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North Carolina Law Blog

Poultry workers fear retaliation for reporting workplace injuries

Poultry production is North Carolina's leading agricultural industry, accounting for more than $34 billion and 100,000 jobs statewide. In fact, neighboring Union County is the second leading poultry-producing county in the state, surpassed only by Duplin.

Unfortunately, workers at meat and poultry processing plants are reluctant to tell inspectors about on-the-job injuries and injury hazards because they fear that they could be fired as a result, according to a recent report.

Study: Sexual harassment leads to physical, psychological problems

Every day it seems as if another powerful politician or media figure is accused of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct. It turns out that workplace harassers make the lives of their victims unpleasant in more than one way.

A university study shows that sexual harassment in the workplace directly contributes to physical and psychological problems for victims, who suffer higher rates of depression, stress, obesity, sleep loss and symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Numbers make it clear: SSDI approval is getting more difficult

When you comb through the Social Security Administration's annual report on disability claims, you will come across a wide variety of interesting statistics. A glance through last year's report (the most recent report available) reveals that there are still 4,100 outstanding claims for disability benefits filed in the year 2009.

Think about that. People filed back when Barack Obama was in the first year of his presidency and the Social Security Administration had still not determined that they were due benefits or not. There were nearly 6,000 outstanding claims for 2010 and more than 10,000 for 2011.

Pedestrian accidents plague North Carolina

We have read in recent days about collisions between automobiles and people trying to walk across the streets of Charlotte and other cities and towns across North Carolina. Not all of these pedestrian accidents are the same, of course.

In some cases, the driver was distracted or speeding or impaired, and in other situations it appears that the pedestrian was at fault or that fault has not yet been determined.

Retaliation for filing a workers' comp claim is illegal

The federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has good news and bad news for American workers. First, the good news: there was a decline in workplace injuries last year. The not-so-good news is that there were still nearly 3 million on-the-job injuries to American workers.

The BLS said last month there were about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in private industry last year. That means there were about 2.9 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time equivalent employees. Overall, there were about 1,000 fewer injuries and illnesses reported per week over the course of 2016 than there were the year before.

Troubling ethical questions surround self-driving cars

Proponents of self-driving vehicles insist that when the autonomous vehicles do start rolling down our roads, that traffic congestion will ease, gasoline consumption will drop and that people with physical limitations will be mobile. Proponents also believe that motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities will drop significantly once computers and sensors are piloting our cars.

A recent article in the Charlotte Observer reminds us that there are still questions to be answered about the vehicles that appear to be getting closer with every passing day. The paper poses one of the thorny ethical questions yet to be resolved: "Who dies when the car is forced into a no-win situation?"

The reasons for a workers’ compensation denial, what you can do

Regardless of your profession or industry, you could suffer an injury on the job at any time.

If this happens, you need to know a couple things. First off, your health is top priority, meaning that you want to receive immediate medical attention. Secondly, there is always the possibility that you won't be able to return to work right away, meaning that you may want to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

A look at older workers and injuries in the workplace

There is a wide variety of reasons for older citizens to work past retirement age. For some, their motivation is purely financial: they need to continue to earn money. Social Security retirement is simply not going to cover all of their bills.

For others, work provides an opportunity to stay active and fit. And other senior citizens keep on working -- often for nonprofit organizations -- for social and political causes important to them. Safety experts say they are carefully watching post-retirement workplace injury figures as older Americans continue to grow as a significant segment in the U.S. workforce.

Elation greets FDA's reassessment of MDMA (ecstasy)

Back in the 1980s, the rise of psychedelic and electronic dance music fueled the popularity of raves: music-fueled parties that sometimes lasted all night or longer. At the height of the rave phenomenon, MDMA (also known as ecstasy) was popular, giving users a sense of euphoria and heightened sensations as they danced the night away.

The federal government's Food and Drug Administration recently gave Americans a reason to take another look at MDMA. The FDA extended the Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) for use in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

'Tis the season to . . . rage?

Road rage incidents are becoming more common in North Carolina, according to a news media report. Far too often, the rage involves more than insulting gestures or shouted epithets; the incidents are increasingly turning violent.

Take for example, the story of Thomas Casey. He was recently on a Charlotte highway when another driver became enraged and began screaming and gesturing at him -- before slamming his vehicle into Casey's sedan and knocking him off of the highway.

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