WWW.OBIORAHFIELDS.COM | 404-994-6218 | MARCH 2019
GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND
APPRECIATING ONE OF OUR PARALEGALS
P racticing law in any form is taxing work. While the results are rewarding, the hours can be long and tedious. That being said, I am relieved to have a reliable team of paralegals and staff working with Teri and me. March 1 is National Employee Appreciation Day all over the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. While it is not a public holiday, there are a lot of different ways employers show their appreciation for their employees. Some might buy lunch for their staff that day or publicly recognize talent and dedication where it deserves to be recognized. For Employee Appreciation Day, I want to recognize one of our paralegals. She consistently goes above and beyond her responsibilities. Deirdre Murchison has been at Obiorah Fields for about a year as a paralegal. She graduated college and previously worked for us as an intern while she was working on her paralegal degree. After she graduated, she began working for us full time. The main thing that comes to mind when I think about why I appreciate Deirdre is her mindfulness of our clients. We strive every day to be a law firm that has a reputation for being personable with everyone
we work for, and Deirdre excels at this. She will not only remember the specifics of clients’ cases but the meaningful personal details as well. If a client is having a baby in a couple of weeks, she will share in their excitement, and if a client had a parent or relative who passed away recently, she can sympathize with them and communicate in a kind and respectful manner.
with her mother’s baking business, and she got her mom to make the cakes for our Christmas party last year. At Obiorah Fields, there are three full-time employees and a couple of interns who work alongside Teri and me. While we thought it worthwhile to highlight Deirdre this issue, we want the rest of our staff to know that we appreciate the work every one of them does here. If you have people working with you or for you, we would encourage you this month to find ways of your own to appreciate those people. Any workplace can be stressful, and having people who find ways to help their coworkers and clients deserve a thank you.
WE STRIVE EVERY DAY TO BE A LAW FIRM THAT HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING PERSONABLE WITH EVERYONE WE WORK FOR, AND DEIRDRE EXCELS AT THIS.
Deirdre is hardworking and dedicated in the workplace as well as thoughtful toward matters outside the firm. During Girl Scout Cookie month, Deirdre worked with her daughter and the daughter of one of our staff members to help them sell cookies around the office. She also helps out
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When you’re at work, you want to be able to focus just on the tasks you have for the day. Those days when you can check off all the boxes without any interruptions or distractions, go home to your family, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring might seem to some like a lofty ideal rather than a day-to-day reality. This is especially the case if you suspect those interruptions or distractions might be a result of violations of federal employment laws. While it shouldn’t be necessary, in many cases it could benefit you to know how to identify IMPORTANT PIECES OF LEGISLATION THAT PROTECT EMPLOYEES FOCUS ON THE JOB
GAME-FULLY EMPLOYED TURNING TO VIDEO GAMES AFTER RETIREMENT The rise in popularity of game-streaming platforms like Twitch — a service seemingly only used by snarky teens playing under quirky aliases — has paved the way for a whole new generation of video game enthusiasts. They just might not be the type you had in mind. Clips and articles are popping up online showcasing how older generations of tech aficionados have taken to gaming en masse. Long gone are the days of grandparents calling grandsons in frustration to ask how to send an email. The current generation of seniors bucks the stereotypical ignorance of technology, embracing hand-held controllers and battle cries as they take on their decades-younger counterparts in the digital arena. One team in particular has stolen the spotlight of late: The Silver Snipers, bringers of destruction in “Counter-Strike” leagues around the world. The team from Stockholm, Sweden, took their talents to the stage of Dreamhack 2017, an esports tournament, where they battled it out against some of the world’s most skilled esports players. Their mission was simple: to show the world that gaming is for people of all ages. Each member picked up the game for different reasons; some played as a way to connect to their grandkids, while others did it to pass the time. One thing’s for certain: This alliance has turned into a hellscape for their opponents. With every team member being over the age of 60, the combination of BirDie, Windy, Knitting Knight, Teen Slayer, and Berra Bang — all gaming aliases — has proved to be a first-of- its-kind powerhouse in the growing circle of older gamers. As one member explained, the game is not just for having fun. Gaming has given the team a chance to connect and be a part of a massive worldwide community. The gameplay also allows for mental exercise. It offers teamwork challenges and improves cognitive function, multitasking skills, and reflexes.
these violations and how to properly report them once identified. Here are three commonly violated categories of employee protection legislation. EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAWS The most well-known anti-discrimination legislation is probably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans any workplace discrimination based on race, religion, or gender. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the regulations created by the Civil Rights Act. Congress passed more anti-discrimination
legislation in the years following to make up for any gaps in the Civil Rights Act, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The full text and numerous summaries of these are all available online. FAIR WAGE LAWS The primary legislation dealing with fair wages and hours for employees is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act set the federal minimum wage and set requirements for overtime pay. The Wage and Hour Division oversees the application of the FLSA as well as the Immigrant and Nationality Act, which applies to aliens with work visas working in the United States. Another important piece of legislation related to wages and hours is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects employees experiencing injury or illness from losing their job or health care benefits for up to 12 weeks. WORKPLACE SAFETY LAWS The Occupational Safety and Health Act regulates the safety and health conditions of most public and private employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees the implementation of this act. There are a number of worker compensation laws that also help protect the safety of workers. It’s easier to keep in mind the different laws and what they generally mean than the technical specifics, which are sometimes difficult to understand. We can help you. If you believe you have witnessed or experienced something in the workplace that violates one of these acts, please give us a call.
If The Silver Snipers are passing along one message, it’s that you’re never too young for an old-fashioned digital beat down.
2 | www.obiorahfields.com | Your Rights, Our Fight
BE MINDFUL AFTER THE CRASH 3 THINGS TO DO AFTER A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
No motorcyclist wants to be in an accident, but you should always prepare for the worst. “Dress for the slide, not the ride” and wear pants, a sturdy jacket, gloves, and a DOT-approved helmet. You can even make yourself more visible by wearing brighter colors, enhancing your profile for other motorists. Unfortunately, accidents can happen even when you take all the precautions. If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, here are a few things you should do at the scene to protect your rights and the rights of others involved in the accident. CALL THE POLICE If you are coherent enough, the first thing you should do is call the police. You want to be sure that paramedics arrive on the scene to treat the injured and that the police are there to take witness statements. If you do not call the police, it is simply your word against other motorists. Having the police present will ensure that you are justly compensated. DOCUMENT THE INCIDENT You will want to record names, phone numbers, insurance, and other information about the vehicles of everyone involved in the accident. Talk to witnesses and get their contact info so
you can build your case. Use your phone to take pictures
and video at the scene and write down the events of the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. All these facts will help you build your case with your insurance provider and with the police when you give your statement. STATE THE FACTS AND ONLY THE FACTS When speaking with the police about the accident, avoid any language that assigns blame. Don’t apologize for any fault, and don’t accuse the other motorists involved beyond what you know happened. State the facts and only the facts; in a liability lawsuit anything you say to the police can be used against you in court. An apology can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Accidents of any sort are nerve-wracking, and the legal repercussions can be difficult to navigate alone. When you are finished with the initial aftermath of the accident, Obiorah Fields, LLC is here to help. Please give us a call.
• 3/4 cup popcorn kernels • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
• 2 teaspoons
granulated onion • 1/3 cup canola oil • 4 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
ASH BIRDS DAY FAT
LAMB LEPRECHAUN LION MARCH MARDI PARADE PATRICKS
RAINBOW SHAMROCK SPRING TUESDAY WEDNESDAY
FLOWERS FORWARD GRAS
Inspired by Food & Wine magazine
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157 South McDonough Street Jonesboro, Georgia 30236
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
How We Are Observing Employee Appreciation Day
Age Is Only a Level Number
3 Types of Laws Employees Should Be Aware Of
Dealing With the Immediate Aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident
The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags
AN INSIDE JOB THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING FLAGS
Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself. Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,” Wallace said.
Determined to find out who was to blame, police put
up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.
Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.
“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.
Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.
4 | www.obiorahfields.com | Your Rights, Our Fight
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