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Can You Sue for Harassment and Emotional Distress?

There is a four-prong legal test that determines whether or not you can sue for emotional distress and harassment. If someone’s harassment of you at work, threats by a romantic partner or stalking make you afraid for your safety, or the safety of your child or someone close to you- you can take legal action. Laws vary by state when it comes to suing for emotional distress, so it may be a good idea to contact an attorney before you pursue litigation.

Reckless/Intentional Behavior

In order to prove that you are emotionally distressed, you must prove that the person who is harassing you was acting recklessly or intended to harass you. For example, if the person wrote you letters in which he/she threatened to kill you, that proves intentional behavior. Additionally, if he/she prank called you, telling you that someone you love is dead, this recklessness could hold up in civil court for an emotional distress lawsuit- even though /she may not have planned to cause you emotional distress.

Outrageous/Extreme Conduct

harassmentIn order to meet the criteria for emotional distress due to harassment, you must be able to prove that the actions of the person harassing you were extreme or outrageous. There is no single definition of this particular form of behavior. However, under the law, extreme/outrageous behavior is more than simply annoying or impolite behavior. Extreme/outrageous behavior goes beyond what is normally accepted in society. For instance, if someone is repeatedly calling to harass you or is degrading you in public, or trying to upset you enough to quit your job, this is considered extreme/outrageous conduct.

Emotional Distress Causes

In order to sue someone for emotional distress, you must be able to prove that the harassment was, in fact, what caused your emotional distress. For example, if you were already dealing with severe emotional distress due to being robbed, and then had to deal with harassment, there’s no way to prove that the harassment either caused or contributed to your emotional distress. On the other hand, if you were in good mental health prior to being harassed, chances are you will be able to sue for emotional distress. Mental health can be proven by providing psychological and medical records.

Severity of the Harm Caused

Need an accident lawyer? Contact baytown personal injury lawyer Hugh Howerton. The best car accident lawyer houston has to offer. When you’re suing someone for causing you emotional distress due to harassment, you must be able to prove that the distress was extreme. Things such as worry, anxiety, or upset don’t really meet this criteria- unless of course, they require you to be under the care of a psychiatrist. Passing distress that solves on its own does not meet this criteria. If, on the other hand, the harm caused was so severe it could cause a sane person mental and emotional distress, you could still able to sue if you have mental health issues such as panic attacks or depression.

Filing Harassment Papers on Your Ex

CourtroomHarassment laws are meant to protect you against strangers, acquaintances, and even distant relatives. However, they are not meant to protect you from someone you were once intimately involved with. So, while you can’t charge your ex with harassment, there are other options available.

Civil Harassment

These types of charges are meant to protect you from someone where the one harassing you has not been in a personal relationship with you. Most of the time, you’re not able to charge them with “domestic violence” because the operative term is “domestic” which indicates someone you’re currently living with or were once involved with somehow. The behavior of the person doing the harassing has to reach a point where you fear for your personal safety.

Restraining Order

Restraining orders, also known as orders for protection, are much more serious than civil harassment charges. These typically deal with close relationships that can potentially become volatile. These are issued by the court and are meant to prevent your ex from harassing you or even contacting you at all. It will keep him/her from going to your house, your place of employment, or getting within a certain distance of you. If he/she breaks the terms of this it will result in criminal charges and possibly jail time. Getting one of these is typically a two-step process. The burden of proof is low- you only must demonstrate that you have a reason to be afraid of him/her. If your ex is not present, it will be conducted ex parte. The judge typically issues a temporary order and then assigns a date for a permanent order, which will be about two weeks later. Your ex can be present at this hearing to defend themselves. This time, the burden of proof is much more, because now you must prove that your ex did all the things that you’re alleging.

Restraints/Civil Injunctions

If your ex is working in specific professions, the restraining order could cost him/her their job. If you’re currently collecting alimony or child support, this could cause some difficulties. In this case, a civil injunction could be the better route. Civil restraints will prevent your ex from approaching or contacting you, but law enforcement cannot help you enforce the terms. Violation of civil injunctions is not a criminal offense. You’d end up having to take him/her back to court and ask for the judge to hold him/her in contempt.

Are You In Immediate Danger?

If your ex is calling you seventeen times a day, that can get annoying. However, if he/she is calling you seventeen times in one hour, they’re not thinking rationally and their behavior could be a threat to your well-being. If you feel threatened, call the police. Law enforcement in most states can issue an emergency protection order until you can get into court. You have the right to contact an attorney before court and explore your options.

Sexual Harassment and Title IX

Sexual harassment has always been a big problem on college campuses, and in the past couple of years, attention has been drawn to how much of an issue some of these particular policies have been, especially in regards to the person who has been affected by the harassment in question. Of course, this has come to a head in a number of court cases, including one against Harvard.

Problems at Harvard

Most people think of Harvard and they think of geniuses and law gurus, but there is a huge problem with their sexual harassment rules. They are just one of many schools that have been put under the microscope when it comes to how they deal with assault and harassment cases – and the biggest issue has been with how they deal with the victims of these crimes.

Sexual HarrasmentFirst off, the issue with how the assaulted are dealt with. Many times, these students are not protected as they should be. Even though their attackers are being punished, they aren’t always taken out of the school, thus forcing the victim to live in fear. That being said, their attackers aren’t always punished either – because there is such a huge “victim blaming” mentality, especially when it comes to girls being raped and assaulted, it rolls over into how these women are treated.

Where does Title IX Come In?

That, of course, is where the Title IX issue comes into play. Basically, what Title IX says is that, if you’re getting any sort of money from the government to help educate the students that are attending your university, then there can be no signs of gender discrimination and people of all genders must be treated equally. By placing the blame on female victims, it was determined (by the courts) that Harvard (and other schools) were actually in violation of the Title IX agreement.

There are other problems as well, but this is the biggest one that comes up, a majority of the time. Because there are so many cases that happen on campuses every year, and so few of them are reported to anyone off campus, it turns into a large mess and people are not getting the justice that they deserve. Granted, there has been some pushback, because not everyone agrees that this is a Title IX issue, but it’s still something that needs to be addressed so that both men and women can feel safe under the law.

Body Cameras and the Law

body cameraBody cameras have been a huge point of contention for a number of people. Since the incident in Ferguson happens a few months ago, police officers around the country have started to wear and utilize dash cameras and body cameras. In some departments, they’ve decided to utilize them before they were even required to. In some states, legislation is already starting to be passed in order to make cops wear them. And, as you likely know, there are petitions and such online that are requesting that these sorts of things become national law instead of just state law.

Not Just For Cops?

It’s quite interesting, really, because body cameras aren’t just for cops anymore. Since they’ve become a lot easier to use and they aren’t as expensive as they used to be, a number of different professionals have started to use them as well, and a number of them have kept them safe from lawsuits. For example, a plumber who was accused of doing a poor job on a plumbing job may end up saving their own hide because, with a body camera, they can prove that they did the work requested and to the standards that they should be done. In other cases, where people came to repossess and impound particular items (cars, etc), the repo people have been able to file lawsuits against people who assaulted them or threatened to do so because the repo person was doing their job.

Is it a Trend?

Does this mean that it needs to be a trend? Should more professionals be wearing body cameras in order to make sure that they aren’t getting treated poorly or that they aren’t getting cheated? In today’s world, it may be a good idea to do so. Defending yourself, especially if you run your own business, is incredibly important, and a body camera may be the piece of evidence that you need in order to keep yourself protected against scammers and swindlers, or against those who may harm you while you’re on the job.

That being said, will it make a difference? Will body cameras help enforce laws and keep people safe? Obviously, they need to be turned on in order to work, but many times, just having it there is enough to remind you to keep it on. Should they be required for certain people who work in certain fields? Or is it a privacy issue that makes it more difficult to work under certain conditions.

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The Copyright Facebook Message Hoax

facebookAlright, so if you’re on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen all of the different things going around about the “copyright protection.” According to this, you’re popping this little message onto your status that basically says “hey, no one can take my stuff and use it for commercial purposes without my permission.” Sounds great on the surface, right? Especially when all that stuff came up last year regarding Facebook and them using your photos in the ads on the side.

So, Is it True?

But, like many of the issues that end up coming up around Facebook, this one is untrue as well. You see, even though you’re using Facebook as a way to store all of your photos and such and share them with your friends, they’re perfectly safe. They’re still yours. The whole thing is considered to be royalty free, and you don’t have to make any public declaration about whether or not you are claiming the copyright right for yourself – you already have the right to that from the beginning of your Facebook usage. The whole “declaring your rights” is just useless.

Why Does it Matter?

So, what should we learn from this whole ordeal? If we learn anything, it should be that we need to read contracts before we sign them. You know, as well as I do, that many of us just ignore the terms of service and terms of use that we see when we’re signing up for a website. The issue is, we should honestly be paying more attention to those things before we sign up. Not only can it prevent us from having problems in the future because of not understanding the terms, it can also prevent us from looking foolish when hoaxes like this go around and get posted all over the internet.

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Contracts are a really important part of our lives. There are terms of service on every website nowadays, mainly because they’re required to be used by law. Those terms of service are meant to protect us; they are not meant to make us more stressed out or cause us to jump through more hoops. Many times, if you read them and you have a question about what they mean, you can contact the company and they will give it to you in plainer terms and answer the questions that you may have. Don’t skip reading the terms of service – they can really help you out in a pinch.

Intel Developer Blogs Bail Out of Russia

blogAs you likely know, Russia has started to really tighten the reins when it comes to how much internet access that their people have. This is especially true when it comes to the world of blogging. One of the most recent laws is referred to as the “blogger law.” This law basically says that, if a blog has more than 3,000 people who read it on a daily basis, then the Russian government is going to start to keep a closer eye on the blog in order to make sure that they aren’t saying anything bad about the Russian government. They have to register with the government and follow the same laws that journalists do. Yikes, right?

Websites Bail Out

That’s why dozens of websites from all over the world have made it clear that they don’t want anything to do with what Russia’s trying to pull on people. We are in a world that is looking for journalistic integrity. That’s part of the reason we turned to blogs in the first place, really. We wanted to get the news and opinions of people who were not under some sort of entity, and basically, Russia is taking that freedom away from those people.

So this is what Intel did with their developer blogs. You can’t even write your blog in Russian – you have to publish in English. If you are keeping a developer blog and you’re Russian, you have to have it on a server that’s not in Russia. Basically, you can’t have your blog affiliated with Russia in any way, because that’s something that Intel wants to stay out of, even if they’re just talking about simple developer blogs.

Will this trend continue? Likely. As Russia’s laws continue to become more and more stringent, more companies will likely pull their blogging out of those countries, thus making it more difficult for Russia to continue to try and monitor everything. It causes issues for those in Russia, however, because it means that their free speech is going to become more and more restricted over time as well. It’s a hard thing to watch, but when countries like Russia use their power to boss around and intimidate the people who live there, there’s not a lot that we can do in response. How do you feel about Russia’s laws, and what other companies are going to pull out of there as this continues?

What Are A Victim’s Rights?

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve likely heard a lot of debate about where the victim stands in the eyes of the law. There is often so much going on in a case that the victim may get overlooked, or they may not get the care or attention that they need in order to be an effective witness during the trial process.

Forgotten Victims

The problem is, crimes usually are incredibly traumatic for the victim that has been affected. There is so much going on, and because of that, it may end up becoming more about the trial instead of taking care of the person who has been victimized. But what are the rights of the person who has been victimized?

That’s where the question comes in. As we’ve seen with college cases, sometimes, the victim gets a bit of counseling, but they have to walk around knowing that their predator is still out there, and could hurt them again. In other cases, the victims are kept under lock and key, protected from anyone who could harm them until the case is over. It’s quite a stark difference between what happens.

So, What Can We Do?

The biggest issue here, many say, is during the trials themselves. The victim has to sit there, usually in front of the person that harmed them, and they have to say what happened in detail. On top of that, it’s usually to the defendant’s lawyer, who is trying to make it seem like the victim is at fault. It’s all a very stressful and traumatic experience. Get help from a Toronto Lawyer like David Cohn. Toronto Criminal Lawyer David Cohn has been practicing law for over 30 years now. Criminal lawyers Toronto, Downtown area.

Thankfully, things are starting to change. As technology advances and as laws change, it’s become a lot easier for victims to be able to testify against those who have harmed them without as much fear as they had before. Exceptions can be made, and things can be done to ensure that the full process is gone through with, without causing the victim additional trauma.

How do you think victims of crimes should be treated? What can be done in order to make sure that they have the dignity and the care that they need in order to help them avoid further trauma down the road? Should there be special laws put into place in order to ensure that these persons are getting the justice they deserve without sacrificing even more of themselves?