Why the Sexual Harassment Scandal at Fox News Should Frighten Employees in North Carolina

If you need a North Carolina employment attorney, you probably aren’t thinking about the story of  Gretchen Carlson’s firing by Fox News and her lawsuit against the CEO. The story is well known by now: a news anchor in New York City says she was dismissed because she was sexually harassed by her boss, Roger Ailes, and she refused to go along with it. As many as 20 other women at FOX News tell of harassment by Ailes, including a woman who reported nearly 20 years of forced sex and “psychological torture” from Mr. Ailes.  No one would disagree that the harassment was terrible for the women involved.

North Carolina employees should take note, however: Gretchen Carlson’s firing and the reasons for it could easily have been swept under the rug. Ms. Carlson had an employment contract that allowed all disputes to be settled by forced arbitration. And North Carolina employees can be subject to forced arbitration too.

What is Forced Arbitration? Forced arbitration is a way to keep employees (and consumers) out of court. Some call it mandatory arbitration rather than forced, but arbitration is only mandatory because it is forced on an employee. Sometimes big companies stick the part of the contract that requires arbitration in the agreements that are signed at the beginning of employment. The requirement also could be written in a separate contract after the employment has begun. But the effect is the same:  forced arbitration is chosen by companies so that the legal process is changed if employees claim that they are discriminated against or harassed.

No Judge or Jury.  There is no judge and there is no jury when arbitration is forced on an employee. Arbitration can keep all evidence out of the public eye, because the employer can require that everything be kept secret that happens in the arbitration. Contrast that with a lawsuit, where every paper filed with the court is on view. The arbitrator who decides the case is often selected by the same company that is accused of doing something wrong and harmful.  The deck is stacked in favor of the employer.

Why is Forced Arbitration a bad thing?

  • Evidence and discovery can be limited: employees cannot find out about other employees who have suffered the same way they have
  • Companies can still choose to go to court – it is the employee that cannot
  • Employees’ awards after discrimination or harassment are often less than after court trials
  • Employees’ chances of winning are smaller than with a lawsuit
  • Sometimes employers have bad patterns of conduct that are kept secret by arbitration
  • Costs can be high when the employee has to pay a share of the arbitrator’s fee

The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution gives the right to trial by jury. But courts have often said that people and companies can decide to go to arbitration and the court will recognize the contract. When challenged, sometimes courts have decided to make arbitrations public, even if they are meant to be confidential in the contract.

Tia’s Story.  Think it is only news anchors and celebrities who have to worry about forced arbitration? Think again!  Take the story of an employee of Circuit City, the old electronics retailer.  Tia was harassed by her boss when she was in training to be a manager. The harassment was disgusting, including when the boss exposed his genitals to Tia. Some of the harassment was caught on tape. It was not until then when Circuit City fired him.

Tia filed a lawsuit. But even though the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission found in her favor, Tia’s case was thrown out of court because of the arbitration clause that was buried in her employment agreement.

Tia then went to arbitration because she had no choice. But as we know, Circuit City went out of business.   Tia’s case was over.

Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit is against Roger Ailes, and not her employer FOX News.  This may allow her to get into court. But it may not:  Ailes lawyers filed a motion to force Ms. Carlson back into arbitration.   You should be allowed to take your case to a judge and jury.  Your right to a jury trial ought to be fought for, just like any other constitutional right.

If you need an employment discrimination attorney or an employment rights attorney in North Carolina, call us.  Valerie Johnson and Leto Copeley are here to help.

Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC is a law firm focused on representing individuals and their family members who find themselves in circumstances that they never expected.  Their clients include those who have been injured on the job, on the road, and on the premises of businesses and public facilities.  They also help those whose employers have violated their legal rights.  For more on this firm, visit http://www.cjglawfirm.com.

Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Remains a Serious Safety Hazard for North Carolina Drivers

Across North Carolina, car accidents linked to reckless driving continues to increase. With 80% of U.S. drivers experiencing road rage while behind the wheel, it is safe to say measures must be taken in order to prevent and minimize injuries linked to aggressive drivers. Far too many preventable car accidents occur each year due to distracted, aggressive and negligent driving behaviors while behind the wheel.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, accidents linked to aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise:

  • Between 2011 and 2015, there were a reported total of 55,000 car accidents in North Carolina as a result of careless driving.
  • Accidents related to careless driving resulted in 1,401 fatalities in North Carolina between 2011 and 2015.
  • The AAA Carolina’s Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that 8 million U.S drivers experience extreme road rage.

Unfortunately, North Carolina is not the only state that deals with this issue. 78% of U.S drivers reported to being involved in at least one aggressive driving behavior in the past year. The most common aggressive driving behaviors include: abusing the car horn, knowingly tailgating other vehicles and yelling at other motorists.

Tiffany Wright, President of The AAA Carolina’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, reminds North Carolina drivers to always remain calm behind the wheel. Frustrations and aggressive driving can dramatically increase a motorist’s risk of being involved in a car accident.

At Daggett Shuler Law, Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina Personal Injury lawyers, we care about the safety of all North Carolina drivers. Please remember to remain calm on the roads at all times. Do not allow frustration to put yourself and others in a dangerous position on the road.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving an aggressive driver, call Daggett Shuler Law right away at 336-724-1234. When you call, you will speak with an experienced Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney absolutely FREE. We will review every detail of your accident at no cost and fight hard to protect your rights.

When you call Daggett Shuler, you will speak with an experienced Winston-Salem and Greensboro attorney at no cost to you. We will investigate every detail of your situation and fight hard to protect your rights. At Daggett Shuler Law, you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front and you owe us nothing unless we recover for you.


Daggett Shuler is a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured in accidents, workers hurt on the job and of people in need of Social Security Disability benefits.   For more information or for contact information for their Winston-Salem or Greensboro offices, visit www.daggettshulerlaw.com. 

How much insurance must business vehicles carry?

People in Cary, North Carolina, and the surrounding Raleigh metro area will probably know that, if they want to drive a car, they have to carry a minimum amount of insurance that will cover all or part of another person’s injuries. The minimum insurance requirement protects North Carolina citizens from negligent motorists by making sure that all drivers have some means of paying compensation should they cause an accident.

Unfortunately, these minimum limits are rarely enough to actually cover all losses in the event of a serious accident. Usually, a victim is left having to pursue the negligent driver directly or may be able to recover from his or her own insurance company if he or she purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

It may come as a surprise to people that commercial vehicles, including large dump trucks, delivery trucks, vans, and others are, generally speaking, subject to the exact same minimum limits as are North Carolina residents who use their private vehicles only for personal reasons.

There are some exceptions to this general rule. One of the most common exceptions is that haulers of certain types of materials and just about any commercial vehicle that transports goods across state lines will effectively need at least $750,000 in coverage, if not more. The federal government requires the extra coverage as a condition for receiving permission to transport materials subject to the regulation of the federal government.

After getting over the immediate aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident, a victim who needs to receive compensation for lost income and medical expenses should be made aware of the type and amount of insurance that the responsible commercial driver carries. The information could impact the victim’s overall case strategy.

This post was authored by The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. in Cary, North Carolina ~  Dependable & Aggressive Lawyers Serving All Of North Carolina.   Since 1994, injury victims in the Raleigh area have been able to count on The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. to pursue the compensation and benefits they deserve in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.  Whether you were injured in a car accident, on-the-job accident, dog bite, or as a result of a defective product, they will go to bat for the outcome you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney from their firm, please call  919-899-9852 or toll free at 877-320-1851. Their firm has been given the highest ratings for their legal skills and ethics, including being named a Super Lawyer, one of the Best Lawyers in America and one of the top trial lawyers in North Carolina.

OSHA reminds employers of summer temperature risks

Outdoor workers in North Carolina who do not have regular access to drinking water and shaded areas are at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is the message being pushed heavily by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in a campaign designed to cut down on the 2,630 American workers who developed a heat-related illness in 2014.

While workers who develop heat related illnesses are sometimes able to rejoin the workforce after a short period of rest, the consequences of heat stroke can be fatal. OSHA is urging employers to review their orientation and training programs and use resources like animated videos and illustrations to make improvements. The safety agency’s focus on training is a result of their investigations into heat-related incidents that have often involved workers with only a few days of experience.

Another potential hazard for outdoor workers during summer months comes from lightning. OSHA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a joint fact sheet detailing the risks posed by lightning during the summer months. Lightning kills about 50 people each year in the United States, and employers are urged to monitor weather conditions and forecasts frequently when their workers are exposed to the elements. The safety campaign highlights the unpredictable nature of lightning by pointing out that it can strike as far as 10 miles away from rainfall.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim and dealing with the claims process can sometimes be a frustrating experience for injured workers. This may be especially true if a claim is challenged by an employer or delayed for some reason. Attorneys with experience of workplace accident cases may assist injured workers with their claims, answer their questions about the potential benefits and advocate on their behalf during workers’ compensation hearings.

At the Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, each of their attorneys brings nearly 20 years of legal experience to people throughout Western North Carolina.  They focus their representation on the needs of people with problems involving Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation Claims, Social Security Disability, Criminal Defense, Traffic Violations and Family Law matters.  For more information, visit www.heltonlaw.com.   

What to Do If You Are Injured in an Uber Accident

Ridesharing services like Uber have become increasingly popular. Consumers find their services to be both convenient and cost-effective. Late last year, Uber reported that it had officially given its billionth ride. This includes many thousands in North Carolina.

Unfortunately, with that much activity, there has also been a rise in Uber accidents. If you have been seriously injured in an Uber accident, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Raleigh car accident lawyer for immediate legal assistance.

3 Things You Should Do After an Uber Accident

There are important steps to take if you have been injured in an accident as a passenger in an Uber, Lyft or other ridesharing vehicle. Specifically, if you find yourself in this situation, make sure to take the following actions.


  1. Seek medical assistance. After any car accident, all involved parties should first check to see if anyone needs emergency medical aid. However, even non-emergency car accident injuries still require professional medical attention. This is critical for two reasons. First, car accidents often cause delayed-onset injuries like soft-tissue damage and back injuries. Further, if you will be seeking legal compensation for your injuries, you will be best served by establishing valid medical documentation of your injuries immediately after your accident.
  2. Contact police. The appropriate law-enforcement authorities should be contacted after any significant North Carolina automobile accident. Even if you were simply a commercial passenger in an Uber, you will still have an interest in ensuring that the police report is accurate. Your witness statement should be included. Police reports can provide key evidence in Uber accident injury cases.
  3. Take photographs. Finally, photos are an extremely compelling form of accident evidence. It is best to take as many pictures as you can of the damage, the accident scene and your injuries. Your lawyer will be able to review this evidence in order to help build your case in the future, should an injury claim become necessary.

Make Sure to Report the Uber Accident

Beyond this, it is imperative that you report your Uber accident to the company. Failure to report your Uber accident in a timely manner could seriously harm your ability to recover full compensation.

Accidents can be reported by contacting Uber’s support team through the smartphone application and through the company’s website. If you have any trouble reporting your accident to Uber, or any trouble getting adequate communication from the company, call an experienced car accident lawyer immediately.

Understanding Uber’s Insurance Policy

An Uber passenger injury is covered by the company’s commercial insurance policy. This policy provides up to $1 million of liability coverage per traffic incident. Other Uber services such as Uber Black and Uber Taxi are required to carry their own commercial insurance policies that comply with North Carolina state law.

It is critical that injured Uber passengers are able to recover compensation for the full extent of their damages. Unfortunately, insurers are often extremely reluctant to offer victims the compensation they deserve. It may be necessary to bring an Uber accident lawsuit after your accident.

If you have been injured in a North Carolina Uber accident, the car accident lawyers at Younce & Vtipil, P.A. can help. Based in Raleigh, our lawyers have extensive experience providing compassionate legal representation aimed at getting results for injured people. To learn more about what the firm can do for you, please contact us today to set up your free personal injury consultation.

Younce & Vtipil is dedicated to representing individuals and families of all walks of life in North Carolina. Their attorneys handle a variety of claims, including automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents, workers’ compensation injuries, Social Security disability claims, wrongful death cases, harmful drug injuries, slip and fall injuries, and product liability claims, such as asbestos. For more information, visit www.attorneync.com.  



Eight Essential Rules to Keep Kids out of Danger in Public This Summer

Summer is a time for families to enjoy spending time with each other and relax.  Taking a little time to develop some family rules will ensure that you and your children have fun and stay safe this summer.  Here are some guidelines and ideas that you can follow.

When attending events with small children and/or multiple children, remember that safety is the number one priority.  While we all want our children to have fun, if they cannot have fun safely it is not worth the risk.  It is important to plan ahead and make sure that there are enough parents actively paying attention to children at all times.  As we all know, children get very excited and have a lot of energy and strength.  It only takes a second for a child to be put at risk unintentionally.

What to Teach Them

Safety Skills.  It is important to teach safety skills to children of all ages to use in public places.  Make a fun game out of some safety skills to help keep their attention such as the Red-Light-Green-Light Game and Stop, Look, and Listen.  If you are in public it is a way to get their attention quickly.  Asking your child to put their hand on your car in a specific spot, or on your pocket can help keep them in place when you are unloading another child or items.

Stay with Parents.  Most children love to run.  For younger children it is good to hold their hand, put them in a stroller or wagon, or you could use the always controversial child safety harness.  One thing to remember when they are in a stroller is that they more than likely will not stay there.  If you are at the zoo or an exhibit of some type, you will need to have the capacity to take them in and out of the stroller to see things while you are also watching other kids.

Stay Away from Strangers.  Teaching them the proper reactions if someone they do not know shows a special interest or tries to take them somewhere can help you and others to react quickly and appropriately to what is happening.  And let’s be honest, we all would rather a child overreact than underreact in a situation like that.

The “Safe” People to Ask for help.  Teaching them that police officers, lifeguards, and maybe other mothers with children are safe people to ask for help is always a good idea.  Also identifying a meeting spot for older children if you do lose each other can be helpful.  Keeping proper identification on your children is also important.  There are a lot of different ways to do this ranging from writing their information on a piece of paper and putting it in their pocket to having an  ID bracelet.  Teach them your phone number so they can contact you.

Treat Other Children with Respect.  Helping children to understand that it is not okay to put another child at risk and to let a parent know if another child is hurting them can help parents to stop a bad situation before it gets worse.

Rules for YOU!

Pay Attention/Stay Alert

Parents and caregivers need to pay attention just like we ask our children to pay attention.  If something seems suspicious, remove yourself from the situation, and let the appropriate people know about it.  If there are too many people at an event to allow a child to be watched safely, does it make sense to stay there?  No one likes to disappoint children but sometimes you need to do it to stay safe.

Avoid using alcohol and/or drugs while you have your children in your care, even if they are in bed.   Anything that dulls your senses will keep you from using good judgment and can be a risk to you and your family.

Keep Your Common Sense

Just because the zoo or amusement park didn’t put up a protective barrier does not mean the situation can’t be dangerous. Look around and think about what could go wrong.  Don’t dangle young children anywhere except over a mattress or the sofa.

While everyone loves having family pictures, take them safely.  Sometimes taking a picture can become a distraction.  In today’s digital age it is easy to focus more on taking pictures, social media, and email than just enjoying the moments with our children.  Isn’t that really what they want anyway, time with family and time to play?

Team up with Others

Using the buddy system can help both parents and children.   If you go to the movies, park, or zoo it is always good to have another parent or caregiver with you to help watch the kids when you need to pay attention to one child, unload the car, or use the restroom.  It is also good to have children stick together if they are in a crowded environment, especially with older children who may not require a parent to watch every minute.  While the vast majority of people who prey on children are not strangers, there are people on the watch for mothers who are distracted because they are loading the car or taking care of their kids.

Following these guidelines can help your family to have a fun time this summer in a safe environment.


If you have been seriously injured in an accident, consult the board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys at Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC.  Valerie Johnson and Leto Copeley are here to help you. Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC is a law firm focused on representing individuals and their family members who find themselves in circumstances that they never expected.  Their clients include those who have been injured on the job, on the road, and on the premises of businesses and public facilities.  They also help those whose employers have violated their legal rights.  For more on this firm, visit http://www.cjglawfirm.com.

National Click It Or Ticket Campaign Focuses on Improving Seat Belt Usage

Nationwide, seat belt use has been growing, but lack of proper seat belt safety remains a very serious public safety issue according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Even if it’s just for a short drive around the block, always make sure you fasten your seat belt, as well as the seat belt of any other passengers in your vehicle. Car accidents can happen without warning and in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to make sure that you are prepared.

From Monday, 5/23 to Sunday, 6/5, police in North Carolina and across the country will be stepping up enforcement of seat belt safety. This initiative is part of the annual Click It or Ticket Campaign, and is aimed at reducing the number of injuries and fatalities that occur when vehicle occupants do not buckle up.

Seat belts remain the most effective way to avoid serious or fatal injuries in the event of a car accident. According to the CDC, using a seat belt reduces your risk of serious crash related injuries or death by about 50%. Unfortunately, seat belt non-use is an especially dangerous problem for younger, inexperienced drivers.

Here are some troubling statistics about seat belt safety:

  • 58% of back seat passengers that were fatally injured in vehicle crashes in 2014 were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, more than 50% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
  • In North Carolina, 415 people that were not wearing a seat belt were killed in traffic accidents last year.

Click here to read more about the Click It or Ticket Campaign and seat belt safety.

At Daggett Shuler Law, Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina Personal Injury lawyers, we care deeply about the safety of you and your family. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident that was not your fault, call Daggett Shuler Law at 336-724-1234. When you call, you will speak with an experienced, caring Winston-Salem and Greensboro Car Accident attorney absolutely FREE.

We will investigate every detail of your accident at no cost to you and fight hard to secure the maximum recovery you deserve. At Daggett Shuler, you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.

Daggett Shuler is a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured in accidents, workers hurt on the job and of people in need of Social Security Disability benefits.   For more information or for contact information for their Winston-Salem or Greensboro offices, visit www.daggettshulerlaw.com.