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REPORTAN MAL USO DE UNA BUENA LEY DE INMIGRACION

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Archive: Mar 2016

REPORTAN MAL USO DE UNA BUENA LEY DE INMIGRACION

 Artículo 16-14

¡No Se Deje! ®

En 2002, el Congreso de Estados Unidos creó la visa U para inmigrantes indocumentados que son víctimas de ciertos crímenes serios específicos.  Los inmigrantes que califican que tiene al menos 21 años de edad también pueden solicitar visas para sus esposas e hijos.  Quienes todavía no tienen los 21 años pueden solicitar a sus padres, esposas, hijos, y hermanos que no están casados y son menores de 18 años.  La ley también permite que las personas que tienen visas temporales de no inmigrantes tales como estudiantes, turistas, y visitantes reciban las Visas U.  Y, las víctimas de crímenes que se han ido de EE.UU. pueden solicitar una Visa U en sus países de origen si cumplen los requisitos bajo la ley.

 

Los legisladores de EE.UU. crearon la Visa U para ayudar a oficiales de la ley y fiscales a encontrar y condenar a criminales violentos.  Reconocieron que el temor a la deportación impedía que los inmigrantes indocumentados víctimas de crímenes los reportaran a la policía y que testificaran contra el criminal.  A consecuencia de ello, los criminales violentos son capaces de evitar las condenas y continuar repetidamente lesionando y/o abusando de las inocentes víctimas.  Proporcionarles visas a estas víctimas les permite adquirir estatus migratorio legal y autorización para trabajar.

 

Diez Mil (10,000) Visas U están disponibles por año a inmigrantes indocumentados que:

  1. Han sufrido gran abuso físico o mental como víctimas de los crímenes listados;
  2. Poseen información tocante al crimen;
  3. Aceptan cooperar con la policía y fiscales para condenar al ó los criminales

 

Algunos de los crímenes que califican para que las Visas U estén disponibles son: Violación, Violencia Doméstica, explotación Sexual, asalto Sexual, servidumbre involuntaria, Secuestro, restricción Criminal, Chantaje, Tortura, Incesto, Prostitución, Falso encarcelamiento, Perjurio y varias más.

 

Los solicitantes de Visas U deben proveer una Carta de Certificación de la agencia de la ley que demuestre que el inmigrante es víctima de un crimen listado que califica y que él/ella está colaborando en la acusación.  La Visa U otorga un estatus legal temporal por 3 años y le permita al inmigrante solicitar la residencia permanente (green card) y luego la ciudadanía de EE.UU.  Cuando se usa apropiadamente, el programa  Visa U provee muchos beneficios importantes para la sociedad Americana y para los inmigrantes víctimas de crímenes.

 

ACUSACIONES Y RECLAMOS FALSOS DE LOS INMIGRANTES PONEN EN RIESGO EL PROGRAMA DE VISAS U

 

Infortunadamente, los enormes beneficios concedidos a las personas que obtienen una Visa U ha provocado una irresistible tentación para muchísimos inmigrantes indocumentados.  Los reportes indican que se han hecho reclamos falsos a la Policía de crímenes y de ser víctima con la esperanza de obtener Visas U.  Es un crimen hacer un falso reporte de policía.  Lo más grave es que cuando las falsas acusaciones tienen éxito, las personas inocentes son condenadas de crímenes que no cometieron y frecuentemente son erróneamente enviados a la cárcel o prisión.  Personalmente he visto dos ejemplos de falsa acusación.  Un caso involucraba una falsa acusación de abuso sexual criminal y el otro una falsa acusación de violencia doméstica.  En ambos casos, la investigación reveló finalmente que los cargos eran falsos.

 

Las víctimas de las falsas acusaciones tuvieron que gastar miles de dólares defendiéndose de los falsos cargos y sufrieron una tensión emocional extrema  al saber que estaban en riesgo de ir a la cárcel por algo que ellos no hicieron.  Los reclamos y reportes falsos de crímenes hacen que la policía y los fiscales sospechen que aún las víctimas verdaderas y honestas mienten. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Abogado

 

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Misuse of Good Immigration Law Reported

Article 16-14

¡No Se Deje!

In 2002, the Congress of the United States created the U-Visa for undocumented immigrants that are victims of specified serious crimes.  Qualifying immigrants who are at least 21 years old can apply for visas for their spouses and children as well.  Those that are not yet 21 can apply for their parents, spouses, children and unmarried siblings who are under 18 years old.  The law also allows people who have temporary non-immigrant visas like students, tourists, and visitors to receive U-Visas.  And, undocumented crime victims that have left the U. S. can apply for a U-Visa in their native countries if they meet the requirements under the law.

 

  1. S. lawmakers created the U-Visa to help law enforcement officers and prosecutors find and convict violent criminals. They recognized that the fear of deportation prevented undocumented crime victims from reporting it to the police and from testifying against the criminal. As a result, violent criminals are able to avoid conviction and to continue to repeatedly injure and otherwise abuse innocent victims.  Providing visas to these victims enables them to acquire legal immigration status and work authorization.

 

Ten Thousand (10,000) U-Visas are available per year to undocumented immigrants that:

  1. Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as victims of the listed crimes;
  2. Possess information regarding the crime;
  3. Agree to cooperate with police and prosecutors to convict the criminal(s).

 

Some of the qualifying crimes that make U-Visas available are Rape, Domestic Violence, Sexual exploitation, Sexual assault, Involuntary servitude, Kidnapping, Criminal restraint, Blackmail, Torture, Incest, Prostitution, False imprisonment, Perjury and several others.

 

Applicants for U-Visas must provide a Certification Letter from the law enforcement agency which proves that the immigrant is a victim of a qualifying crime and that he/she is cooperating in the prosecution.  The U-Visa provides temporary legal status for 3 years and allows the immigrant to apply for a permanent visa (green card) and then for U. S. citizenship.  When used appropriately, the U-Visa program provides many important benefits for American society and for immigrant crime victims.

 

  

FALSE CLAIMS AND ACCUSATIONS BY IMMIGRANTS

JEOPARDIZE THE U-VISA PROGRAM

 

Unfortunately, the enormous benefits granted to people who obtain U-Visas have provided irresistible temptation for too many undocumented immigrants.  Reports indicate that false claims of crimes and victimization have been made to police agencies in hopes of obtaining U-Visas.  It is a crime to make a false police report.  More importantly, when the false accusations are successful, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit and are often wrongly sent to jail or prison.  I have personally been involved with two such examples of false accusations.  One case involved false accusations of criminal sexual abuse and the other a false accusation of domestic violence.  In both cases, the investigation ultimately revealed that the charges were false.

 

The victims of the false accusations had to spend thousands of dollars defending against the false charges and suffered extreme emotional stress knowing that they were at risk of going to jail for something they did not do.  False reports and claims of crimes cause the police and prosecutors to suspect even truthful and honest victims of lying. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

Jess J. Araujo, Esq.

 

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MATRIMONIOS ILEGALES POR BIGAMIA Y SUS CONSECUENCIAS

 

Artículo 16-13

¡No Se Deje! ®

En Estados Unidos, las leyes que tratan sobre las relaciones matrimoniales son creadas y litigadas en cada estado individualmente.  En todos los estados es ilegal entrar en un segundo matrimonio consciente y voluntariamente cuando todavía tiene validez el matrimonio con otra persona.  Este crimen está catalogado como Bigamia en todos los estados.  En California, La Bigamia está definida en la sección 281 del Código Penal.  La ley de California no exige ningún tipo particular de ceremonia matrimonial para ningún matrimonio en tanto este sea válido en el lugar donde se realizó.

 

Aún los matrimonios de la ley común (aquellos creados al cohabitar por un período de tiempo específico), que no se pueden realizar en California, pueden ser utilizados para hacer acusaciones de Bigamia si el matrimonio es válido en el lugar donde se originó.  California sí reconoce los matrimonios de ley común que legalmente se constituyeron en otros estados.  No se requiere la cohabitación de los cónyuges, solamente un matrimonio válido. Y, aún si los matrimonios fueron constituidos fuera de California, la cohabitación aquí en California es suficiente para constituir bigamia.

 

Si el primer matrimonio fue anulado o disuelto antes del segundo matrimonio, no se ha cometido bigamia.  Pero todo matrimonio que puede ser anulado y que no ha sido anulado en corte justificará una acusación de bigamia.  Un divorcio mal hecho resulta en un matrimonio que todavía continúa, el que la persona creyera que el divorcio era válido no constituye defensa de bigamia.  La creencia de buena fe que el divorcio mal hecho era válido, algunas veces puede persuadir a un fiscal a no presentar cargos de bigamia.  Pero el consejo legal equivocado, errores o ignorancia de la ley no son defensas para el crimen de bigamia.  Un divorcio o anulación válidos del primer matrimonio después de entrar a un segundo matrimonio no hace desaparecer el crimen de bigamia.

 

Bajo la ley de California, un segundo matrimonio no es considerado Bigamia si el primer cónyuge está ausente por cinco años consecutivos y si no es conocido para el otro cónyuge que aquel está vivo.  Y, los inmigrantes de visita temporal en este país no serán acusados de Bigamia si están casados con más de un cónyuge si las leyes de sus países lo permiten.  La Corte Suprema de EE.UU. ha sentenciado que las personas que practican la bigamia como parte de su religión aún así son culpables de un crimen.

 

Las personas que enfrentan cargos de Bigamia tratan algunas veces que las cortes les anulen su primer matrimonio dado que ello significa que éste nunca existió.  Los matrimonios pueden ser anulados sí:

  1. Algún cónyuge era menor de edad y no se obtuvo el consentimiento legal;
  2. Algún cónyuge era mentalmente insano;
  3. Algún cónyuge es físicamente incapaz de consumar el matrimonio;
  4. El matrimonio fue procurado por la fuerza o el fraude;
  5. El matrimonio constituye incesto por alguna relación familiar ilícita.

 

En California, la pena por cometer bigamia incluye una multa de hasta $10,000 y encarcelamiento ya sea en una cárcel del condado o una prisión estatal.  Una persona que conscientemente se casa con una persona casada puede ser multada con no menos de $5,000 o ser encarcelada en una prisión estatal.  Los inmigrantes convictos por bigamia pueden ser deportados.  Los matrimonios bígamos también han creado muchos problemas sociales y legales para la pareja del segundo matrimonio y para los hijos de ese matrimonio.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

Jess J. Araujo

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BIGAMY-ILLEGAL MARRIAGES AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES

Article 16-13

¡No Se Deje!

In the United States, laws relating to the marriage relationship are created by and litigated in the individual states.  In all of the states, it is illegal to willfully and knowingly enter into a second marriage while being validly married to another person.  This crime is listed as Bigamy in all of the states.  In California, Bigamy is defined in section 281 of the Penal Code.  California law does not require any particular type of marriage ceremony for either marriage as long as it was valid where entered into.

 

Even common law marriages (those created by cohabiting for a specified period of time), which cannot be created in California, can be used for Bigamy prosecutions if the marriage was valid where entered into.  California does recognize common law marriages lawfully entered into in other states.  Cohabitation of the spouses is not required, only a valid marriage. And, even if the marriages were entered into outside of California, cohabitation in California is enough to constitute bigamy.

 

If the first marriage is voided or nullified prior to the second marriage, bigamy has not been committed.  But a voidable marriage which has not been voided in court will justify a bigamy prosecution.  A defective divorce results in a continuing marriage and it is no defense to bigamy that the person believed that the divorce was valid.  A good faith belief that the divorce was valid will sometimes persuade a prosecutor not to file bigamy charges.  But erroneous legal advice, mistake or ignorance of the law is not a defense to the crime of bigamy.  A valid divorce or annulment of the first marriage after entering into to second marriage does not eliminate the crime of bigamy.

 

Under California law, a second marriage is not considered Bigamy if the first spouse is absent for five consecutive years without being known to be alive to the other spouse.  And, immigrants visiting temporarily in this country will not be charged with Bigamy if married to more than one spouse if the laws of their country permit it.  The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that people who practice bigamy as part of their religion are still guilty of a crime.

 

People facing bigamy charges sometimes try to get their first marriage annulled by the courts since this means that it never existed.  Marriages can be annulled if:

  1. Either spouse was a minor and legal consent was not obtained;
  2. Either spouse was of unsound mind;
  3. Either spouse is physically unable to consummate the marriage;
  4. The marriage was procured through force or fraud;
  5. The marriage constitutes incest because of an unlawful familial relationship.

 

In California, the penalty for committing bigamy includes a fine of up to $10,000 and incarceration in either a county jail or state prison.  A person who knowingly marries a married person can be fined not less than $5,000 or be incarcerated in state prison.  Immigrants convicted of bigamy can be deported.  Bigamous marriages also created many legal and social problems for the second marriage partner and children of that marriage.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®                                            

Jess J. Araujo

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Four Strange Worker’s Compensation Cases

If you ever have to file for workers’ compensation, we hope it’s a straightforward case. Usually, proactive employees can identify potential problems before they get worse – such as growing joint pain – and settle for a payout that covers prescription costs and keeps them working and moving forward in their careers. Claims, however, are not always so simple. In fact, there have been some workers’ comp cases that can only be labeled as bizarre.

Drunken Employee Blames Injuries on Concrete

A longshore worker, citing the Longshore Act (specifically, “no compensation shall be payable if the injury was occasioned solely by the intoxication of the employee”), filed a workers’ comp claim for damages he suffered after falling over a rail. Unfortunately, the plaintiff was incredibly intoxicated; tests revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.25 – triple the legal limit. He had also consumed some marijuana.

But this did not worry the plaintiff. Focusing on the phrase, “solely by the intoxication of the employee,” the worker sought compensation, claiming the concrete slab caused his injuries. Needless to say, you can’t take the effect and make it the cause; the case was thrown out.

Undocumented Worker Flees Immigration Services and Suffers Heart Attack

In a similar feat of logic, a lumber mill employee suffered a fatal heart attack and a compensation claim was filed against the employer. Unfortunately, the worker had used false documentation to come to the US from Mexico. His heart attack occurred as he attempted to escape a suspected immigration services raid.

The state considered whether or not the workers were at an increased risk due to potential immigration raids, whether that risk was inherent or incidental, and if it was risk assumed by other employees. The court found the heart attack was not related to the individual’s employment.

Pizza Deliverer vs. Panhandler

Not all bizarre claims end with a rejection. The delivery industry has plenty of issues to contend with; traffic accidents, dog bites, and assault are risks that come with the territory, and they are issues that workers’ compensation laws specifically address. In this case, an employee safely traversed the roads, delivered the goods, and was heading back for his next order when he was engaged in an altercation with a panhandler who was being kicked out of the restaurant. The court emphasized the worker’s version of events, which pointed out he was not looking for any trouble. The delivery person suffered a punctured lung during the tussle and was awarded compensation.

Assistant Manager vs. Hitman

Employees may be assaulted by patrons, robbers, or even other workers on the job. But they usually don’t expect to be involved with a professional assassin.

This issue began when the plaintiff, who suffered PTSD, called a coworker to discuss a work-related issue. However, the co-worker’s husband thought the assistant manager was having an affair with his wife. The next logical step in his mind was to contact a professional to have the man killed. Luckily, the paid assassin plan didn’t work out, however, the husband did reach out to the plaintiff’s supervisor about the suspected infidelity.

The employer then launched an investigation into the issue and attempted to have the assistant manager transferred to a new location. The court found that a connection between the worker’s harassment and the attempted assault intensified the plaintiff’s PTSD, which was grounds for a successful workers’ compensation claim.

Reach Out to a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney

We certainly hope any workers’ compensation claims you file aren’t so complicated. Unfortunately, people do crazy things, and businesses do harass employees and otherwise treat them unfairly. When this is the case, you deserve justice. For help navigating the complex workers’ compensation laws in California, reach out to our team of workers’ compensation lawyers in Orange County today.

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The Pros and Cons of Settling a Workers’ Compensation Case

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a long, tiring process, especially if your case is rejected. It is often more difficult, however, to know when a claim should be accepted or challenged. After extensive treatment and emotional anxiety, it may be tempting to accept whatever amount you are offered and move on. You may be presented with a fair amount, but it is still important to know your rights and ensure you make the right decision.

Workers’ compensation cases vary from person to person, and the settlement offer may be exactly what you need. Before making a choice, however, review the following pros and cons. Reach out to an attorney immediately if you feel an employer or insurance company is not taking your rights seriously.

Know When to Settle – And When to Fight

When an agreement is reached between you and the claims adjustor (or a judge weighs in and submits an order about your claim), the case is officially resolved. Though all agreements are reviewed by a workers’ compensation administrative judge, it’s important to know whether to accept to the terms or walk away. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

  • Pro: No more litigation. After agreeing to an amount, which could be one lump sum or a figure paid each week or month, you can start collecting. Furthermore, you will receive these benefits without going to trial. Though it could be tempting to fight for more, you may not get the result you expect. Court processes are also typically slow, and you will not have to wait for your day in court to start collecting payments.
  • Pro: You can revisit the terms of the settlement while collecting. If you do accept a payment, you can still reopen negotiations for a higher amount or request a different pay plan, for example, a lump sum instead of weekly checks.
  • Pro/Con: Recompense in exchange for future benefits. An insurance company may attempt to negotiate a settlement amount in exchange for voiding rights to future benefits. This is a tough call; you may never need these services, so you could settle now and start collecting. However, giving up your rights should never be taken lightly, especially if you are tempted with what seems like a good settlement.
  • Con: You could end up with less than you deserve. This includes more than just a low amount; a settlement agreement may stipulate that you give up rights to future medical treatment or certain provisions, like paying for prescription drugs.
  • Con: Reopening a case in the future could lead to a lower award. Though you may renegotiate with the insurance company, a judge may not agree with your request, in fact, he or she may feel a smaller amount is more appropriate for your damages.
  • Con: An insecure future. Settling for a lump sum may be appealing, but you need to carefully consider the long-term costs of your injury. Can you stretch that lump sum across a lifetime of prescription refills and potential surgeries in the future? It is entirely possible to quickly spend an initial award and have nothing left for ongoing treatment.

Making the Right Decision

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney is a remarkably valuable asset at this time. Though you can negotiate and decide on your own, these specialists know the ins and outs of state law and can quickly tell if a settlement offer is worth your time. Protect your rights and only agree to a payout that fully covers all costs associated with your injury with expert advice from a legal team that has a proven track record of success.

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IMMIGRANTES LATINOS USAN LEY ANTI-DISCRIMINACION Y OBTIENEN $500,000

Article 16-12

¡No Se Deje!

Las leyes Federales contra la discriminación protegen a todas las personas en este país, independientemente de su estatus migratorio (incluyendo a inmigrantes indocumentados), de la discriminación injusta e ilegal.  Las leyes laborales contra la discriminación disponen que es ilegal que los patrones tomen alguna decisión laboral, basados en la raza, color, nacionalidad de origen, religión, discapacidad, o sexo de la persona.  Es ilegal discriminar en cualquiera de las situaciones de la relación laboral incluyendo la contratación y despido, al fijar el monto del salario, asignaciones laborales, reclasificación, despido selectivo, entrega de beneficios como seguro de salud, permisos de ausencia por incapacidad y enfermedad y otros aspectos y condiciones laborales.  Y, los fiscales federales registrarán cargos criminales contra cualquiera que use la fuerza o la violencia para interferir con estos derechos. La oficina que hace valer estas leyes es “Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”-EEOC (en español Comisión para Igualdad de Oportunidades de Empleo).

 

En días pasados la EEOC registró dos casos de discriminación a nombre de 2 Latinos contra LANDWIN MANAGEMENT CO.  que tomó posesión de la administración del Hotel Hilton en San Gabriel, California.  En el primer caso, la EEOC acusó a  LANDWIN de DISCRIMINACIÓN POR NACIONALIDAD porque reemplazó a un empleado Latino muy experimentado y calificado por un empleado chino menos experimentado y menos calificado.  La Discriminación por Nacionalidad incluye el excluir ilícitamente a alguien por su LUGAR DE NACIMIENTO, ASCENDENCIA, CULTURA, LENGUAJE, y NOMBRE O ACENTO AL HABLAR.  La EEOC identificó y representó a mas de 2 docenas de ex-empleados de Hoteles Hilton que creen experimentaron discriminación ilegal.

 

En el segundo caso, la EEOC acusó a LANDWIN de permitir que ocurra ACOSO SEXUAL impropio en el hotel.  Empleadas que trabajaron en el departamento de amas de llaves (housekeeping)  reportaron que sus supervisores las abusaban verbalmente y las llamaban prostitutas.  Ellas también alegaron que los representantes de la Administración del hotel ignoraban sus quejas.  Los funcionarios gubernamentales usualmente registran casos Civiles por Discriminación, como estos, cuando existe una “costumbre y práctica” (más de un incidente) de violaciones del mismo empleador. Y, se registran casos cuando los empleadores tienen una política de discriminación e inmoralidad constante.

 

LANDWIN CO.  aceptó pagar un total de  $500,000.00 a los dos reclamantes Latinos en estos casos.  LANDWIN también aceptó una Orden Judicial que les exige reclutar a trabajadores Latinos, proporcionar entrenamiento anti-discriminación a sus empleados y contratar consultores de  EEOC para verificar el avance del acatamiento.  La compañía hizo esto porque sabía que la EEOC tenía suficiente evidencia para ganar el caso de llegar a un juicio y que una corte podría ordenarles pagar aún más.

 

Abogados privados y del EEOC han dicho que muchas víctimas de discriminación laboral ilícita se resisten a reportarlo por la errónea creencia que esto llevará a la deportación. A menos que las víctimas de discriminación ilícita registren quejas formales, los empleadores abusivos continuarán discriminando a inocentes Latinos y a otros grupos minoritarios protegidos.  Si usted cree que podría ser víctima de discriminación, consulte con un abogado inmediatamente. Muchos de los mejores abogados proporcionan consultas gratis.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Abogado

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LATINO IMMIGRANTS USE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW TO WIN $500,000

Article 16-12

¡No Se Deje!

Federal anti-discrimination laws protect all persons in this country, regardless of immigration status (including undocumented immigrants) from unfair and illegal discrimination.  Employment anti-discrimination laws make it illegal for employers to make any employment decisions based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sex.  It is illegal to discriminate in any part of the employment relationship including hiring and firing, setting the rate of pay, work assignments, classification, layoff selection, provision of benefits like health insurance, disability and sick leave and other terms and condition of employment.  And, federal prosecutors will file criminal charges against anyone that uses force or violence to interfere with these rights. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces these laws.

 

The EEOC filed 2 discrimination cases on behalf of 2 Latinos against LANDWIN MANAGEMENT CO. which took over the management of the Hilton Hotel in San Gabriel, California.  In the first case, the EEOC accused LANDWIN of NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION because it replaced a very experienced and qualified Latino employee with a less experienced and less qualified Chinese employee.  National Origin Discrimination includes illegally excluding someone because of his/her BIRTHPLACE, ANCESTRY, CULTURE, LANGUAGE, and NAME OR SPEAKING ACCENT.  The EEOC identified and represented more than 2 dozen former Hilton Hotels that they believe experienced illegal discrimination.

 

In the second case, the EEOC accused LANDWIN of allowing improper SEXUAL HARASSMENT to occur at the hotel.  Female employees that worked in the housekeeping department reported that their supervisor verbally abused them and called them prostitutes.  They also alleged that Management representative ignored their complaints.  Government officials usually file Civil Discrimination cases, like these, when there is a “pattern and practice” (more than one incident) of violations by the same employer. And, cases are filed when employers have a policy of discrimination and repeated misconduct.

 

LANDWIN CO. agreed to pay a total of $500,000.00 to the two Latino claimants in these cases.  LANDWIN also agreed to a Court Order requiring them to recruit Latino workers, provide anti-discrimination training to its employees and hire EEOC consultants to monitor compliance progress.  They did this because they knew that the EEOC had enough evidence to win the case if it went to trial and that a court could order them to pay even more.

 

EEOC and private employment law attorneys say that many victims of illegal employment discrimination are reluctant to report it because of the mistaken belief that it will lead to their deportation.  Unless victims of illegal discrimination file formal complaints, abusive employers will continue to discriminate against innocent Latinos and other protected minority groups.  If you think that you may be a victim of discrimination, consult with an attorney immediately.  Many of the best attorneys provide free consultations.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Esq.  

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Independent Medical Reviews in California

When a dispute is raised regarding a denied workers’ compensation claim, the original medical treatment is evaluated through California’s independent medical review (IMR) program. The recently reformed law addresses any injury that occurred in the past. Many states process workers’ compensation claims through the court system, but by allowing physicians and healthcare experts to asses these rebuttals, IMRs have proved an excellent cost-saving initiative.

IMR in California

These reviews help businesses, medical facilities, and insurance companies facilitate claims, but the process can still be a bit confusing for newcomers. And for employees who have been injured, dealing with a denied claim is still challenging. Here are a few questions and answers to help you understand this process:

How do you file a request for medical treatment through this program?

A preliminary checkup identifies what is medically necessary for the affected party and whether or not a workers’ compensation claim should be approved. This is called a “utilization review.” If an injured employee is denied treatment and compensation at this point, he or she can request an IMR, which is essentially a second look at the accuracy of the utilization review.

To submit a request for an IMR, workers must:

  • Submit an IMR application form, which can be picked up from a claims adjustor.
  • Attach a copy of the utilization review in question.
  • Send the documents within 30 days of the preliminary checkup.

Who pays for IMRs?

Companies required by California law to provide a workers’ compensation program and compensate workers for work-related injuries pay for these additional reviews. The amount a business pays depends on when the requests are submitted, when the results are needed, and how many medical professionals are needed to review the claim. Though these are somewhat expensive (approximately $350–$515 per IMR), it is an incredibly affordable alternative to court hearings.

There are three types of IMRs, which affect turn-around times and costs:

  • Standard IMRs, involving non-pharmacy or pharmacy-only claims
  • Expedited IMRs, involving non-pharmacy or pharmacy-only claims
  • Terminated IMRs, which are terminated and dismissed and may be sent to a medical professional for further review

What happens after an IMR?

If the utilization review is eligible for an IMR, a Notice of Assignment and Request for Information will be sent out. This simply informs the parties that the review has been approved for an IMR. Medical records must then be provided for the assigned evaluators. Next, these specialists will review the claim to determine whether or not the utilization review was accurate. Based on their findings, an employee’s claim will be rejected or damages will be deemed eligible under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The worker will then receive a payout offer, which he or she can accept or renegotiate.

Fighting for Your Rights as an Injured Worker in California

IMRs are an excellent way to dispute a workers’ compensation claim without going through the court system. However, simply requesting an IMR doesn’t mean your claim will be approved. While this is an important process, you may still not receive the compensation needed to fully recover; you may need to pursue additional legal actions to account for medical equipment, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with an injury.

If you run into this problem, reach out to an experienced legal team in California as soon as possible. There are many details that can affect your claim, such as whether or not the IMR application form was fully completed and filed with the correct application type (e.g., expedited or regular). Submitting this information inaccurately can significantly affect the results of your claim. For the best possible settlement, work with experts in the field. Start with a free consultation by reaching out to us today.

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Puestos de Control de Conductores Ebrios atrapan más Inmigrantes Sobrios que Conductores Ebrios

Artículo 16-11

¡No Se Deje! ®

Muchos Departamentos de la Policía Municipal rutinariamente montan Puestos de Control de Conductores Ebrios para identificar y enjuiciar a conductores ebrios.  Un reporte del respetable Programa de Reportajes Investigativos de la Universidad de California reveló que estos “puestos de control” tienen mucho más éxito aprisionando vehículos de inmigrantes sobrios que arrestando conductores ebrios.  Como resultado, las ciudades de California recibieron una participación de más de  $40 millones de dólares en gastos de remolque y multas de la policía en 2009 de parte de conductores sin licencia.  Los cobros de remolque son compartidos entre las compañías de remolque y las ciudades.

 

Debido a la enorme cantidad de dinero que las ciudades reciben de los cobros por aprisionamiento de vehículos, no es sorpresa que más vehículos son aprisionados cada año.  En 2007, 15,700 vehículos fueron aprisionados en California.  Este número aumentó a 17,900 en 2008, y a más de 24,000 en 2009.  Los gastos por remolque y multas pagadas por los propietarios de vehículos fueron entre $1,000 a $4,000 según los registros financieros de varias ciudades.  Las ciudades también cobran a los propietarios de vehículos un promedio de $155 y le cobran a las compañías de remolque costos de franquicias.

 

Registros oficiales revelaron que LAS CIUDADES CON GRAN POBLACIÓN LATINA ESTAN APRISIONANDO VEHÍCULOS 3 VECES MAS QUE LAS CIUDADES CON POCA POBLACIÓN LATINA.  En las comunidades no-Latina, la policía aprisionó en promedio 7 vehículos de conductores sin licencia por cada arresto de conductor ebrio.  En las comunidades Latinas el porcentaje es usualmente mucho peor.  En Montebello, la policía aprisionó 60 vehículos de conductores sin licencia por cada conductor ebrio arrestado.  Representantes de la Ciudad y la Policía insisten que los lugares de los puestos de control no son designados específicamente para focalizar a comunidades Latino/Inmigrantes. Pero, en la ciudad de San Rafael que solamente tiene el 25% de Latinos, 10 de 12 puestos de control de conductores ebrios fueron colocados en calles que rodean vecindarios Latinos.

 

Inmigrantes indocumentados son las trágicas víctimas de estos así llamados “puestos de control de conductores ebrios”.   Aunque ellos no son “conductores ebrios” y no cometieron ninguna violación de tránsito, sus vehículos son aprisionados por 30 días, luego deben pagar cobros de remolque excesivamente altos o perder sus vehículos permanentemente.  Irónicamente, los conductores ebrios arrestados en los puestos de control pueden sacar sus vehículos del “corralón” al día siguiente.

 

El Decreto de Calles Seguras de California que autoriza aprisionar los vehículos de conductores sin licencia tenía el propósito de hacer las calles más seguras quitando los vehículos de conductores sin licencia.  Pero los conductores ebrios, que claramente hacen las calles aún más peligrosas, no pierden sus vehículos.  Tales resultados parecen injustos e ilógicos. La ley también podría ser inconstitucional de acuerdo con varios expertos legales.  Una Corte Federal de Apelaciones ha sentenciado que los oficiales de policía no pueden aprisionar un vehículo si la única violación es conducir sin licencia. Una Corte Federal de Distrito de menor rango ha sentenciado que el aprisionamiento está permitido porque es un castigo por conducir sin licencia lo cual es un crimen menor (misdemeanor) en California. Aún así, los criminales deben ser hallados culpables antes que el castigo (el aprisionamiento) pueda ser impuesto legalmente. Esa decisión fue apelada ante la misma Corte Federal de Apelaciones que sentenció que el aprisionamiento no está permitido.  Departamentos de Policía Municipales continúan aprisionando los vehículos de los conductores sin licencia. California Highway Patrol (Patrulla de Autopistas) ha dejado de aprisionar los vehículos de los conductores sin licencia. ¡NO SE DEJE!®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ABOGADO

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