Obiorah Fields - October 2018

WWW.OBIORAHFIELDS.COM | 404.994.6218 | OCTOBER 2018

HALLOWEEN IS ABOUT MORE THAN CANDY

ACTUALLY, NO IT’S NOT

I remember watching the Halloween specials on TV as a kid and getting engrossed in the spooky stories of fall. The holiday never brought a profound moment in my life — my family had our lights off for a couple Halloween’s — but I always enjoyed dressing up, and of course, the candy. Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, and anything with chocolate, nuts, nougat, and caramel transported me to my personal oasis as a kid. But no coconut! Chocolate doesn’t need waxy flakes to be great.

Seeing kids at my door in their costumes brightens my day. But I have to tell you, I love when someone dresses up as a good pun. One year when I was in law school, a girl dressed up as a pair of glasses and was called “Miss Perceived.” Or there was another woman who was pregnant and called herself “Miss Conception.” The best costume I saw was someone dressed up as Denzel from the movie “Philadelphia,” and he was called “Law Suit.” Call me cheesy, but those jokes crack me up!

We try to parlay that humor with our office decorations because having fun is essential. Our firm participates in a scarecrow contest every year. Different businesses in the area will put up a scarecrow in front of their offices, decorate it, and the city will vote on the best ones. We’ve never placed or won, but we feel good about our chances this year. We

While chocolate was undoubtedly a go-to option, it didn’t mean I’d leave out the classics like Jolly Ranchers, Lemonheads, Johnny Apple Treats, and tooth breakers like Now and Laters. But if I’m honest, my favorite candy was a Chick-O-Stick. Candy doesn’t play as much of a role in my life now, but I will pass it out at Halloween. One year,

OUR FIRM LOVES PARTICIPATING IN EVENTS BECAUSE WE CAN MEET NEW PEOPLE AND FIND OUT WAYS TO HELP CAUSES THAT NEED ATTENTION.

and have fellowship with each other. Our firm loves participating in events because we can meet new people and find ways to help causes that need attention. Community involvement makes what we do more than just a specialized skill set. It makes our careers more meaningful because we can see the impact our work has on the individuals we serve and how those people live happier lives within their spheres of influence. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to tell them the latest dad joke I heard. Speaking of which, what do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

however, I failed miserably at this. I was teaching at the university, and the class got out at 10 p.m., so I assumed that I wouldn’t have trick-or-treaters when I got home. But wouldn’t you know it; the second I got there, my doorbell started ringing. Did I have any candy to give out? Of course not. I felt so bad that I wasn’t prepared. I made a personal vow to be ready this year with gobs of candy for all the princesses and superheroes of the world. Hold me to it y’all.

ordered a skeleton with a pumpkin head, holding up a sign that says, “We fright for your rights.” You can say that’s my humor at work, but Danielle likes it just as much as I do. Don’t let her fool you. The best part of fall is all the festivities. Haunted houses, hayrides, corn mazes, and activities like these do a wonderful job of getting kids outside and keeping them active. It makes our community better when we can all come together

Frostbite. Happy Halloween!

–Teri Fields

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When you work overtime, it’s only natural to want compensation for your extra work. Through many federal laws in place, you are entitled to a fair wage for your overtime work. However, when your employer violates those laws, it’s up to you to enforce your rights in the workplace. If you don’t speak out against this injustice, then nothing can be done about it. YOU DESERVE COMPENSATION FOR WORKING OVERTIME

WHY THERE ARE KIDS ON YOUR PORCH ASKING FOR CANDY THE HISTORY OF TRICK-OR-TREATING As Halloween looms and you load up your grocery cart with candy, you may ask yourself, “Why do I provide these spooky gremlins with a sugar high every Oct. 31, anyway?” Well, when your doorbell starts ringing around 6 p.m. this All Hallows’ Eve, you can thank the Celts for this tradition of candy and costumes. Halloween itself is a kind of mishmash of four different cultural festivals of old: two Roman fêtes, which commemorated the dead and the goddess of fruit and trees (not at the same time); the Celtic Samuin or Samhain, a new year’s party thrown at the end of our summer; and the Catholic All Saint’s Day, designed to replace Samuin and divorce it from its pagan origins. Long before there were young’uns on your porch dressed as Thanos with candy-filled pillowcases in hand, the Celts believed that Samuin marked an overlapping of the realms of the living and the dead. To trick the spirits leaking into our world, young men donned flowing white costumes and black masks — a great disguise when ghosts were about. The Catholic Church was never a big fan of these pagan traditions, so they renamed it “All Saints’ Day” and gussied it up in religious garb. By the 11th century, people were dressing up as saints, angels, and the occasional demon instead of spirits. Eventually, costumed children started tearing through town begging for food and money and singing a song or prayer in return — a practice called “souling.”

Under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage rate — $7.25 an hour. Furthermore, all employees who work more than 40 hours in one week are entitled to 1 1/2 times their normal wage rate for every hour over. It’s the

employer’s responsibility to keep track of these extra work hours for their employees and to pay them respectively. However, it’s not uncommon for an employer to avoid paying their employees overtime by not accurately counting hours or failing to educate employees about their rights. All employee complaints regarding wage and hour disputes must go through WHD. Complaints must include the employee’s name, information regarding their employer, and proof of wrongdoing, including pay stubs and their hours worked. The more information you can provide the WHD, the higher chance you have for an approval. If you don’t submit enough detail, you run the risk of your complaint being dismissed. Filing a complaint with the WHD against your employer can be an intimidating process. Most employees don’t know where to start or how to fill out the paperwork required. The Georgia employment lawyers of Obiorah Fields, LLC, understand the complicated process and can assist you in navigating it. If your employer has refused to pay you according to legal standing, our attorneys can help. Call our offices using the number below and speak to one of our ready, willing, and able attorneys today.

But when did they start dressing up as Minions? Starting in the 19th century, souling turned to “guising,” which gave way to trick-or-treating in mid-20th- century America, and the costumes diversified. So put on some clown makeup and a big smile, scoop up a handful of sweets, and scare the living daylights out of ‘em — ‘tis the season!

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HOW WE HELP VETERANS WITH PTSD WE WANT TO HELP VETERANS RECEIVE THE BENEFITS THEY DESERVE

According to the United States Census Bureau, of the total number of veterans residing in the state of Georgia, 1,443 are homeless and 7.6 percent are unemployed. Because these heroic men and women arduously worked and sacrificed so much to preserve the freedoms and rights of their fellow countrymen, most people understand that their homeless or jobless state did not stem from their lack of effort. There are many factors that influence a veteran post-service. For example, many soldiers who serve in the military have traumatic experiences, which can have a profound effect on their lives, manifesting in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms associated with this condition can severely affect their ability to maintain a steady job. Over the past several decades, the military has begun to formally recognize how debilitating the symptoms of PTSD can be. However, simply being diagnosed with PTSD does not automatically guarantee a veteran will be granted disability benefits. In fact, these claims are frequently denied. When a veteran applies for disability benefits, they are asked to submit medical records. These records detail the ways in which their symptoms affect them daily. If the record doesn’t properly articulate the severity of the veteran’s PTSD, then Veterans Affairs (VA) will assign them a low rating, meaning

that their symptoms aren’t severe enough to interfere with their social, occupational, and daily living. Our attorneys here at Obiorah Fields, LLC, often find that veterans frequently underreport their symptoms and are subsequently denied the benefits they not only need, but truly deserve. Appealing the VA’s decision is a long and complex process, so our attorneys will work to document the veteran’s condition in a way that explains how their symptoms prevent them from having a job. For veterans who are homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless, we may be able to expedite the process. If you know someone who is being ignored by the systems they worked so hard to protect, please encourage them to call our office today for a free consultation.

UPCOMING EVENTS

CLAYTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

Obiorah Fields has partnered with the Clayton County Public School system to support the Teacher and Student of the Month programs. We will be selecting students and teachers from the Jonesboro area every month in recognition of their hard work and providing them with gifts and monetary prizes. Our firm has worked with Dr. Anthony W. Smith, Deputy

Superintendent, to establish this program. We are so excited to be working with CCPS and look forward to helping achieve the goal of being “committed to high performance.” If you know a deserving student or teacher at one of the Jonesboro schools, please nominate him or her for the teacher or student of the month programs.

Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. VA Workshops and Claims Clinic at Riverdale Town Center. Call our office for more information. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Veterans Day Lunch. Free to Veterans. Riverdale Town Center 11:30 a.m.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Candy and Puns: My Ideal Halloween

1 2

The Surprising Origins of Trick-or-Treating

Workers in Wage and Hour Disputes

We Want to Help Veterans Receive the Benefits They Deserve

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Local Spotlight

Learn a New Language as a Family

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LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE AS A FAMILY LET YOUR CHILDREN SPEAK TO THE WORLD

As the weather cools down, finding ways to spend quality time as a family can become challenging. It’s too cold to camp or barbecue, and money may be tight with the holidays coming up. So why not turn learning a new skill into a bonding experience this fall? You can do it inside, it’s free, and it will open doors around the world for the rest of your children’s lives. WHY LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE? Speaking multiple languages creates opportunities for your child. Being bilingual makes you more qualified for a variety of exciting careers and can improve your competitiveness in the job market. Knowing a second language can also allow you to travel with greater ease and become more culturally well-rounded. There are some studies that claim learning languages is even good for your health. Research shows that our language acquisition skills peak in childhood or adolescence, so starting young is the best way to become fluent. If your child is in school, they probably already know classmates who speak another language. WHICH LANGUAGE SHOULD YOU LEARN? Did you know that 40 million Americans currently speak Spanish at home? The U.S. is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the

world, and we border the largest, so learning this language is a great way for children to communicate with more people in their community, and they’ll be more hirable as adults. Bonus : It’s commonly considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Mandarin is the most-spoken language on the planet, and China’s growth as an economic powerhouse has made this language even more useful around the world. German, Arabic, and Japanese speakers are also highly sought-after in the job market. Of course, you can always let your wanderlust or passions decide for you! Is your child obsessed with K-Pop? Have them learn Korean. Want to take them to Paris someday? Enroll in French classes. THE LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD ARE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Learning a new skill has never been easier! While there’s no substitute for a full-time class or moving to another country, there are countless ways to teach yourself a new language right at home, usually for free. YouTube tutorials, podcasts, and audiobooks let you rewind and listen to the lessons as many times as needed to master pronunciations. Can’t tear your child away from their cellphone? Download Duolingo, rated by PCMag.com as the best free language-learning app of 2018.

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