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Everything posted by FormerLegalSecy

  1. Yes, another good question. I'm not making this up... Madison Rastafarian church founders arrested once again - WISC https://www.channel3000.com/news/madison-rastafarian-church . . .
  2. In our state's capital city the police recently executed a search warrant, raided an establishment, and arrested 2 people for possession and distribution of marijuana. The place that was raided was the Lion of Judah Rastafarian Church, which considers marijuana to be a sacrament. Since the Lion of Judah Church was only founded a few months ago, or at least that branch of it at that particular location, a lot of people, apparently including the police, think it is just an excuse for a drug house. Setting that aside for a moment... What court is qualified to judge whether something is or is not a church? What would count as evidence for & against? My understanding is that courts tend to accept that anything claiming to be a church is a church (and some people don't like the tax implications of that, but the IRS also does not like to get involved in determining what is or isn't a church either). I guess another question is, when does religious practice trump criminal law (if ever)? And if it doesn't, what would prevent states from criminalizing the religious practices of any religion they would prefer not exist in their state? Inquiring minds want to know.
  3. Good news! Apparently my boss went to bat for me and on Friday they approved the Train travel. In return, I promised to work on overcoming my fear of flying so this will not continue to be a problem every time it comes up. Thanks to everybody for all the good feedback & suggestions & encouragement to keep trying to find a way to overcome it.
  4. Okay, well, it might not be quite that easy. I actually did try taking a fear of flying class at our local airport a couple of years ago. I parked the car at the airport and as I was walking up the sidewalk of the main entrance to go to the class I threw up, barely made it to a trash can to avoid puking all over the sidewalk. I wasn't sick before that, or after that, but I did turn around & go home instead of going to the class. The thing is, I do pick up my husband at the airport all the time (he flies pretty often for his job) and that doesn't seem to bother me. The other thing is, I used to be able to fly and it didn't used to bother me either. I don't even have any idea when I got this way or why - nothing bad happened to me on an airplane, that I remember anyway. Its embarrassing. Ugh.
  5. Thank you both. This is helpful. Long term plan: I think I will look for treatment for fear of flying. I'd really rather get over it. (Will have to check if our health insurance covers that kind of treatment...) Short term: I'll talk to my boss, tell him I'm getting a train ticket, & sign up for Vacation time for the time I will be on the Train. I will pay the $12 more that the train ticket costs than a plane ticket would. I know he doesn't want to get in an argument with the Audit folks, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't formally discipline me for doing that (I will ask him to make sure). I don't want to put him in a difficult position. But he also knows that even with some health issues I've had in the past year - including 6 weeks of FMLA - I'm still the top performer in the department ... by a lot. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to fire me or hurt my career over a Train ticket. The thing that's kind of ironic is that I've had several consulting firms that have tried to pirate me away from my current job recently. Let's just say that they offered pretty nice compensation packages compared to my paltry civil service salary. I didn't even consider them because I would have had to fly … but if I really can overcome my fear of flying, who knows....
  6. I hope this is an easy question. Can my employer, which is a state agency (so I'm not going to name the State), force me to fly for work? I wasn't always afraid of flying but somehow I seem to have developed a fear of it. The last time I had to fly for work was about 5 years ago and it was horrible. I had a panic attack that lasted the entire 4-hour flight each way, and since then I have not gone anywhere near an airport. The few times I've had to travel out of state for work since then I've always managed to come up with some excuse for either driving or taking the train. I know it is not rational to be afraid of flying, and it is actually pretty embarrassing. But I can't help it. I have an upcoming trip and our travel auditor said "no" to the train & to driving ("does not conform to policy"). I offered to take vacation days for the travel time via train but did ask them to pay for the ticket. They said No and told me to get a plane ticket. My boss is okay with me traveling via train but the travel auditor isn't. Can they really tell me I have to fly?
  7. Thank you adjusterjack. This is very helpful info and much appreciated.
  8. Well, thanks everybody. I think my policy is supposed to be easy to read ("plain language") but it is still hard to read -- and reading contracts is what I do for a living these days. It has "underinsured motorist" coverage which is separate from the "uninsured" motorist coverage. This incident does not qualify for coverage under the "underinsured" motorist coverage though. It only lists "bodily injury" as covered by the "Uninsured motorist" coverage so I think that is my answer, although it has some mystifying references in that section to not covering bodily injury or property damage due to nuclear war which makes it appear as though under some other circumstances property damage might be covered. (If I were redlining this contract at work I would flag that as "confusing" and seek clarification.) At any rate, it doesn't look like it intends to cover property damage under the uninsured motorist coverage so I need to let them know whether I want to cover it under my collision coverage & pay the $500 deductible, in which case they want to have an adjuster inspect it, or whether I just want to get repair estimates outside of my collision coverage and handle it without putting in an insurance claim at all. Apparently because it is a 5-year old car they seem to think that it may have depreciated so much that I might not have much of a claim after the deductible is paid. That is a real drag because I take meticulous care of it and only have one more car payment left on it, at which time I was hoping to trade it in & get a new vehicle. But I think the trade-in value of it is reduced by this damage so I will either pay (possibly more than the insurance company thinks I should...) to completely eliminate all traces of damage in order to preserve its trade-in value, or else get the less expensive repairs that my insurance company seems to think appropriate for a 5-year old car and take the hit on the trade-in value . Grr.
  9. My vehicle was parked in a hotel parking lot. I heard a lot of back-up alarm BEEP-BEEP-BEEPing at 11:30 at night & thought that was odd for that time of the day so I got up and looked out the window. I saw a much-too-big truck for the corner it was trying to navigate going back and forth and back and forth to try to get around a much too tight corner. My car was parked in the end stall & looked like it was going to get creamed. I started pulling on shoes and street clothes so I could run out and see whether I could somehow rescue my car or do anything else to help avoid this collision that was about to happen. But before I got out the door of the hotel, the truck driver gave up trying not to hit my car & just crunched it & dragged it a few feet & kept going. Silly me, I thought the driver would immediately go to the hotel office to try to locate the owner of the vehicle they just clobbered. So I called the front desk & said if a truck driver comes in trying to find the owner of the vehicle they just hit, it's my car. The front desk said they didn't know anything about it and no truck fitting that description was listed for a registered guest but they could give me the non-emergency number for the police so I could call them if I wanted to. Which I did. The sheriff's office did send an officer out who was very nice and all, but he made it really clear that he was not going to investigate this crash any further. I had taken photos with my phone of tire tracks (in the snow) and parts laying on the ground, photos of the damage, etc., but they didn't want any of those. The officer said the driver was "probably lost" and undoubtedly "long gone" by now and said my police report would be available to retrieve on line in 10-15 business days. So then I went to my car insurance company's web site, which wants customers to file initial insurance claims on its website, which I did. I filed it under "Collision" which is what I figured it was, but later I went on the Internet and read that I would be better off filing it as a property damage claim under my uninsured motorist coverage. Is that true? How do I know they are uninsured if I don't know who they are? My collision insurance has a $500 deductible (I know, that was my choice) but I'd really rather not be out $500 bucks just because some chicken livered truck driver decided not to do the right thing and identify themselves as the driver that hit my car. Any other ideas or suggestions or options I have here? I don't want to hire a private accident investigator either, which I'm guessing would likely cost more than the $500 deductible. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  10. A relative of mine was brought to a company's main HQ for a 2-day job interview in KANSAS and the prospective employer put her up overnight in a hotel. While she was in the shower the morning of the 2nd day she said a sudden burst of boiling hot water came out of the shower nozzle with no warning. She had already been in the shower for at least 5 minutes and the water had not been anywhere near that hot up until then. She had already washed her hair and had put conditioner in it. She stood under the shower nozzle to rinse the conditioner out and a sudden burst of boiling hot water instantly scalded the whole top of her head. She said she inadvertently screamed and jumped backwards and then scrambled out of the shower. She stood there a little stunned and in pain for a few minutes & then reached in and turned off the shower. She says she doesn't remember whether it was still scalding hot when she reached in to turn it off or not. She says she was crying and almost kind of in shock. She said it was hard to think straight, but her main thought was that she couldn't be late for day 2 of the job interview. She got dressed and checked out and went to the scheduled breakfast meeting with wet hair and a burned scalp but she didn't say anything about the shower incident because she didn't want to "ruin her interview." I asked if she notified the hotel and she said no because the company that was interviewing her was paying the bill and she didn't want to make any trouble. (This makes me wonder if anyone else got hurt by the malfunctioning shower, or might get hurt in the future because the hotel still might not realize it's malfunctioning.) I saw her today and there is a huge blister that covers most of the top of her head. You can't see it without looking through her hair because she has long hair. She says it still hurts. I asked if she has been to a dr. and she said no because she can't afford it, and she doesn't have a regular dr. anyway. She said she can't afford to go to urgent care, and claims she doesn't need a dr. I disagree. I think she needs to see a dr. and the hotel ought to pay the bill for whatever medical care she might need. She says it is too late now anyway, and nobody will believe it happened at the hotel because she didn't say anything to anybody when it happened. I told her I would pay her dr. bill if the hotel doesn't, but I think she needs to see a dr. either way. It doesn't look good and she is still in pain. For all I know it might get infected or cause all her hair fall out where the blister is or something, which is the whole top of her head. Is she right that it is too late now to report it and submit her medical bills to the hotel? She still doesn't want to say anything to the hotel because she hasn't heard back about the job interview yet, and she doesn't want to do anything that might hurt her chances of getting the job. I think she is also afraid she might get in trouble for not having health insurance.
  11. I'm sorry to hear about your sister and your other sister's friend, Tax. I don't really know much about Lyme Disease but I'm learning more about it now. My dr mentioned that there are a couple of ongoing clinical trials for people who've already been treated but still have symptoms. I am being treated as an outpatient at a research and teaching hospital so I had asked about clinical trials. I'm hoping I won't ever be eligible for them (treated but still have symptoms) but maybe your sister and your other sister's friend should ask about that? They have my sympathy, it is definitely no fun.
  12. Follow-up: When I had a spinal tap they discovered that my spinal fluid was infected with Lyme Disease. Then they found heart and kidney abnormalities consistent with Late Lyme Disease. So I am starting on 3-4 weeks of IV antibiotics (gee, happy holidays) and working from home part time. So much for keeping my personal health issues private. At least I have good health insurance and I can have the IV treatment at home. They don't know if Lyme Disease is what caused all my symptoms or not, but the Lyme Disease needs to be treated either way, and the neuro thinks there is a good chance that may do the trick. I hope so.
  13. Thank you Tax. You are of course right. I suspect you are a very good lawyer because you have a way of explaining things so that even if the listener doesn't want to agree with you it's hard to deny that what you are saying makes sense.
  14. Okay, thank you everybody. It is embarrassing to even write about this here. My main symptom is that sometimes my legs feel abnormally heavy like as if they are 100 lb rocks instead of legs, and sometimes gripping things when I have to squeeze hard to do it is a challenge (like using a manual can opener). But those are mostly internal feelings, not something others would notice outwardly unless they were really watching me, which it often seems like they are. Yes, when my legs feel like 100 lb concrete blocks I change my routine a little. Like if I have to walk around the office or the building picking up documents or mail or something I plan my route before I go so that I only have to get up and walk around once instead of several times, and I plan the shortest route with the least steps before I do it. When I schedule meetings I schedule them closer to my office instead of on a different floor or in a different building. I come in early so that I can park as close as possible to the building instead of a long way away. Sometimes when I stand up it takes an extra couple of seconds to make sure I have my balance and am mentally prepared to put the extra effort into each step because if I just jump up and don't think about it ahead of time that makes me more likely to trip or stumble. Honestly, I know I'm doing these things but unless somebody was particularly eyeballing me trying to "catch" me doing them I don't think anyone would notice. They do not affect my work. For example a couple of weeks ago I had to give an hour long presentation standing up and on that particular day my legs weren't feeling totally wonderful and I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, but I did. Some times I feel almost totally normal and then some other days are not as great, but I really don't think it is affecting my work and I don't want my health to be a topic of workplace conversation. I also applied for a promotion recently that I know I was qualified for and I didn't get it. There could be a million reasons why not. Maybe I think more highly of my own qualifications than I should, or maybe my interview went a lot worse than I thought it did. But I get paranoid that maybe I didn't get it because of the rumors and speculations about my health, and I hate that. I'd rather be told that I didn't get it because I'm not qualified than "suspect" that I didn't get it for some reason related to office speculation about my health. I would never know if somebody on the hiring committee might have commented something like, "Yes, but this is a demanding job, is she really up to it, y'know, physically?" unless somebody leaked that info, which nobody has. But the reason I was given was strange. They said that "at a different time" I'd be a great fit for that position but "the timing wasn't right" so they selected somebody else. What does that mean? (I wasn't offered any further explanation.) It's frustrating.
  15. Thank you TA, that was helpful. I have seen a neurologist. The neurologist said there is not enough history yet to make a diagnosis. I have had a couple of episodes of unexplained muscle weakness and other symptoms that could also be plenty of other things too. The neuro mentioned MS but said it is too soon to make that diagnosis. Basically they have to rule out everything else first, which has not been done yet. They did tests and ruled out a brain tumor etc. They said I had low levels of potassium & told me to eat more bananas which I am doing. But basically right now it is wait & see. They said it could completely go away and I might never have any other issues. Or lots of other things. They also tested me for other stuff that was all negative. My co-workers noticed not because I was unable to do my work but because of a dumb episode on a hot day where a number of people all had to go to another location. I wanted to take my own car, which I knew I could do, but my boss insisted that everybody go in his SUV. I really didn't want to but everybody kept saying oh come on let's go, we're going to be late, hurry up (etc., etc.). The problem is that the SUV is a very high vehicle with a large step up and on that particular day I couldn't lift my legs high enough to get into the vehicle. I tried to pull myself up with my arms but didn't have a good grip and in the end with everybody watching I wound up having to basically roll onto the floor in the back and then hike myself up into a seat, which was hard. It seemed like the more embarrassed and humiliated I was the less my body wanted to cooperate, which could just be psychological. I wound up having to have co-workers help pull me into a seat. It was horribly embarrassing. After that they started noticing every little thing about how I walk or move or if I ever drop anything, etc.. Most of the time I feel pretty much fine, or if I notice anything it would only be noticeable to me if everybody else wasn't watching me like a hawk. I am getting to hate going to work because I feel like people are just waiting to "catch me" dropping something or tripping over a carpet or something. I hope I don't have MS but the neuro said even if I do there are some very effective drugs for treating the symptoms of it now, but I don't have that diagnosis yet. Mostly I just want people to leave me alone. Whatever the problem is, I feel that its personal and I don't want it to be a subject of workplace discussion or speculation. Union: I was a Union steward years ago but my Governor effectively killed off public sector employee Unions in 2011. I am no longer in or represented by a Union and there is no Union contract. There are only a couple of smaller Unions left and mine is not one of them.
  16. Okay, more to the point. I doubt if they are speculating about whether I have the flu. I suspect that they are speculating about whether or not I have MS given some of the issues I've been experiencing. I do not have an answer to that question myself, nor do I wish to discuss it with my employer before, or maybe even after, I have any answers.
  17. I was told by a workplace friend who works in HR that "everybody is all worried about my health." I am having some health issues but I am dealing with it. I have not missed any work or requested any accommodations. I am doing my job as assigned and frankly I don't think whatever health issues I may be having are anybody's business so long as I am able to do my job, nor do I want to discuss it with my employer. It bothers me that people are talking about my health, apparently with HR. Not that it matters, but in case anybody was wondering it is a physical health thing, not a mental health thing. (I realize that sometimes a person might have a mental health issue that affected their work without them realizing it, but that is not the case in this situation.) Are my manager and/or HR allowed to just speculate about my health and/or discuss it and/or make decisions (?) based on their speculations about it like that? Would that fall under ADA under the heading of "being regarded as" having a disability (whether or not one actually does)?
  18. My elderly mother lives in a state that allows physician assisted suicide. She has arthritis in her knee which causes her pain and makes it hard to walk. She has said she does not want a knee replacement. Actually she has a reason that she doesn't want just about every possible treatment her doctor suggests. She told me she wants assisted suicide because she'd rather "die with dignity" than have to use a cane or a walker. Does she get to make that choice? She is not terminally ill, but she thinks she is because in her way of thinking just the fact that she's getting older is terminal. She has had depression in the past and I think she has it again. But she just starts yelling at me and telling me I am being disrespectful when I suggest talking to her doctor about depression. She says she is not depressed, or even if she is it is caused by the pain in her knee, so all the more reason to die with dignity rather than continuing to suffer. If you can't tell from how I am writing this, I think her reasoning is totally ridiculous. (She would say I just don't understand and I am being cruel by not supporting her wishes.) In my opinion she needs treatment for her depression and treatment for her knee if she wants it. She is not terminally ill and it is beyond stupid to be thinking about suicide just because you are too much of a snob to let the neighbors see you using a cane. Do I get to have any say in this? I am her oldest child and have Health Care Power of Attorney in the event that she is unable to express her own wishes. But she is not unable to do that so my Health Care POA means nothing right now. Her doctor won't discuss her health with me for privacy reasons (she probably told him not to) and I'm afraid she'll talk him into this suicide idea because it is legal in her state and she is very manipulative. Do I have any legal rights or ability to prevent this?
  19. The Chancellor's husband at one of our state colleges was found to have sexually harassed other college employees (not students, I don't think). He was stripped of his $0 appointment to a position as "Associate to the Chancellor" (or something like that), barred from attending college functions, and banned from the campus. The Chancellor said she supported this action and would enforce it. Now one of our State Senators is calling for the Chancellor to be fired from her job due to her husband's inappropriate behavior. I do understand at will employment, but wouldn't it be illegal to fire an employee (any employee actually) because of the behavior of their spouse? Isn't that discrimination based on marital status? They live in a house provided by the college and I could see telling them that they had to find other housing because the Chancellor's house is college property, from which the husband is banned. But my state has a state law that says, "... no employer […] may engage in any act of employment discrimination […] against any individual on the basis of age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, arrest record, conviction record, military service, use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer's premises during nonworking hours, or declining to attend a meeting or to participate in any communication about religious matters or political matters. " Wouldn't firing a college Chancellor because her husband sexually harassed (multiple) employees violate that state statute? There was never any allegation that the Chancellor did anything wrong; it was her husband that did. This doesn't involve me directly in any way (except as a taxpayer). I'm just curious whether they could actually fire her for that.
  20. My state has a 3-day right to cancel certain consumer contracts which I already know about. It is here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/423 My neighbor invited a home improvement company to his home to give him an estimate on replacing his gutters and installing gutter leaf guards. He haggled with the guy who was giving him the estimate and negotiated a price somewhat less than what the estimate originally was going to be. Then he signed a contract to have the work done. Now he's had a change of heart and wants to cancel the contract. He said the merchant didn't give him a notice of his right to cancel. I believe that it's because he doesn't have a right to cancel, at least not under the WI law cited above. He believes its because the merchant is crooked. I could be all wet. I'm not a lawyer. But I believe that because my neighbor called the merchant at the merchant's place of business to request an estimate, the fact that the merchant had to come to his home to look at it in order to give the estimate might not necessarily trigger the "right to cancel" because the transaction was not "initiated by face-to-face solicitation away from a regular place of business of the merchant or by mail or telephone solicitation directed to the particular customer." I don't think the fact that they haggled over the price in the neighbor's driveway changes the fact that it was my neighbor who initiated the transaction by calling the merchant at the merchant's place of business. It would be great if I were wrong. Am I?
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