10 Major Reasons Why Employers Get Sued

Jericho attorney Robert Lipman, speaking recently at a local human-resource gathering, presented his Top 10 reasons why employers are sued. It's information worth noting because Lipman, of Lipman & Plesur in Jericho, knows of what he speaks. He has successfully sued some of Long Island's biggest employers on behalf of employees who claimed they weren't properly paid. As a lawyer who also represents some employers, he has counseled those clients on how to avoid being sued.

Herewith his Top 10 reasons why employers are sued:

1. Employees are not paid for all hours worked.

2. Employees who complain to human resources are basically told to take a hike.

3. The company is run like a "Mom and Pop" shop and decisions are made by "emotional, arrogant" owners.

4. "We contact the executives and they do not tell us anything to suggest we are wrong."

5. Lost wages will likely be significant.

6. The company thinks supervisor training is unnecessary.

7. A few disgruntled employees come to us to discuss the same problem - and they do not even know each other.

8. Contractual promises limit the company's ability to fire an employee (but they let the person go anyway).

9. The employee complained about a problem and was punished.

10. Evaluations and warnings are not backed up with any specifics.

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No Sign-Ups For 'Mr. Gays'On Facebook

The immensely popular social networking website Facebook has been hit by claims that it won't let people whose name is 'Gay' join up – because it doesn't think their name is 'legitimate'.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reports that when they tried to sign up a person who was called Gay, they were refused permission and confronted with the message: 'Please enter a legitimate name.'

It will, however, allow users who are called Hitler.

Metro's own investigations seem to confirm this: a search of Facebook does indeed turn up lots of Gaylords, some Gayes, an occasional Gayer – but no Gays. There are, however, plenty of Dykes.

There is also an application (developed by a third party) which allows Facebook users to proclaim that they are gay, by putting a big gay flag on their profile page – but this appears to refer to sexual preference, not to actually being called Gay.

Gay is in common use both as a surname and a first name. Some well known Gays include gardening writer and broadcaster Gay Search, Irish TV host Gay Byrne, Australian politician Duncan Gay and American sprinter Tyson Gay.

When you are born with the name Gay you have to have a sense of humour

French Londoner Yannick Gay, 33, said: 'When you are born with the name Gay you have to have a sense of humour. I have never had too much problem but you do have to explain it quite a few times when giving your name. I usually say 'as in the village people' and they then get it.

'I've never tried to use Facebook but I'd like to have the option to be able to. However if I did use it I'd probably use a different surname because, not being gay, I don't want to be pestered - which can happen on the internet through people misunderstanding.'

Facebook has yet to comment on the Gay issue.

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The Sc-Fi Movie 'Transformer' - A Money Making Machine?

The shape-shifting robots of ''Transformers'' have taken on a new form: huge piles of cash.

The sci-fi saga ''Transformers,'' DreamWorks and Paramount's big-screen take on the Hasbro toys, debuted with $67.6 million in ticket sales in its first weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That gave it $152.5 million since opening with preview screenings last Monday.

If the weekend figures hold when final numbers are released today, that would give ''Transformers'' the biggest first week revenues ever for a non-sequel, surpassing the $151.6 million of 2002's ''Spider-Man.''

''Transformers,'' directed by Michael Bay, features a cast led by Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, who are among humans hurled into the action when two races of warring robots bring their feud to Earth.

Overall domestic box office plunged. The top 12 movies took in $161.5 million, down 23 percent from the same weekend last year, when ''Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'' opened a then-record weekend of $135.6 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, the Warner Bros. comedy ''License to Wed,'' took fourth place with $10.4 million, raising its total since debuting Tuesday to $17.8 million.

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Mortgage Financing - Taking A New Look

Brett Richards

Mortgage companies are always looking for a way to generate additional income, and with the real estate market taking a substantial decline, some lenders are now offering mortgage loans that will spread your payments out to 40 and 50 years, making them more affordable. Prior to these extended-term mortgages, the interest-only mortgages were touted as the way to go. Is this new wave of financing your home really a good deal?

Remember that interest-only mortgage loans weren't permanently interest-only. The buyer only had a certain period of interest-only payments, after which they must resume paying on the principle, which had grown during that time. Many families found themselves unable to pay the higher payments that came at the end of the interest-only period. Right now, we are seeing those interest-only loans having a much higher rate of foreclosure than the regular fixed-rate mortgages where the payment stays the same.

Now we have the birth of the 40- and 50-year mortgage. It's true you'll be spreading your payments out, but you'll be greatly increasing the amount of interest you will pay back, and you also will reduce your buildup of equity. These mortgages will makes it easier to buy a home in a high-priced area. But when we break it down, these ultra-long-term mortgages don't reduce monthly payments all that much when compared with a traditional 30-year fixed-rate loan. What these loans will do, though, is jack up how much interest you pay over time and dramatically slow down the rate at which you build equity.

Even with all the facts, the 40-year loans are becoming more common, and the 50-year mortgage is more a novelty item than anything else. Some experts have compared them to the 99-year mortgages that were briefly offered during Japan's ill-fated real-estate boom two decades ago. Forty-year mortgages, on the other hand, first appeared in the 1980s and then finally gained recognition in the U.S. last year, after Fannie Mae began buying them. (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy the majority of mortgages in the U.S. and repackage them for sale to investors, so their stamp of approval is hugely important.) About five percent of mortgages in the U.S. now carry 40-year terms.

Some 40-year mortgages offer fixed rates for the entire term, typically charging about one-quarter percentage point -- more than a comparable 30-year mortgage. Some 40-year loans are ARM loans, with a rate that's fixed for a few years before becoming variable. This slightly lower payment could be enough to help you qualify for a somewhat bigger loan. Forty-year mortgages are typically sold to individuals who say they don't like the 30-year, because the mortgage payments are a little high, and they don't like interest-only because they will need to build some equity.

Consider this: If there's any chance you might hold onto one of these extended mortgages, making every payment until the term ends, rather than moving and refinancing -- then you'll really want to opt for the shorter-term loan. You'll pay a total of $398,334 in interest for a 30-year, $300,000 mortgage over the course of the loan. For a 40-year, the interest cost is nearly 50 percent higher: $591,725.

Many borrowers, though, have lost sight of the true costs of various mortgages as they pursue just the lowest-possible monthly payments or try to qualify for ever-more-expensive homes. If this describes you, you might want to:

# Consider your goals: for most people, homeownership is a way to build wealth.

# Match the mortgage term to your time horizon: You can help protect yourself from soaring interest rates by making sure your rate is fixed -- at least for as long as you plan to remain in the home.

# Settle for a less expensive home: Stretching yourself too thin to buy a house is a recipe for disaster. Even if no major systems break down, the routine costs of maintenance and repair can swamp anyone who's not prepared for them. Meanwhile, a high house payment might cause you to lose sight of other important goals, like saving for retirement, or to pile up credit-card debt as you try to stay afloat.

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10 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Hired

Dozens of job interviews, and no offers? Are you too old, too young, over-qualified or just out of luck? Are hiring managers so incompetent and biased that they can’t see that you’re qualified as a chemist, electrical engineer, CAD designer, construction manager or network administrator?

The truth is, if you’re getting rejected time after time for jobs that you are qualified for, the problem is most likely with you. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t get paid to reject people. Their job is to find qualified people to fill vacancies.

If you’re not getting invited back, ask yourself “why?” Most of the time, the problem is with the way you are presenting yourself. That’s not surprising because job interviewing is an infrequent activity for most of us. You need to critique your interviewing presentation the same as you would your on-the-job-performance. Here are ten reasons why you may not be getting a job offer:

1. You’re not qualified. It’s true, you have nothing to lose by applying for every job that looks even remotely like it might be a match. On the other hand, if you overstate your qualifications, it will come out during the interview. Sometimes the interviewer doesn’t properly screen job candidates, and it’s not until the interview is well under way that it becomes obvious that the candidate lacks the necessary skills or experience. There’s not much you can do about interviewers who don’t do their homework. However, think twice before you set yourself up for failure by applying for jobs that are clearly outside your level of expertise.

2. You may lack enthusiasm. You don’t have to emulate Zig Ziglar or Richard Simmons, but you must express enthusiasm for a job if you don’t want to be weeded out early in the interview process. Not everyone is effervescent in his or her personality, but if you can’t manufacture enthusiasm during a job interview, a hiring manager has to wonder how good your attitude will be after you’re hired.

3. Failure to establish your worth to the prospective employer. When you give the impression that you are only interested in “what’s in it for me” without regard to what you have to offer, a job opportunity is often lost. The hiring manager wants to know what you can do for him or her. Candidates who fail to establish their worth are quickly eliminated. For example, if you have eight years of progressively responsible experience as an application engineer, you will want to make sure that the interviewer sees the value in your experience. You establish your worth by the specific things that you say in answer to his or her questions.

4. Unclear job goals eliminate many candidates from further consideration. If you10. are an electrical supervisor and you don’t know what you specifically want to do, are not sure if you want to supervise again, or can’t communicate your interest during the interview, you’re in trouble. If you’re going through some soul-searching as we all do on occasion, keep it out of the interview or you run the risk of losing a job opportunity. Employers are not interested in hiring people who don’t know what they want to do.

5. Bad mouthing previous employers. There is no faster way to be cut from further consideration than by saying something negative about your current or most recent employer. It may be that your former supervisor really was a technically weak boss. Maybe he or she was frequently late in following through on assignments that in turn impacted your work. Regardless of the situation, think twice before you talk about it. It’s better to put a positive spin on your job search, saying you’re looking for better opportunities when asked why you are making a change. Employers want to hire people who are going places, not those who are refugees. What you say tells the listener more about you than about the person/company you are talking about. As tempting as it may be to tell the interviewer how badly your previous employer treated you, keep your negative thoughts to yourself.

6. Poor personal appearance. The key here is that you must fit in with the way others in the company dress. Hiring managers don’t want to hire anyone for their team who would be a distraction to others. And keep in mind that if a manager hires you with a nose ring, his or her judgment will be called into question, regardless of how well you do your job. A poor personal appearance can eliminate you before you open your mouth.

7. Unprepared for the interview. Preparing includes practice answering interview questions as well as researching the company. Interviewers are always impressed when you know something about their company. If due to a lack of practice you stumble with your answers, it will be clear that you are unprepared. Be ready to answer the question: “What can you tell me about yourself” in two minutes or less. It’s obvious to the interviewer when a candidate hesitates to answer a question that he or she is not prepared.

8. You may lack interpersonal skills. On paper you may look great. On the phone you are impressive. Your references look fine at a glance, but face to face you fail the test. If there is any hint that you may not get along with other members of the engineering team, it’s a deal killer. Suppress your desire to say anything that would suggest that you’re weak in the area of interpersonal skills including a comment that you are shy or would rather work with machinery than people.

9. Revealing your weaknesses will usually end your chances for getting a job offer. The hiring manager’s number one job is to determine the candidate’s weaknesses. He or she will do this by asking tough interview questions that you must be prepared to answer without revealing your weaknesses. Practice answering the question: “Can you tell me about one of your weaknesses and what you are doing to improve?” Take it one step further and decide what you will say when the interviewer asks you for three weaknesses that you are working on.

10. Failure to sell yourself. Your responsibility during the interview is to sell yourself and that includes carefully tooting your own horn. You may not have had to do much of this in the past, but times have changed. And don’t forget to follow up with a telephone call three or four days after an interview. It’s a great way to reinforce your interest in the job as well as ask a question or two that you may have forgotten to ask.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why you may not be getting a job offer. These ten reasons are among the most likely. Regardless of the reason, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you avoiding anything that would prevent you from moving forward in the interview process and ultimately landing the job.

Carol Hacker is a business consultant, seminar leader and author of over 250 published articles and 13 books including the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions for People Who Need People. She can be reached in Atlanta at 770-410-0517

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