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Elder abuse still largely hidden nationwide

Shockingly, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 is the victim of abuse. Strangers are not always the abusers, either. Often, the abusers are those who in actuality are supposed to care for these elders. Such abuse may be physical, mental, emotional, financial, psychological or sexual, and can be premeditated, deliberate abandonment or neglect. However, another aspect of elder abuse is also coming to light – inter-resident abuse.

According to the Gerontological Society of America, the various forms of abuse perpetrated on seniors-in-care has seen a dramatic uptick in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Even though this seems to be a poorly kept secret, the issue still remains largely hidden. Sadly, for every reported case, there are an estimated 23 unreported cases. This means that there are more than 5 million cases of elder abuse in U.S. facilities, homes and community settings.

The City and County of Los Angeles noted an increase of 500 elder abuse cases in 2014 at board-and-care homes, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Many of those cases involved other residents, but some also involved abuse by a staff member or a younger adult with a disability. Many do not realize that nursing home residents can range in age from 18 to 100.

Weill Cornell Medical University and Cornell University have just complete some startling new research that shows that inappropriate, hostile and disruptive behavior among nursing home residents is a growing issue. This issue has another companion riding its coattails, which is abuse by others living in the same nursing home.

With such a diversity of ages and disabilities, ranging from mental illnesses to dementia, the probability of hostile interactions is very high. Forced to live in close quarters with others with physical or mental problems that culminate in possible incompatibility issues, often results in serious anger management and personal boundary breaches for those who feel or think they have no other recourse but to act up and act out.

Anyone who suspects elder abuse is occurring in any setting should speak to an elder abuse attorney and find out what can be done to stop it.

Common Destiny Care Home assisted living caregivers receive long overdue back pay

Wage theft is pervasive in California and a recent case demonstrates that dedicated attorneys can help ensure assisted living caregivers get the wages they deserve.

Investigators in this case discovered that assisted living caregivers at the Common Destiny Care Home in Fremont, Calif. were required to work more than 8 hours a day, sometimes up to 17 hours, without receiving pay according to state mandated overtime or minimum wage regulations. On average, workers were paid between $60 and $80 a day, or about $5.00/hour.

Employers also told them to report for duty the night before their shifts began. They did not receive pay for those hours, instead required to perform unpaid work during designated sleeping hours. Their sleeping quarters were a sofa bed in an unheated garage.

The owners of the care home received fines of over $358,700 for numerous violations of state wage laws, including unpaid overtime and minimum wage underpayment. All wages recovered under actions such as this by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement go directly to affected employees.

Those in a similar situation should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable business attorney to find out how to recover owed wages and what employees are entitled to by law in the State of California.

For the most up-to-date information on California labor laws, visit:
DIR website.

In addition, for any complaints or questions phone the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.

Sexual harassment can happen even in ride-share cars

Sexual harassment is not just a workplace issue. It happens in many different locations, including on-demand car service rides. Consider the story of a woman alleging that a driver for Uber, the juggernaut ride-sharing company, sexually harassed her. The victim contacted the company numerous times via email following the harassment, detailing how the driver’s actions involved inappropriate language and offering sexual favors. The company allegedly indicated they were investigating the incident and would take action to ensure something similar did not happen in the future.

Stories and lawsuits such as this are only the tip of the iceberg and reveal a bigger behind-the-scenes issue – the slow demise of the once popular U.S. ride-sharing app. Uber is banned in Thailand and Spain and is facing serious issues in the Netherlands and Germany. Meanwhile, Toronto, Canada is trying to jettison the service completely.

The woman in this case, not satisfied by the brush-off reply, sent another, longer email outlining precisely what happened during her ride. At one point the driver allegedly suggested he could pull over into a side street and do intimate things to her because he was very good at it.

While the company may think sexual harassment is rare when it comes to their drivers, two California district attorneys think otherwise and have launched a civil lawsuit against San Francisco-based company. The suit states that the company misleads customers about how thorough the background check is for drivers, while illegally offering unauthorized services at airports and defrauding customers by charging unnecessary fees.

When Uber learned the full scope of this particular driver’s behavior, they offered the complainant a $31 credit on her account, but not as compensation for any alleged wrongdoing. They also claim to have put him on immediate suspension. As it turns out, the company has no official policy regarding sexual harassment on the job, because they have never formally had to deal with it, and hold that such situations are rare.

Unfortunately, such situations are not rare. Anyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment, no matter the location, ought to seek advice from experienced legal counsel. Everyone has rights, and should know what they are.