Legal Issues

Recent articles

WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIMS - What you should know about COVID claims, drugs in the work place and how to avoid retaliation claims. 

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel  

First the big question. Is it Workers’ Compensation, workers’ comp, work comp, or workman’s’ comp? OK, that may not be the biggest question, and in fact it does go by a lot of names. Basically, workers’ compensation is a state mandated system that is meant to protect employees and employers (yes - it was really designed to help employers too).

  • It offers protection to employees by providing medical expenses and lost wages for employees hurt on the job.
  • It protects employers by providing coverage if an employee sues for injuries.

Each state regulates its own workers’ comp program, and sets rates based on various preset factors such as type of industry as well as a business’s claim history or experience rating. And of all the basics of workers’ comp, it is important to understand that workers’ comp is a no-fault system. This means that if someone is injured in the ‘course and scope of employment’ then workers’ comp insurance will cover the claim. Yes - this means that even if someone is negligent - it is still covered. Basically. But there are always exceptions, and this article looks at a few specific areas to provide a more detailed understanding. It may not cover everything - but it will give your business some understanding on a few areas that may affect you, especially in the wake of COVID.

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COVID-19 VACCINE - How to handle the vaccine in the workplace

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

It’s 2021 and we need some good news. So how is this for a great headline, "'COVID-19 Vaccine Ready for Millions!” Pretty good stuff! Now how about the next headline, “Employer Forces Employee To Get Vaccine Or You're Fired!” Seems to be a little less positive. Funeral homes and death care employees have been listed in some states as approved to get the vaccine. Now is the time to learn the facts and protect your business.

In his new article, Poul Lemasters, NCBVA legal counsel, brings urgent legal advice regarding handling the COVID-19 vaccine at work:

  • What can an employer do? Can employers mandate the vaccine when safety is a concern?
  • What if an employer refuses? What if you don’t mandate but other employees demand it?
  • What happens if an employer mandates but the employee says no - can I fire them?
  • What if I offer the vaccine and someone gets sick - is that a worker’s compensation claim?

In this issue you will learn how to handle the vaccine in the workplace - including all the liability you have to consider no matter what you choose. Don’t worry, overall this is great place to be, but it doesn’t mean you can just ignore the questions.

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HIRING - Best Practices & Do's and Don'ts

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

We hear you – you’re scrambling to get people interviewed, hired, and on-boarded as fast as possible. You need vault men, painters, office admin, pourers, and grave diggers. See below for Poul Lemasters latest NCBVA article and get legal advice on the Do's and Don'ts of hiring new employees.

The article covers:

  • how to maintain a legal hiring process
  • how to conduct a safe interview
  • questions you can/can't ask
  • what can a job description actually include
  • how to check references within legal boundaries
  • how to do post-interview follow-up and on-boarding

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EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS - Best Practices & the 10 Key Items They Should Include

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

Have your eyes already glazed over? Employee handbooks are far from exciting - but they are a crucial part of any business. Do you have one?

If you don’t have one - should you? Do you know that an out-of-date handbook can be be as much of a liability as not having one at all? Do you have the key elements of an employee manual? Let’s ask the really ground breaking question - When is the last time you read and reviewed your employee handbook?

If you need any answers to these questions - then this next article and Q&A conference call are for you. Get ready for the 10 key elements of any employee handbook - along with the reasons you should have one in the first place!

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SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE WORKPLACE - The Truth About What Employers Should Know About Social Media

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

You know the old story. An employee posts some bad comments about his boss. Boss fires employee. Employee sues for wrongful termination. Employee wins.

Yup - you read that right. You, the employer may not be able to fire someone just because they say some negative stuff about you on social media.

  • So what can you do when it comes social media?
  • Do you have a policy? Are you allowed to have a policy?
  • And forget about employees - what about consumers talking about you on social media outlets: What can you do there?

Make sure you know the ins and outs of social media and how it effects your business.

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DISINTERMENT - Who is in charge?

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

How many disinterments have you participated in over the years? The number is probably more than zero - and in today’s world, it seems disinterments are becoming more common.

So who is responsible? Funeral home? Cemetery? Vault company? Depending on what the disinterment authorization states - oh wait - you’ve never seen or used one of those? I can promise that if you haven’t used a release or authorization, you have never been protected. 

As someone that is involved in the disinterment process, you need to know and understand the process. Such as:

  • What are the state laws for disinterment? 
  • Can the cemetery allow disinterment without any family? 
  • Who is responsible for the vault? 

Make sure you know the risks - and more importantly - the process of how to handle disinterments.

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GRAVESIDE LIABILITY - How To Avoid Grave Cemetery Problems: A Primer On A Few Cemetery Liability Issues

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

While death may be the most common theme among cemeteries, the truth is that accidents happen at the cemetery too. The problem is that many professionals don’t really think about the potential accidents; and even if they think about the accidents, they don’t think about how or why they may be responsible. This article is a look into a few ‘accidents’ that, unfortunately, do occur at the cemetery.  The focus will be to identify the potential accident; understand who is responsible (aka liable); and then share ways to avoid the problem. In no way is this meant to solve every potential accident, but hopefully this article will provide the framework to help in these accidents, as well as others.

  • The tents blow away!
  • Someone falls in the grave!
  • We need to open that casket!
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MARIJUANA IN THE WORKPLACE - 5 Issues that are ‘High’ on the List of Things to Know

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

The times they are a changing! What was once banned, illegal, and thought by some as immoral is now legal and becoming one of the largest businesses in the US. Yes, marijuana is now the in thing. The problem is that despite the legal status changing in many states, many businesses still have drug-free workplaces.

  • What can a business do?
  • Is it time to throw in the towel and just let it all happen?
  • Or is there a path to float down that may allow proper oversight by an employer on this topic?

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THE OSHA SILICA DUST STANDARDS - Understanding this dusty regulation

An article by Poul Lemasters, NCBVA Legal Counsel

In case you haven’t heard - the OSHA Silica Standard went into effect in June of 2016, and all general industry business (like a vault company) have until June 2018 to be compliant.

  • Are you ready?
  • Have you taken the steps required under the new OSHA rule?
  • Do you even know what you need to do to start?

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