Skip to main content
Steven Paul Cohn

Steven Cohn’s Answers

60 total


  • I am beginning negotiations with the adjuster to at fault insurance, he has offered two low settlements. He is not budging.

    He is saying my medical bills are unreasonable and cost too much. I want to file a lawsuit, litigation and file complaints or which ever comes first.

    Steven’s Answer

    I agree with my Avvo colleagues here. You should be aware that what drives value to an injury claim is not just the amount of medical bills and lost earnings caused by the adverse negligent driver, but the nature of your injuries, their duration, (as reflected in the medical records), and the overall impact the injury has had on your life. Often insurers will discount large chiropractic costs, yet give them greater value when a medical doctor has prescribed the chiropractic care, just as they may physical therapy.

    Also, if medical bills have been paid by an insurer, often they will compromise their repayment right and lower their lien in order to get paid sooner. These intricacies are best left to a qualified injury attorney, who typically can best advise you and negotiate an acceptable resolution, while handling timing, lien compromise, and even seeking further medical opinions to verify and justify your injuries and treatment course. Best of luck to you. SPC

    See question 
  • Suspended and not told why. I am in a union!

    I was suspended and was not told why. The manager just suspended me. I am in a union at work. Was told I would get paid. suspended and was not told why. The manager just suspended me. I am in a union at work. Was told I would get paid while on sus...

    Steven’s Answer

    Your union's collective bargaining agreement will undoubtedly provide the ability to file a grievance against this suspension, intended or not. However, you must beware in that most agreements have a 10 day time limit for filing the grievance, and typically only the union may file for you.
    Due to your union membership, your remedy is likely limited to solely back pay, reinstatement and having the suspension stricken from your personnel file. For now, get the grievance filed and do maintain contact with the HR department to get back on schedule if you feel that you must take some additional affirmative act. Good luck to you. SPC

    See question 
  • What liability & coverage do I have for car accident injury at work if I am not officially on employer's payroll??

    Get a job offer as a driver to deliver goods. Future employer offers hourly salary in cash, not check because he prefers I am not officially on his payroll so that he can avoid paying for workers compensation insurance. Is it legal for him to do...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You may not be covered as an employee if you are driving your own vehicle, name your own hours, are free to compete and deliver for others, can turn down deliveries, or exercise other power over the "manner and means" of your performance. This is a hot topic in the law currently due to the prevalence of companies that use contractors for a variety of jobs, both on and off premises. If you are an employee, and the company has misclassified you as a contractor and hasn't any workers compensation insurance to cover your injury, the State has an Uninsured Employers' fund to assist you. If you are an employee, then the company will be liable for the accident occurring in the course and scope of your work, caused by your fault, however, your own car insurance may have a disclaimer for liability where you are using the car commercially to work for another. You will wish to take this up with your insurance broker to confirm that you maintain the proper insurance on the car given the particulars of your work. If someone else harms you in an accident, you have the right to claim directly against them and their insurance, subject to any right to reimbursement by the company's comp carrier for reimbursement of benefits if any are provided you. Safe and happy driving. SPC

    See question 
  • Can a company terminate you while you are on state disability from your job?

    Kaiser permanete

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, an employer can terminate a disabled worker who exceeds all available leaves of absence, or where the position is actually eliminated, unrelated to the leave itself. There are numerous exceptions, however, that may limit the employer's right to do so. Companies with 50 or more employees must observe your 12 week Family Medical Leave Act rights if you qualify, while small employers with under 5 workers, inclusive of working owners, are not prohibited from a disability related termination. If the condition is ultimately determined to be work-related, you may be entitled to up to 18 months of protected leave, even though you are presently using SDI benefits. Should you be let go, you are best advised to consult with an employment attorney who can draw more facts about this and better advise you. good luck. SPC

    See question 
  • Reporting employer for pay cash under the table and not reporting taxes

    Tax Fraud Overview How do I report a licensed company for paying cash under the table and not reporting taxes? I was working for a cleaning company that is licesened and I was being paid cash under the table and I know mi employer was not report...

    Steven’s Answer

    The payment of cash wages is unlawful here, and deprives you of social security benefits contribution, unemployment insurance bank contributions, probably workers compensation insurance and underprices those legitimate companies who do play by the rules and treat their employees fairly. You may report this employer to the State, at the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, wage and hour division. 408-277-1264. Best of luck. SPC

    See question 
  • Does harassment in the workplace have to be recorded? How can you prove it?

    I'm employed in a worldwide known soda company where I've been harassed by some of my co-workers and even sexually harassed by one of the "lead" warehouse associate. I filled a report about the behavior which is against the company policy but supp...

    Steven’s Answer

    In light of your past experiences, you can request that cameras be installed. In some states you may also have the right to secretly record such harassment , as a speaking offense, so as to preserve it. However, I strongly encourage you to confer with an attorney in your state before doing so, as there may be restrictions there, and this could even be criminal.

    Next, you could discuss this stress with your doctor and seek a medical accommodation by way of a scheduling change.

    Also, just because no one will come forward does not mean that no one has done so before you, or that former employees would not speak up. I would recommend that you consult with an employment attorney, who can check the courts or intervene with the company on your behalf to seek a remedy. You may be underestimating the power of your own testimony, while the fact of harassment may be established in court by the credible testimony of just one person.

    I would advise you to keep notes after each shift to document your experiences and share these with your attorney if the company insists you return.

    Best of luck.

    See question 
  • Sexual Harassment Change of Heart?

    My co-worker started to tell everyone that i sexually harassed her over a light hug. My manager told me it didn't look like sexual harassment on camera and from witnesses. When we all had the meeting - manager, "victim", and myself, the "victim" ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Sexual harassment is a statutory creation, which requires that the conduct be unwelcome, and for this claimed environmental harassment type, as opposed to conditioning job, pay or promotion in exchange for sexual favor , the sexual conduct must be pervasive, severe, or frequent so as to render more burdensome the job. This doesn't appear to come close, where it is not accompanied by other unwelcome conduct. Still, an unwelcome hug, i.e., too long or close, may be seen as sexual harassment to a lay person, and her reporting this is privileged where she told this to management.

    It is unclear what part of this was a lie. If you never hugged her at all, and she has defamed you, you may bring claims against her for slander, with 1 year to file a lawsuit. Even if it wasn't sexual harassment, an unwanted, intentional touching may still be a battery or an invasion of her right of personal privacy, however, her injury may be so minimal as to suggest that she will not pursue this.

    Lastly, I would caution you from any form of retaliation for her sexual harassment complaint, as retaliation is unlawful, and your employer may not be so forgiving. Best to stay as far away from her as you can, while you still may request that the employer notify staff that she had recanted her claim. They may decline, again, over concern that this may also appear to be retaliation. Good luck going forward. SPC.

    See question 
  • If a promotion is given with a raise can the raise be reduced within my probation period with no explanation of my pay reduction

    my boss thinks he is paying me too much so he decided to take a $1.00 an hour away from me when he just gave it to me. Can he do this? I haven't even had a review yet I'm still in my probation period.

    Steven’s Answer

    A California employer reserves the right to alter the terms and conditions of employment at will, for any reason that is not otherwise unlawful, or for no reason at all. You mention that you are probationary in the new job, suggesting that you may be subject to a collective bargaining agreement and in a union, were you to satisfy the probationary period. If so, the new wage may be now below that agreed to with the union or you may be working out of class, entitling you to challenge the new wage through your union.
    Another possibility for a remedy arises if the new job was misrepresented for the purpose of removing you from your last position, or you passed up an outside job to accept this promotion where the employer cannot document that it had an approved budget for you at the rate represented. Such interference in the other positions may afford you some ability to negotiate for better compensation, depending on how you have been performing, or even to seek the former position back were that still available. Good luck. SPC

    See question 
  • Can my employer fire me?

    I used fmla eligible leave. But didnt say fmla. Only that i needed to care for a sick wife and it was an emergency, since she is pregnant and we got a call from doc saying to be careful due to high blood glucose. My wife calls suddeny feeling dizz...

    Steven’s Answer

    Employers of 50 or more are required to themselves designate the leave as a FMLA protected leave; not you. If you worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months and had not otherwise exhausted 12 weeks of leave that the company had designated FMLA or, in Calif., CFRA leave, then you would be protected from retaliation for taking the leave.

    Your question, however, poses an important wrinkle; would finishing up have been an unreasonable employer demand under the totality of the circumstances, or was it permissible to leave immediately to go to HR, and was there otherwise insubordinate conduct incident to what you refer to as having "stormed out". Either way, the employer would certainly be taking a risk in terminating you under such circumstances, while the supervisor will likely be gunning for you on your return.

    It may be best to lodge a written complaint with HR to set out that you were unreasonably delayed in obtaining approval, so that you have some documentation that you had requested a protected leave to cover your wife's sudden illness and this may help to dissuade the supervisor or HR from retaliating upon your return. Should retaliation occur, which is quite likely given the Supervisor's remark, I would recommend that you consult with an employment attorney promptly to protect you and enforce your rights. Good luck with the job and the birth. SPC

    See question