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NP0914_poty_img3Since 1919, the International Labor Organization has brought together governments, employers, and workers from 187 UN Member States to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work environments for all women and men. During a convention to address migrant workers’ rights, the ILO pronounced that employers should provide migrant workers “treatment no less favorable than that which is applied to its own nationals,” and that it is necessary “to respect the basic human rights of all migrant workers.” Here in the United States, that is simply not the case. 

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https://blog.caesarnapoli.com/files/2017/06/Screen-Shot-2017-06-04-at-3.34.53-PM-300x225.pngIt may be illegal, but hiring undocumented workers is a long-standing practice in the agriculture and food production industries. While the oft-given justification is that these workers “do jobs Americans won’t,” this is not necessarily the reason many employers hire them. A more accurate statement might be that undocumented immigrant workers tend to do jobs Americans would do, but they do it for lower pay and under unsafe conditions. And that, at its core, is the problem: employers who hire undocumented workers often treat them poorly because they can. Meanwhile, undocumented workers are risking life and limb for their income, and if they complain, they risk losing their jobs or being deported.

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construction-300x200When he turned 18, Fernando Vanegaz immigrated from his home country of Ecuador to the United States. His parents had made the move years earlier for work, so when Fernando arrived there was a home in Queens waiting for him. He was eager for financial independence, and quickly found a job with a Brooklyn-based construction company. 

The work was dangerous. Fernando would often frighten his mother with accounts of close calls on the job. One such incident occurred at a construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, when a retaining wall nearly toppled over. 

A little under a month later, there was another incident with the retaining wall. This time, it collapsed entirely. Fernando was working underneath the wall at the time. He was killed less than a year into his new life in the US.

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140523122801-gm-ignition-recall-repair-1024x576-300x169It seems as though every time we turn on the news, we’re met with another story about an auto recall. Some of the most infamous include GM’s faulty ignition devices, responsible for the deaths of at least 169 Americans, and the defective airbags manufactured by Takata, which killed 14 and injured over 180 Americans. In 2016 alone, 53.2 million cars were recalled.

It is illegal to sell new cars if they have not been repaired after a recall. However, there is no federal regulation that specifically prohibits used car dealers from selling recalled vehicles as “safe”— even if they have not been repaired.

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picture-12-300x260Mayor Bill de Blasio brought the Vision Zero plan to New York City in 2014, with the goal of reducing the number of deaths caused by traffic collisions to zero by 2014. While the first two years of Vision Zero led to fewer traffic deaths, the initiative has not been as effective as many New Yorkers hoped.

Every day, auto collisions still occur by the hundreds throughout New York, totaling 53,000 since the start of 2017. Last year, the city actually saw a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths.
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MCI-Doctors-Office-Medical-Ops-1-300x200New bills spearheaded by the GOP could make it harder for victims of medical negligence and medical malpractice to secure fair compensation for their injuries. As part of the House Republicans’ efforts to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, these bills would place new limits on lawsuits that involve doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes, and would likely be most harmful to low-income and elderly victims.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claims the bills will lessen “frivolous lawsuits that unnecessarily drive up health care costs.” This idea–that health care would be affordable if only the government could curb all of the “frivolous” lawsuits attacking good doctors hospitals–is not only false, it is also dangerous. GOP Republicans have made countless attempts to limit the rights of medical negligence victims, but have failed consistently because the rights of victims to seek justice in the court system is guaranteed in the US Constitution.
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unnamed-300x186President Donald Trump, though his executive order on immigration released on January 25, 2017, prioritized for deportation any “alien” accused of or convicted of a crime. Since crossing the border without proper documentation and using a false social security number — as many undocumented immigrants do in order to obtain work — are both crimes, Trump essentially put all “aliens” on notice.

Understandably, this order has sent shock waves through immigrant communities. “Right now, the paranoia and sense of fear is overwhelming,” said Ramiro Orozco, an immigration attorney. “All the raids and the rhetoric… have created so much anxiety… people are pulling their children out of school, they’re not going to work.”

In the face of these threats to undocumented immigrants, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with the mayors of many other major cities, has promised hope: “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status.”

Immigrant communities are left asking: To what extent is this promise legitimate, and on what grounds?
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Bronx_Construction_Scaffolding-Accident-Lawyer-300x136Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in New York City. As we detailed in our last blog, in New York City alone, 31 construction workers were killed on the job in the last two years. 29 of those deaths occurred on non-union work sites. This statistic bears out what we commonly see in our law practice: non-union workers risk their life and limb every time they step on a work site.

Though insurance carriers and contractors would like to refer to these injuries as “accidents,” most construction-related injuries are the direct result of a manager’s or company’s negligence. Safety violations were found at 90 percent of fatality sites inspected by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2015.
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construction-300x2252015 and 2016 were two of the most devastating years in history for the New York City construction industry. 31 men and women died on the job, meaning that on average, one worker did not come home from a construction site about every three weeks.

The last death of 2016 occurred on December 23rd, when a worker, whose safety belt was not attached to any cable, fell down an elevator shaft. Just weeks prior, another worker, also not wearing a connected safety belt, fell to his death in Brooklyn at the Old Domino Sugar Factory. These two fatalities, heartbreaking in themselves, portray a larger problem: 29 of the 31 deaths happened at non-union sites. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), almost all of the deaths were preventable.
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141002-self-driving-car-02f124b0329691bfb4519f2108e0a10427-300x176Toyota, Tesla, Google, and other automakers have promised that driverless cars will revolutionize the personal transportation industry within the next five to ten years. They cannot promise, however, that driverless cars will be immune from accidents.

The death of Joshua Brown, a technology consultant whose autonomous car failed to apply the brakes before colliding with a semitrailer truck, is tragic evidence of these cars’ limitations. In the aftermath of his death, lawmakers are left to answer: Who is responsible when a driverless vehicle accident occurs?
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