Some Employers Now Offering Pet Bereavement Leave For Grieving Owners
Sep30

Some Employers Now Offering Pet Bereavement Leave For Grieving Owners

For many of us, our pets are an integral part of our family. The U.S. owns an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs and 74 to 96 million cats in homes across the nation. Consequently, it’s surprising that, when our furry friends pass away, many employers and even our human colleagues fail to see the significant impact the loss can have on our lives. Luckily, that attitude is starting to change, slowly but surely. Some employers are now offering pet bereavement leave for grieving owners who have recently lost their beloved animals. Bereavement leave can offer much-needed comfort during an emotionally devastating time for many owners. Although it’s still a relatively new practice, adding the option of pet bereavement leave shows employees that their company cares about their well-being. It can also be a valuable recruitment tool for job candidates. Human resource experts are already seeing the positive effects of offering pet bereavement leave. Even if employees never have to use it, it shows the employer supports the worker during a time of need. Among the companies who have recently added pet bereavement leave are VMware, Maxwell Health, Trupanion, and Klimpton Hotel Group. In addition, popular ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s has stated on previous occasions that they would allow their employees to receive time off for a pet’s death if they needed it. Pets are like surrogate children for many pet parents, so being allowed to take time off to grieve their passing is welcome validation for many people. When a human family member dies, employees are allowed to take time off. Most pet parents feel the same policies should apply to their pet’s death. In fact, a 2009 study showed that nearly one-third of pet owners dealing with their pet’s death grieved for more than six months. Although the bereavement time off for a pet’s death would be rather brief in comparison, having the option can be of great solace for many. Despite the fact that the number of employers who currently offer pet bereavement leave are few and far between, many pet owners would greatly benefit from their employers implementing this practice in the future. Our love for and connection with our animals is never questioned, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be allowed to mourn them properly, as we would with any other beloved member of the...

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Hospitalized Chipotle Customer Settles Foodborne Illness Lawsuit, Asks for More Burritos
Sep28

Hospitalized Chipotle Customer Settles Foodborne Illness Lawsuit, Asks for More Burritos

Each year, one out of six Americans gets ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and roughly 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. Chances are that those who survive avoid the food, restaurant, or brand that made them sick for the rest of their lives. Surprisingly, that is not the case for one woman who got dangerously ill after dining at Chipotle last year. The 19-year-old Oregon woman was not about to let a little E. Coli get in the way of her love for burritos. More than 500 people became ill last year during a chain of foodborne disease outbreaks in Chipotle restaurants across the country. Around 100 of those victims have reached financial settlements with the company to pay off hospital bills and other damages. One consumer, though, told her personal injury lawyer, Bill Marler, that she wanted more than cash. She wanted more Chipotle. According to Marler, his client racked up about $40,000 in medical bills, but even while hospitalized with E. Coli, her love for Chipotle never wavered. As part of her settlement, the restaurant chain agreed to send her about three dozen free burrito coupons. “I’ve been doing food poisoning cases since 1993,” said Marler. “I have never had a client ask for that.” The attorney said he was shocked by the request, and told Business Insider that the 19-year-old wasn’t his only client who couldn’t give up their favorite Mexican chain even after being hospitalized with a serious illness. “More than just a few of them were pretty big fans of Chipotle,” he said. “In fact, a couple of them, during their case, told me they had gone back to Chipotle – which I thought was a little strange.” Regardless of a few consumers’ unconditional love for their food, Chipotle has had a hard time bouncing back from the food poisoning epidemic. They still face a federal criminal investigation into their food-safety measures as well as a civil lawsuit over allegations that they misled their...

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Teen Sues Parents For Posting Embarrassing Photos on Social Media
Sep27

Teen Sues Parents For Posting Embarrassing Photos on Social Media

Embarrassing family photos aren’t sequestered in home photo albums anymore. Instead, they can easily be shared by doting parents on social media. In fact, 41% of parents say they use social media to help them remember and preserve family photos and videos. Even when the photos might make you cringe, these posts are typically harmless (and are easy to remove from your profile). But one Austrian teen is now suing her parents for posting humiliating childhood photos on Facebook without her consent. The photos include depictions of diaper changes, potty training, and nude baby pictures. Her father claims ownership of the photos and therefore has refused to remove them from Facebook. The law is catching up in terms of criminalizing certain photo-based activities, like the legal measures taken against “revenge porn.” These posts involve former boyfriends and girlfriends who post nude photos of their exes. Such practices are now illegal in California. But if the photo isn’t pornographic or explicit in nature, the legal actions that can be taken are much more limited. In order to prove cyber exploitation in a court of law, you have to prove invasion of privacy, defamation, or that the photo was used for commercial practices without consent. In this case, invasion of privacy could be claimed, but chances of winning that case in the U.S. would be slim. Without proof of malicious intent or that the post was used to provoke sexual activity, this case wouldn’t get very far in a U.S. court of law. However, the legal system in Austria differs quite a bit from that in the United States. In the U.S., the First Amendment and freedom of speech laws must be considered. Facebook does uphold community standards for the platform, and offensive photos can be flagged by the social network. But parents have been flagged for innocent photos before, and those decisions have led to parental outrage and community backlash. Although there are laws protecting minors that allow them to remove inappropriate online content, the embarrassment they experience from their parents will continue to impact them for years to...

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Ford Announces Plans to Move All Small Car Production to Mexico
Sep19

Ford Announces Plans to Move All Small Car Production to Mexico

Ford Motor Company announced last week that it will be sending all of its small car production operations to factories in Mexico by 2018 in an effort to decrease costs and maximize efficiency. “Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” Ford CEO Mark Fields said at an investor conference. The announcement has sparked concern about the number of jobs available in the auto industry from some, including Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, who was campaigning in Flint, Michigan, on the day of Ford’s disclosure. “We shouldn’t allow it to happen. They’ll make their cars, they’ll employ thousands of people not from this country and they’ll sell their car across the border,” Trump said. “When we send our jobs out of Michigan, we’re also sending our tax base.” The announcement was not unexpected, though, as both Ford and other auto manufacturers around the world have increasingly turned to Mexico for automobile production. Last year, Ford said that it planned to move production of its Focus and C-Max models out of Michigan. Other companies such as General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, and Volkswagen all have current plans to open or expand plants in Mexico, where factory exports overall have increased 13% since 2012. Ford alleges that existing auto plants in the U.S. will shift their focus to building larger-model cars such as pickup trucks and SUVs, which are now more popular among American consumers than small cars. However, UAW President Dennis Williams expressed concern over the growing outsourcing trends. “There is no reason, mathematically, to go ahead and run to countries like Mexico, Thailand and Taiwan,” Williams has said previously. “We all recognize there is a huge problem in Mexico. So we have to address it as a nation. The UAW cannot do it alone. We are not...

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Photo From Ohio Police Reveals the Severity of America’s Heroin Problem
Sep15

Photo From Ohio Police Reveals the Severity of America’s Heroin Problem

Two adults were arrested during the first week of September for driving out of control and eventually skidding to a stop as a school bus was dropping off children in East Liverpool, Ohio. The photo police took at the scene has since gone viral. The driver, 47-year-old James Acord, and his passenger, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, were both suspected to be high on heroin. Police arrived on the scene and found both adults passed out in the front seats of the vehicle. When an officer attempted to turn the car off, they saw a child in the back seat of the car. In the photo, the two adults can be seen in the front seats, while the child sits quietly in the back. Police Chief John Lane suspects that this isn’t the first time the four-year-old boy has been put in danger by his parent’s addiction. “I imagine that little kid that’s in that car, he’s probably seen that at home probably dozens of times where they’re passed out with needles in their arms,” he said. Unfortunately, this is a reality for countless children. Approximately 5.21 million mothers and 214,000 fathers identify as stay-at-home parents, but the number of those parents with drug addiction is less clear. This isn’t the first incidence of a public overdose, either. In fact, Ohio officials reported at least 24 heroin overdoses in Akron alone, with over 112 deaths across the state so far in 2016. People aren’t getting high in privacy either. Certain public places are associated with heroin use, but the most recent victims of this drug are American libraries. In suburban Chicago, a 47-year-old man’s body was found three days after he had died in a library restroom from an accidental heroin overdose. “On both a personal and a professional level, we were all very shocked and of course worried about how this could happen in our spaces,” said executive director David Seleb, who fired the security company responsible for clearing the library before closing. All over the country, libraries are being monitored by police officers making rounds and social workers setting up shop. Library officials believe that by placing officers and social workers in this environment, citizens will be more aware of their actions and the people around them. “Anonymity allows people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise in public places,” said Josie Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library in Michigan, “and if you can take away anonymity, you can help change behavior.” Unfortunately, the behavior of the Ohio boy’s parents didn’t change. He was taken into the protective custody of children’s services after his parents were admitted...

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