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Fired employee has to pay income tax on his settlement

A fired employee who received a $65,000 settlement has to pay income tax on this amount, according to a decision from the U.S. Tax Court. The employee was fired after working for 30 years at the “Story Land” amusement park in New Hampshire. He claimed he was wrongfully terminated and that Story Land officials subsequently damaged his reputation. The $65,000 was agreed to during a mediation session. In general, people who receive a jury award don’t

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Independent contractor can sue for injury on the job

An independent contractor can sue for injuries on the job – even though the workers’ compensation law generally bars lawsuits for workplace injuries, according to an appeals court in California. The worker was hired by a subcontractor to install a canopy at a gas station. He fell into a hole at the construction site and was injured.  He sued the general contractor and the subcontractor. The defendants argued that the suit should be thrown out because

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Worker who is afraid to drive isn’t ‘disabled’

A nurse who worked as a family case worker – and who had to drive to various people’s homes to evaluate their situation – suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident. As a result, she had difficulty driving. She took multiple leaves of absence, received unsatisfactory evaluations, and eventually left her job. Later she sued, claiming she was discriminated against because of a disability. So the question was, is “fear of driving” a disability? Not

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Police department can prohibit religious dress

A police department can refuse to allow a female police officer to wear a traditional Muslim headscarf, a federal appeals court has decided. This didn’t amount to religious or sex discrimination. The officer had asked to wear a headscarf that would cover her hair and the back of her neck, but the police department’s dress code didn’t contain a provision for religious attire. The court sided with the police department, saying it would be an “undue

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Worker could be fired when he returned from medical leave

An employer who fired a worker for performance problems that were discovered while he was on medical leave didn’t violate the Family Medical Leave Act, a federal appeals court has ruled. The employee requested leave for a health condition that required hospitalization. While on leave, the company hired replacement workers who discovered multiple problems with the employee’s work. The company terminated the employee the day he returned from leave. The employee sued, claiming the firing was

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Can employees be forced to arbitrate their claims?

Can an employer demand that employees give up their right to go to court with employment disputes, and instead submit any case to arbitration? Many companies have been doing so lately. They often prefer arbitration because it is quicker, less expensive and more private. However, it’s still unclear whether – and when – employers can legally do this. One result has been that many employees are now going to court to resolve the question of whether

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COBRA changes help laid-off workers – but could ensnare employers

Laid-off workers will have to pay less to maintain their health insurance as a result of changes enacted by Congress – but these changes are creating new problems for employers who must take steps to comply with the law. The changes affect a federal law known as COBRA. The COBRA law says that fired or laid-off employees who had been eligible for health insurance through their employer have a right to continue receiving that insurance for

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Most landlords make mistakes on their income tax

A majority – some 53% – of individual landlords make mistakes on their federal income tax when it comes to reporting rental income and expenses, according to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. That means that out of about 8.9 million individual landlords in the country, nearly 5 million aren’t paying the correct tax. And of those 5 million, fully a quarter paid too much tax and should have had a lower tax bill,

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How a guardian is appointed

Many older people who are concerned that they will someday be incapacitated protect themselves with a power of attorney. This document gives someone else the right to make decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself. But what if a person who can no longer make decisions doesn’t have a power of attorney – or the power of attorney isn’t enough to protect them for some reason?

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Providing for your pet with a trust

A dog or a cat can be a member of the family, but what happens to this family member after you’re gone? How can you ensure that your dog, cat or other pet will be cared for? You can give directions in your will to leave your pet to a caretaker. But there is no guarantee that the caretaker will continue to care for the pet.

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