Colianni & Colianni, LLC

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4001 Village Run Road, Wexford, PA 15090

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Pittsburgh car accident injury lawyer

In 2015, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that a total of 17,250 car accidents occurred daily. Many factors go into determining why car accidents happen, and most have to do with the driver. However, studies have shown that cars with specific features are more likely to get into an accident. These aspects include factors like make and model, the year the vehicle was manufactured, and the types of the car itself. A factor that surprised researchers was the color of a car could increase the chances of the driver being in an accident.

Not the Color You Would Imagine

The common perception among the public is that red, fast, and sports-like cars are more likely to be involved in an accident. This is due to the stereotypes that owners of red cars want to be noticed, are more adventurous, and thus are higher risk-takers. But a 20-year study in 2013 found black cars are 47 percent more likely to be in accidents. Why? The first reason is the most obvious. Black cars are a preferred color among car buyers. This can be due to the mystique or sense of mystery that the color black can hold for some people. It is the common color chosen by celebrities because it represents a high social status or is also considered a “rebellious” color. 

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Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer

For nearly two-and-half centuries in Pennsylvania, medical malpractice lawsuits could be brought against doctors in any region in which the doctors practiced medicine. However, in 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed the rule and limited the venue options to the county in which the injury occurred. The rule change was due to growing fears that plaintiffs could “venue shop,” which could potentially cause medical insurance rates to increase and lead doctors to leave the commonwealth. Since plaintiffs could file their lawsuits in any county where the physician worked, they may have chosen to pursue legal action in an area where juries were more likely to find the doctor to be at fault.

Recently, the issue was reopened when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suggested reinstating the previous rules governing venue selection. Those who are considering taking legal action for medical malpractice may wonder whether these rules should be reverted and whether the proposed changes would benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania.

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Allegheny County car accident injury attorney

Car accidents are among the leading causes of death and injury in the United States and much of the world. Individuals who have been in a motor vehicle collision can face both health, financial, and emotional trauma for months and even years after the event. Auto accidents can cause significant harm to the body, especially in the head, neck, and back, possibly also resulting in prolonged pain and the inability to perform daily functions. The resulting medical bills can put an individual in the financial red zone, and many people report suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after having been involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Car Accident Statistics 

According to studies, there are certain places and times of day in which collisions are most likely to occur. If you wish to prevent being in or causing a car accident, it is best to be more cautious if you are driving in the following locations or during the times listed below:

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Wexford, PA industrial work injury attorney

Industrial workers, on average, have to work in more dangerous environments than most other fields. The likelihood of a worker being involved or witnessing an industrial accident that can result in severe injury or even death is high, which is why every effort should be made to make workplaces safer by creating safety guidelines and following common sense standards. If you are an industrial worker, and you are concerned about your safety and the safety of your coworkers, here are a few simple tips to make your workplace safer:

Keep Floors Clear and Clean

In the heavy industrial field, injuries can occur if areas are not kept clean and free from clutter. Slip and falls are among the most common industrial accidents. Slipping on slick floors can result in back, shoulder, or neck injuries or damage to other parts of the body. This can potentially lead to a lifetime of pain and the inability to live a fulfilling life. Such injuries are easily avoidable by cleaning up messes as soon as they happen. Be sure to encourage your workplace to keep cleaning equipment in all sectors of your workplace so that such messes do not accumulate. 

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Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer

Ride-sharing services have grown in popularity significantly over the last several years. This is primarily due to the ease of use and the perceived high standard of service offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, as with any vehicle-oriented service, there is the potential for car accidents while on the road. The ride-share driver might cause an accident due to negligence, or an accident may happen due to the fault of another driver. In such a situation, determining who is at fault is important. If the ride-share driver caused the crash, is the driver or the ride-sharing company held legally responsible? These are important questions to consider if someone uses this type of transportation and is involved in an accident as a passenger.

How Does Ride-Sharing Work?

Ride-sharing services are entities that bring drivers and passengers together. Specifically, these services allow the rider to request transportation in real time. Once the user of a ride-sharing app requests a ride (typically from his or her phone), the nearest ride-share driver receives the user’s contact information and location, and proceeds to the user’s destination to provide transportation.

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Allegheny County personal injury lawyer

For many people, posting on social media is now a daily habit. They post and share videos, images, and comments talking about good news, bad news, and all sorts of events that are occurring in their lives. This is a harmless activity most of the time, but unfortunately, some people seem to have forgotten that social media posting is a public affair, not a private one. They share things they should not, which could put them in legal jeopardy. One such example of this is when a person posts comments or photos after they are involved in a car accident.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You

It can be surprising to see how people forget that social media is the stage for a public conversation. Even if you have set your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to private, what you say and do can still leak out. Further, what you post can create misconceptions that can be used against you in a legal proceeding.

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Allegheny County premises liability attorney

Premises liability civil lawsuits come about from injuries that were caused due to unsafe conditions on someone else's property or real estate. In other words, the owner or manager of a property failed to follow specific rules or guidelines, or their negligence led to another person being harmed. This can include things like unsafe working conditions at construction sites, accidents in industrial warehouses, or even a simple slip and fall in a grocery store. Whatever the case, individuals who are injured in such circumstances may be entitled to compensation. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to unsafe conditions at your workplace, on commercial property, at someone's home, or on public premises, follow these steps so you can recover what you deserve:

  1. Check Yourself for Injury. Following a slip and fall, some people may get up and dust themselves off immediately following the fall, downplaying the severity of their injuries. However, some injuries may present symptoms until later. If you have taken a nasty fall or a hit to the head or body, then it is advisable to seek medical attention.

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Allegheny County medical malpractice lawyer

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considering retraction of decades-old restraints on medical malpractice lawsuits. The decision to do so could make it easier for plaintiffs to sue their doctor if they feel negligence and wrongdoing were committed. Meanwhile, some say such a move would have catastrophic consequences and upend the system. 

Background of the Issue

In Pennsylvania during the 1990s and early 2000s, the issue of medical malpractice was hotly contested. Back then, the number of civil lawsuits filed against doctors was much higher than it is now. The reason for this was that state law allowed for lawsuits to be commenced anywhere the plaintiff or defendant had a personal or professional connection. The attorney for the plaintiff would typically select a district where they were most likely to get a favorable jury. However, many thought this practice was unfair to doctors, calling it "venue shopping," and claiming that it encouraged unnecessary lawsuits against medical practitioners.

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pittsburgh personal Injury lawyerThe ability to prove negligence is one of the most critical factors needed to win compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. It must be proven that the at-fault person had a particular duty of care to you and that they breached that duty. In other words, you have to prove that the party you want to sue acted negligently in some way and that you suffered substantial injuries as a direct result of that negligence. 

Examples of Negligence or Breach of Duty of Care

Car accidents are one of the most common bases for a personal injury lawsuit. Drivers have a duty of care to other people on the street to drive with reasonable care and obey traffic laws. If a pedestrian lawfully crosses a street on a green light in a designated crosswalk and a driver on the cross street runs a red light and strikes the pedestrian, the driver would be considered at fault. 

Similarly, a business owner has a duty of care to their customers to maintain their facilities in a reasonably safe condition. If a customer suffered a severe head injury because an improperly-secured shelf fell, the store owner would likely be held liable for the customer’s injuries because they had a duty of care to make sure that their premises were free of dangerous hazards.

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Wexford religious discrimination lawyerThe EEOC processed 20% more religious employment discrimination cases in 2017 than 2007, while total discrimination cases rose just 2% over the same 10-year period. As a result, employers have become more cautious in their handling of religion-based requests for accommodations and exceptions to long-standing workplace policies. Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act protects all aspects of religious observance, practice, and belief. 

Workplace Policies With Disparate Impact Based on Religion

Religious employment discrimination cases often involve workplace policies that have a disparate adverse impact on people of a particular religion. For example, suppose an employer requires workers to be able to work any day of the week. That policy would have a disparate impact on people whose religion prohibits working on a holy day. Similarly, a workplace policy that requires workers to be clean-shaven and to wear a uniform consisting of shorts and a short-sleeved shirt can have a disparate impact on men whose religion requires them to wear a beard and women whose religion requires modest dress.

Employer Accommodations Required for Religious Reasons

Suppose a retail chain requires staff to be available to work on weekends, their busiest time. The hiring manager, Bob, interviews a candidate named Sarah. During the interview, Bob explains the job requirements. Sarah asks that she not be scheduled to work from Friday afternoon through Saturday evening due to her religion. 

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Allegheny County work discrimination lawyer disparate impact“Disparate impact” by race means that an employment policy has a greater negative impact on people of a particular race, even if the employer did not intend the policy to be discriminatory and even if the policy does not appear obviously discriminatory on its face. You can file a claim for financial compensation if you have been terminated from your job or otherwise suffered race-based employment discrimination as the result of a workplace policy with disparate impact. 

Requirements to Claim Racial Discrimination By Disparate Impact 

In order to make a valid disparate-impact claim against an employer, several conditions must be met. First, you must have personally suffered harm as a result of the policy, such as being fired because you violated the policy.

Second, according to current court rulings, the basis of racial discrimination must be an unchangeable condition of your race, such as skin color or a medical condition that has been scientifically linked to your race. “Cultural expressions” of your race such as hairstyles and styles of dress do not currently qualify as race-based discrimination, although this could change in the future, because religious expressions have already been granted legal protection.

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Allegheny County work discrimination attorneyRacial discrimination in the workplace does not have to involve open hostility, derogatory remarks, and intentional acts in order to support a claim for damages. In fact, many cases have been won where an employer’s race-based discrimination was subtle and even unintentional. 

When racial discrimination occurs in a more subtle fashion, you may not even be sure whether you have a valid claim. Even after you file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and their investigation reveals some evidence of discriminatory practices, there is no guarantee that the EEOC will decide to prosecute your case. In such cases, you may need to engage a private attorney to help you collect damages.

What Are Some Signs of Subtle Racial Discrimination?

A supervisor or hiring manager may never utter a word against people of another race or intentionally make discriminatory decisions about hiring, promotion, or termination. However, they may still be perpetuating discriminatory practices.

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Allegheny County workplace discrimination lawyer EEOC claimWhen you file a workplace discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), this organization will investigate your complaint to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support your claim. If so, the EEOC will file charges against the employer and attempt to settle the case through its conciliation process. 

If the employer refuses to settle your case through conciliation, only then will the EEOC consider filing a federal court lawsuit against that employer. However, the EEOC is not required to pursue your case in court. In fact, the EEOC only pursues litigation in a small percentage of the cases where it finds sufficient evidence of discrimination and fails to resolve the case through conciliation. In making this determination, the EEOC considers factors such as the seriousness of the violation, the specific legal issues involved, and the extent to which a court ruling on the case would advance the agency’s wider efforts to reduce and prevent workplace discrimination. 

The Benefits of Engaging a Private Attorney for Your Pittsburgh Workplace Discrimination Case

You will find it valuable to consult a private attorney about your case even before you file a workplace discrimination complaint with the federal EEOC or the corresponding state agency, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). 

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Allegheny County EEOC claim lawyer discrimination compensationIf you have experienced employment discrimination because of your age, race, sex, or another attribute protected under the U.S. Civil Rights Act, you have the right to file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the EEOC determines that your claim of discrimination is valid, you may be eligible to receive substantial compensation for the harm that was done to you. The amount of compensation that you can receive depends on the nature of your case.

Intentional Sex-Based Wage Discrimination

If your claim is that your employer paid you less than other people in comparable positions due to your gender, your compensation will be in the form of back pay. If you were paid $10/hour, and workers of the other gender were paid $11/hour, and you worked at that job for 1,000 hours, you would be eligible for compensation in the amount of $1,000 ($1 per hour wage difference times the number of hours that you were underpaid).

When an employer’s sex-based discrimination is not just intentional but especially malicious, your compensation as described above could be doubled. This type of incremental compensation is termed “liquidated damages.”

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Allegheny County workplace race discrimination lawyerYou may feel that you have been treated in a negative or unfair manner at work because of your race, yet be unsure whether it rises to the level of illegal racial discrimination. It can be difficult to determine whether a single employer decision that appears to be racially biased is actually a violation of your rights under the federal and/or Pennsylvania state civil rights laws. 

Some employer decisions about your work terms or duties may not appear to be discriminatory on their face, but can be proven to be discriminatory when all employee records are reviewed. Some examples include:

  • Offering different work terms or conditions to one race than to others
  • Assigning duties or responsibilities based on an employee's race
  • Limiting promotion opportunities to those of a particular race

If you are unsure whether you have been discriminated against with regard to work terms, conditions, or duties, two helpful resources are guidelines published by the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and EEOC press releases about recently settled cases.

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Pittsburgh EEOC race discrimination claim attorneyGiven that racial discrimination by employers is prohibited nationwide by the U.S. Civil Rights Act, you may wonder why Pennsylvania has passed a virtually identical law at the state level. You may also wonder how the federal and state agencies work together to investigate race discrimination complaints without duplicating each other’s efforts. 

Federal vs. Pennsylvania State Laws on Race Discrimination

Federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race (and several other factors) by employers with 15 or more employees. This law established the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC), which is tasked with publishing regulations and guidelines to help employers understand and comply with the law, investigating and resolving discrimination complaints, and generally enforcing the law. 

Pennsylvania state law. The Pennsylvania Fair Employment Practice Act—since retitled to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA)—was originally enacted in 1955, nearly a decade before the federal Civil Rights Act. Like Title VII, the Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of race (and several other factors). 

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Pittsburgh employer racial discrimination attorneyIf you take a careful look around your workplace, you may honestly be able to say that you see no evidence of racial discrimination. However, not everyone in Pennsylvania can say that. Employer race discrimination continues to be surprisingly common in the state. 

In fact, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 1,195 race-based employment discrimination charges from Pennsylvania in 2017, and it has received a roughly similar number each year since 2011. Pennsylvania ranked seventh among the 50 states in race-based complaints in 2017. Texas had the largest number of charges (2,999), followed by Florida, Georgia, California, Illinois, and North Carolina. It should also be noted, however, that the EEOC found that 75% of all U.S. race-based charges were unsupported by the evidence. 

To provide an idea of what types of racial discrimination charges are still being filed against employers in Pennsylvania, here are two recent cases that appeared in the news in 2018:

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Wexford, PA racial discrimination lawyerVirtually all U.S. employers, regardless of size, have an employee handbook that clearly states a company policy against racial discrimination and harassment. Employees are typically required to sign a form stating that they have read and agree to these policies. Companies hold harassment awareness training sessions. Job postings state that the company is an Equal Opportunity Employer whose employment decisions “shall be made without regard to race, creed, color, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law.” All of these measures are meant to ensure that the employer complies with Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specifically prohibits racial discrimination and applies to all employers with 15 or more employees.  

However, racial discrimination and harassment persist in some companies and some geographic areas. Sometimes it is subtle or hidden, making you unsure whether you are justified in filing a complaint against your employer.

How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Discrimination Complaint?

Racial discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats workers of one race worse than those of another race. Some of the most common examples involve hiring, retention, or promotion actions that favor one race over another. Other examples include assigning certain job tasks disproportionately to people of one race or paying employees of one race less than other employees who do the same job.

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Pittsburgh workplace discrimination lawyersEvery citizen of the United States has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of age, skin color, ancestry, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics they may have. While no rule could possibly prevent every insult or instance of exclusion, there are laws in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace on the basis of certain personal characteristics. Sexual harassment—a form of sex-based employment discrimination—has been at the forefront of public consciousness for the last year or so, but other types of discrimination also occur every day throughout the country.

One of New York City’s best-known department stores is currently facing a lawsuit filed by eight former employees—all of whom are men and most of whom are older and black. The men say that Saks Fifth Avenue discriminated against them on the basis of age and race. They also claim that they were treated much differently than workers who were younger and white were treated.

A “Glass Ceiling”

The plaintiffs include four black men, two white men, and two Hispanic men. More than half of the men are over the age of 54. In their lawsuit, the men allege that black and Hispanic employees of Saks are restricted by a “glass ceiling” in place for people of color. They say that this was made evident in a variety of ways during the course of their employment. In general, the claimants allege that they were assigned to departments with low customer traffic so as to keep them “far removed from the department’s front entrance.” When the employees’ sales numbers lagged as a result, they were evaluated poorly. When they made sales goals anyway, the men said that managers found other ways to criticize their performance.

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Allegheny County sexual harassment lawyersThe office romance is the basis of numerous highly-successful TV shows and movies. For example, Leslie Knope nearly lost her position as city councilor after having a secret relationship with her boss on the hit show Parks and Recreation. Likewise, the show The Office centered largely around a relationship which forms between two co-workers. While things almost always work out for the best in TV relationships, the reality of office relationships is often much gloomier. Office romances can lead to accusations of sexual harassment and leave employees confused and uncomfortable.

The Close Quarters of Many Work Environments May Contribute to Office Romances

For many Americans, their job is their life’s passion. Many individuals spend upwards of 50-60 hours a week in close proximity to their co-workers. For many professionals, it can be difficult to spend a great deal of time with someone they enjoy and not develop romantic or sexual feelings for him or her. However, office romances can be risky. Sexual or romantic relationships between a boss and a subordinate are especially dangerous. A supervisor who has a relationship with a subordinate may be accused of quid pro quo sexual harassment. The subordinate may feel as those he or she has no choice but to consent to the relationship, even if this was not the intent of the supervisor. Situations like these can quickly develop into full-blown sexual harassment cases.

Check Your Employee Handbook for Information on Sexual Harassment Policies

Many businesses are now addressing their rules regarding office romances in print. If you are considering entering into a relationship with a co-worker, check to see what your employer’s policy is regarding these types of situations. Some businesses ask employees to disclose any office romances to human resources as a means of protecting both the company as well as the individuals in the relationship. Other businesses ban romantic office relationships outright.

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