often associated with asbestos exposure.

ERISA violations may carry civil and criminal penalties

Private Tennessee employers who offer health insurance, retirement investments, pensions or other benefits may provide certain security for their employees and obtain their loyalty in return. These are benefits that the law does not require, but employers who provide them must comply with federal laws outlined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Violations of ERISA not only place the health and future of employees in jeopardy, but they may result in civil and even criminal penalties.

A fiduciary responsible for the management of an ERISA-protected benefit risks prison and potentially hundreds of thousands in fines for intentional actions, such as backdating paperwork and other acts of fraud. The federal government periodically passes new laws to stiffen penalties for convictions of fraud and other malfeasance related to employee benefits. In this way, it hopes to deter employers and account managers from seeking their own gain over the welfare of the plan participants.

Popular online shopping day leads to wage and hour disputes

Amazon is one of the most popular retailers in the country, and many Tennessee consumers use this online platform. Once per year, the company has a special shopping day, Prime Day, where it highlights sales on certain products and bargain deals that a shopper can't get at other times. It's wildly popular with consumers, but after this year's Prime Week, the company is facing wage and hour disputes. 

At a facility where the company stores and ships products, almost two dozen employees say they were not treated fairly by the company. They claim that during Prime Week, the company did not pay them overtime, even though they are eligible for these benefits and they worked more than their standard number of hours. All of these workers have the night shift at this facility.

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