LIFE EVENTS

Feres Doctrine

A legal doctrine that prevents people who are injured as a result of military service from successfully suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The doctrine comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, in which servicemen who picked up highly radioactive weapons fragments from a crashed airplane were not permitted to recover damages from the government. Also known as the Feres-Stencel doctrine or the Feres rule.

Egelhoff v. Egelhoff (2001)

U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that a woman who was named as the beneficiary of her former husband's 401(k) plan was entitled to inherit the money in the plan, even though state law said that the divorce had automatically revoked her right to inherit. Because a 401(k) plan is ruled by federal law (ERISA), it overruled the state law.

Darby v. United States (1941)

A U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court, in a decision by Justice Harlan Stone, sustained the portion of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act prohibiting child labor and regulating wages and hours, on the basis that the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce included the authority to promote commerce as well as prohibit it, a position argued in a dissent by Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1916.

wrongful termination in violation of public policy

A legal claim that an employee has been illegally fired for reasons that most people would find morally or ethically repugnant. In many states, for example, an employee can sue for wrongful termination in violation of public policy after being fired for (1) exercising a legal right, such as voting, (2) refusing to do something illegal, such as submitting false tax returns or lying on reports the employer is required to submit to the government, or (3) reporting illegal conduct.

Workers' Compensation Acts

State statutes that 1) require employers to purchase insurance to protect their workers and 2) establish the liability of employers for injuries to workers while on the job or illnesses due to the employment. Workers' compensation is not based on the negligence of the employer; benefits are granted regardless of fault and include medical coverage, a percentage of lost wages, costs of retraining, and compensation for any permanent injury. Coverage does not include general damages for pain and suffering.

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