DiBartolomeo Law Offices - February 2019

Makin’ It Better NEWSLETTER

February 2019

Oregon Workers’ Compensation | Personal Injury | Social Security Disability

1139 Exchange St., Astoria, OR 97103 • 503-325-8600 • JoeDiBartolomeo.com


Hiring for Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hire for personality, train for skills.

• Self-motivation • Attention to detail • Empathy • Organization • Creativity • Team-orientation • Responsibility • Compassion

On the other hand, if you are hiring a computer programmer to run your website, you wouldn’t want to spend time teaching the person you hired how to code with HTML or CSS. The programmer you hire should come equipped with these skills. Certain hard skills are essential to the job. That said, proficiency in hard skills should not be ranked above personality and culture fit. A candidate may come with a degree from a top school and a decade of experience, but that experience won’t make up for the problems that will arise if a new hire doesn’t click well with the rest of your team or isn’t eager to take care of your customers. When a job demands a set of hard skills, your strategy should be to hire for personality and skills. Does this mean it will be harder to find the right person for the position? Absolutely. And while it can be stressful to have an open position for a long time, it’s always worth waiting to find the right person. When hiring managers look only at academic background and technical prowess, they often overlook plenty of promising candidates who need only an opportunity to learn before they can excel. But it is perfectly reasonable to insist that candidates come to the table with certain skills needed to succeed in the position. Be sure your company is bringing in the right people by learning to balance soft skills and hard skills when evaluating candidates.

This advice is becoming a standard hiring practice across industries. Hiring managers put less emphasis on a candidate’s degree or past experience and focus more on who they are as a person. This change is likely due to the growing trend of companies prioritizing strong internal cultures. According to Forbes, 89 percent of hiring failures are due to poor culture fit. It’s wise for hiring managers to make culture fit a priority. New hires who don’t connect with their team or share the company’s values tend to stick around for only a short period. Considering it costs around $4,000 to hire a new employee, it makes sense for companies to invest in new hires who fit the company culture. However, it’s not always enough to hire someone just because their personality is aligned with your company. For a company to hire the best pool of applicants, the ideal candidates should have a balance of soft skills and hard skills. Soft Skills When someone says they “hire for personality,” what they really mean is that they are looking for candidates with certain soft skills. These are nontechnical skills that can’t be measured and aren’t easy to list on a resume. Here are some soft skills companies look for in new hires:

Hard Skills Hard skills are teachable abilities that can be learned through training or experience. Necessary hard skills will vary depending on what industry you work in. An accountant needs hard skills in QuickBooks and mathematics, while someone who works in online marketing will need to be proficient in social media outreach and SEO best practices. • Copywriting • Foreign languages • Data analysis • Any certification, degree, or license Which Is More Important? Depending on the position you’re trying to fill, you may have flexibility when it comes to hard skills. If a dental office is hiring a front desk receptionist, it’s important this person be organized, friendly, self-motivated, and have strong communication skills. They might not have experience at a dentist’s office or know how to use the software, but if they have the right soft skills, they can learn and adapt quickly to the environment. Here are some other examples of hard skills:

• Communication • Flexibility

• Enthusiasm • Work ethic

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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ORDERING COFFEE JUST GOT EASIER How Starbucks Helps the Deaf Community

If you’ve ever visited a Starbucks coffee shop, you’ve likely heard a patron rattle off a drink order that was more specific than your grandma’s pecan pie recipe. For example, they might say, “I’ll take a Grande, four- pump, nonfat, no-whip, extra-hot mocha.” Without missing a beat, the barista scribbles the order on the cup and starts making the drink. Orders like this one are a mouthful for even the most seasoned Starbucks guru, but for deaf people, it can be difficult to even order a cup of black coffee. Adam Novsam, a deaf utility analyst at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, set out to address that difficulty by heading the launch of the company’s first deaf-friendly signing store. Operation The store’s grand opening took place in October in Washington, D.C. Its overall success relies primarily on its purposeful operation and design elements. In 2005, the ASL Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University created the DeafSpace Project using design elements, such as space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility, light, and acoustics, to address potential challenges for deaf people. Starbucks’ signing store incorporates these aspects of DeafSpace to make

their store more accessible. For customers new to sign language, the store features some high-tech options for assisting with communication, ordering drinks, and receiving beverages at the handoff counter, including digital notepads and a console with two- way keyboards for back-and-forth conversations. Aprons All store partners at the signing store are proficient in ASL, whether they are hearing, hearing-impaired, or deaf. However, deaf partners wear special green aprons embroidered with the ASL spelling of Starbucks. What’s more, these aprons were created by a deaf supplier! Education For hearing customers who aren’t fluent in ASL — even those just ducking in to grab a cup of coffee to go — the signing store offers an opportunity to learn something new. For example, they can learn how to sign a word like “espresso” in ASL merely by reading the chalkboard above the register with the “sign of the week.” Starbucks’ decision to make their product more accessible has benefited thousands of customers all along the East Coast. Hopefully, as time goes on, other corporations will choose to follow suit so we can make a more deaf-friendly society.

WHY’D MY CLAIM GET DENIED? Common Workers’ Compensation Problems

In an ideal world, workers’ compensation claims would be handled quickly and fairly, and all legitimate claims would receive approval. Unfortunately, denials are all too common. After all, it’s in your employer’s and their insurance company’s best interests to find any reason to reduce or negate your compensation. Of course, they must have legal ground to do so. If you were surprised your claim got denied, here are a few common reasons that may have happened.

you and your physician should fill out Form 827. Lacking this documentation, failing to meet these deadlines, or filing the claim after you’ve left your job can often result in the insurance company denying your claim. If you believe these denials came as a result of a clerical error, it may be worth talking to your employer and clarifying the misunderstanding. Disputes The other common denial we see is when your employer or their insurance company disagrees that your injury was

is due to factors outside the workplace. This is the time to gather evidence to support your side of the story. Depending on the nature of your injury and the reason given for denial, an independent medical examination may help your case. Denials Aren’t the End of the Road If your claim was denied, you still have options available to you. An expert Oregon workers’ compensation attorney like Joe DiBartolomeo can help you

determine the strength of your claim and whether filing an appeal is the right move for you. Our team will help you understand your legal options and find the best route toward just compensation.

Paperwork and Red Tape There are many legal hoops injured

primarily caused by the workplace. They may claim that you were not following proper safety procedure or that your condition

workers have to jump through to be eligible for compensation. The first of these are tight deadlines. If you are injured or made ill while on the job, you need to notify your employer immediately and then file Form 801. If you go to a doctor for your injury,

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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Innocent Posts Can Hurt the Most We aren’t writing this warning because people post videos of themselves doing cartwheels and jumping jacks after filing their personal injury claim. Many kinds of posts are leveraged against people with serious, debilitating injuries who are trying to struggle through pain to regain some sense of normalcy. For example, a post after a car accident letting your friends and family know that “everything’s fine” can hurt your claim. A selfie with your spouse — out on your first date night after the crash — can be weaponized against you. Unless you are an experienced personal injury lawyer, it’s best to avoid posting even the most innocent content on social media. Our firm will fight hard to get you just compensation, but we can’t proofread every tweet. Please post responsibly.

We all have that one friend who overshares on social media. Maybe they can’t have a meal without taking a snap of it first. Perhaps they tweet every “funny” thought that comes into their head or flood your Facebook feed with feature-length life updates. While this barrage of posts may be annoying to scroll through, at the end of the day, it’s harmless. But after a car accident, even a moderate amount of social media use could prove disastrous. The Other Side Is Watching When you file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for an accident, it’s in the insurance company’s best interests to find ways to reduce or deny your claim. Their lawyers have been known to go to extreme lengths, hiring investigators to surreptitiously surveil claimants. In the age of social media, these investigators don’t even have to leave their computers to dig up evidence. Privacy Settings Are No Guarantee Even if you change the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts, this is not a perfect solution. You can bet insurance adjusters are going to scour the posts of your friends and family as well, looking for comments, tagged events, and photographs that undermine your side of the story. It’s best to limit social media use for both yourself and those spending time around you during your case.


Inspired by Food & Wine magazine.


• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 large egg yolks

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• Royal icing, sprinkles, and edible markers, for decorating

• 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes


1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add butter and combine using a mixer at low speed, until butter breaks down into small, crumbly pieces. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until butter and flour clump. 3. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to bowl, return mixer to low, and mix until dough congeals. 4. Carefully roll dough into a sheet 1/16-inch thick and cut into 4x6 inch cards. 5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake cookie cards for 6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 6. Let cookies cool completely, decorate, and distribute.

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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503-325-8600 JoeDiBartolomeo.com


1139 Exchange St. Astoria, OR 97103

What’s Inside

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When Personality Isn’t Enough

Ordering Coffee Just Got Easier

Why Your Claim Was Denied


One Tweet Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Case

Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards


Let’s Retire These Health Myths


We live in the golden age of information. The answers to many of life’s questions are just an internet search away. Despite this readily available wisdom, we still have a bad habit of believing health-related myths. Here are three popular health “facts” that are total works of fiction. The 5-Second Rule Keeps Food Safe Obviously germs and bacteria don’t really wait five seconds to pounce, but snatching your chip off the floor fast keeps most of the germs away, right? Not according to a 2006 study published by Dr. Paul Dawson. He found conclusive evidence that when food comes into contact with a contaminated surface, bacteria are transferred immediately. Even one second spent on tile, wood, or carpet is enough to infest your food with salmonella or another serious contaminant. Bottled Water Is Safer Than Tap Water People seeking out safer water alternatives increases the sales of bottled “spring water” each year. However, bottled water is more expensive, bad for the environment, and, as Dr. Morton Tavel of the Indiana University School of Medicine

pointed out, over 50 percent of bottled water is just filtered tap water. The same effect can be achieved with a home filtration system. Of course, if the tap water in your area has been contaminated, bottled water is a safer alternative. However, in most circumstances, bottled water is no healthier than tap water. Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis The connection between knuckle-cracking and arthritis came from studies where participants self-reported their habits. Modern medical research has shown these results to be false. The official stance from the John Hopkins Arthritis Center states, “There is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in the joints.” Still, chronic knuckle-cracking can lead to reduced grip strength, so you might want to break the habit anyway. You’ve probably heard these myths for years, but just because something is common knowledge doesn’t mean it is true. With information so easily available, always take the time to research the facts, especially when it comes to your health.

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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