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Rice Law Office Blog

This blog reviews important legal issues including: personal injury, employee compensation, workers compensation, discrimination and wrongful termination.

Department of Labor Workplace Injury FAQ Part Two

From the New Hampshire Department of Labor official website.

How long is my claim open? 

Medical bills related to your injury remain the responsibility of the carrier as long as treatment is required. There are certain time limits for indemnity benefits depending on the circumstances of the case. See RSA 281-A:31.

How soon does Workers' Compensation start?

Workers' Compensation starts on the fourth day of disability (subject to a three day period). The waiting period is waived if the disability continues for 14 days or longer or if an employee returns to temporary alternative employment within five days.

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Department of Labor Workplace Injury FAQ Part One

From the New Hampshire Department of Labor official website.

Who pays for my prescriptions?

The insurance carrier will reimburse you for any prescriptions relating to your injury. They have 30 days from receipt of the request.

Can I see my own doctor?

This depends on whether or not your carrier is using a managed care program. If they are, you must choose a doctor within the network. If you are not subject to managed care, the choice is yours.

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Gender and Marital Status Discrimination is Alive and Well in the World of Hiring

I recently read an article on LinkedIn by a recruiter, Bruce Hurwitz, entitled "When interviewing for a job, lose the ring!"

From his bio, he is clearly a well respected leader in his field and his article caught my eye first because it touched on my areas of practice in plaintiff employment law, but it also struck me in a more personal way.  I’ve linked his article so you can read it for yourself, but for me, as a married working woman and a mom to three optimistic initiates to the workforce, it was sad to hear this kind of advice being given to people starting out, so I’d like to offer another perspective. 

You see, when I graduated from law school, this was common advice-- which I promptly ignored. Not only were we, as future female attorneys, told to take off our wedding rings for the interviewing process, but I had some friends who were actually told to start this practice well before the interviewing season, in order to avoid a ring tan line. Yes, seriously. None of our male classmates were giving this advice. In fact, I suspect if they had asked, the advice would have been to the contrary. Most likely, where gender stereotypes prevail, wearing a ring might be considered a positive thing for a young male. 

Let's face it, this advice was entirely based on prominent stereotypes about gender, marital status, and the assumed impact of these things on performance in the workplace. The assumption was engaged or married females would somehow be less committed, productive or dedicated to their job. Likewise, married male attorneys would benefit from this institution, creating greater stability and a desire to earn more to support their growing family. The assumption was that marriage meant babies, distraction and a decrease in quality and quantity of legal output when it came to women. By comparison, no one considered that fathers might choose to take time off or seek the dreaded "balance" in their work and family life. Instead, there was a bold assumption that men would work on, without distraction when and if babies came into the picture.

Back then, I took the truth of this advice for granted. I assumed that many if not most of the firms with which I interviewed, would judge me in some manner, probably to the negative, if I were to interview wearing my wedding band. (I will note, no one ever mentioned the size of the "rock" as also being intimidating to women or potentially belittling to my character even back then). While I acknowledged the fact of prejudice, I was not willing to hide my truth to avoid the consequence of it. Perhaps I was naive (I was), but despite being young and unsure of myself in many ways, I was clear about one thing; I didn't want to work for a firm that would hire me (or not hire me) on the basis of my marital status. I chose to marry, I had the right to marry (as many did not back then) and I was happy with my choice. 

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Tips for Renting Your Vacation Home

Tips for Renting Your Vacation Home

Renting your second home can provide significant income, and the opportunity to earn rental income plays a part in most decisions to purchase a vacation home. Average vacation home rentals earn nearly $30,000 annually, which is a lot, but renting out your vacation home isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips for making the process as smooth (and lucrative) as possible.

Know the costs.  Know the rental rates, and compare that to your monthly mortgage.  Include estimated costs for marketing, cleaning, repairs, and maintenance.  Make sure it will be a profitable venture, as that’s the point!Know how much time you’re willing to spend.  Be prepared to spend a lot of time managing the property if you don’t want to use a full service management company.  Management companies charge a premium (often 20%), but it saves you a lot of time and headaches.  Understand that if you do it yourself you have marketing, inquiries, booking, and housekeeping to manage.Pay for marketing.  It’s a chunk of money (often upwards of $1000) but it pays in returns. Especially in areas where many vacation homes may be available think about how your home will stand out. Your rental home won’t earn you any income if nobody knows its available!Know your tenants, and be specific about your guidelines.  You may want to set some ground rules, like a minimum age requirement, maximum number of people allowed, and rules regarding pets. Having this clearly laid out will head off concerns here before they arise.  Its also often worth doing a credit and criminal check on your renters.Be prepared to deal with accidents.  Even with the most responsible tenants its best to assume some damage will occur. Requiring security deposits is one way to mitigate this risk. You may also want an insurance policy that covers damage caused by renters.  If your current policy doesn’t cover renter damages, you may want to switch.Create a guest-host dynamic.  Its much more productive then landlord-tenant, and your renters will like you more, give a better review, and treat your home better.

If you’re interested in renting your home for some additional income, you may want to reach out to an attorney to make sure you’re maximizing your return and minimizing your risk!

 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Mark Crawley under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

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Pregnancy and Employment: What Are Your Rights?

Pregnancy and Employment: What Are Your Rights?

Pregnancy and childbirth demand huge amounts of time and energy from both parents, and the law provides for special benefits and protections for employees having a child. Many companies don’t have a clear understanding of their obligations towards employees expecting a child, and as protections expand in the wake of a new Supreme Court ruling employees should seek to understand the protections they are offered under the law. 

Employees should actively educate themselves on their rights, and be sure they receive the benefits they are owed before and after the birth of their child. Employers are obligated to provide accommodated work duties for pregnant employees with physical limitations and allow leave time for employees expecting a child. 

Companies cannot discipline or discharge an employee based upon pregnancy.  New Hampshire law has long been at the leading edge of protecting rights of pregnant employees and provides protections for the entire period of disability related to pregnancy which could include time out of work for conditions such as pre-term labor or postpartum depression.

Employees who have not been provided with the appropriate benefits and protections may be owed compensation—AutoZone recently lost a case and was forced to pay $185 million in damages after firing an employee following childbirth.  Companies have an obligation to their employees, and there are legal consequences to not meeting them.

As an employee, if you’re expecting a child and want to understand more about your rights and protections at work you should contact a lawyer.  You have a right to time off and protection of your job status.

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