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What Constitutes Illegal Hiring Practices? And More Legal Q&A – Free Joe 1/22/13

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Philip: Are illegal hiring practices typically associated with racial discrimination and if they aren’t, what are some of the other factors of illegal hiring practices?

LegalZoom: It depends on how regulated the industry is, but in general, it’s illegal to discriminate against potential employees based on race, creed, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, and disability (to some extent).

Ken: I have used Legalzoom services and am very satisfied, I want to create a trust to protect my assests, how can I legally secure and use funds without legal judgements or actions taken against it. I would make my 2 children beneficiaries, I want to put my S-Corp stock in it, be able to access and use the money and put all assets and earnings in it so as no one else can ..take it, and leave it for the kids.

Joe Escalante: This is a great question but the answer involves analyzing your situation. It appears you are trying to do two competing things. It seems like you want the advantages offered by an irrevocable trust, but also have access to the funds, which would be the advantage of a revocable trust. You need to see a serious financial planner. This is beyond the scope of this limited forum.

Ken: As a CPA I understand , if I make it a revocable trust can the assets still be siezed by legal, tax, or child support?

Joe Escalante: This varies by state, but in general a revocable trust doesn’t provide much protection against creditors or tax collectors, and especially child support obligations.

Mraz: What Branch of Government does the Consumer Product Safety Commission have to answer to, if any ? seems as though they do not.

Joe Escalante: Created by Congress, appointed by the President, claiming on their own web site that they report to nobody, they seem like a shadow organization up to no good. The Attorney General’s office would probably be the part of the government they fear the most. Crazy. Thanks for bringing this up.

Kisha: if you know someone is sueing you but they have the wrong address and the wrong state, should you file a response or wait for the case to be dismissed because they are unable to serve you

Joe Escalante: I would wait.

Sophie: Hello my name is Sophie I have been divorced since 2003 and my ex was suppose to give me money for stuff and bills but did not how do I legally get him to pay me.

Joe Escalante: You petition the court to find him in contempt of the court order for support. That sounds drastic, and I’m not a divorce attorney, but that is essentially the process. There is a court order for support. He’s violated it. You have to haul him into court to explain himself.

Chris: I need help getting the Romeo and Juliet law into motion. How can I do that?

Joe Escalante: First, I would familiarize myself with actual legal terms. “Getting a law into motion” doesn’t mean anything. If you’re trying to get a law passed. You should go to the state capital and try to get a meeting with your representative there, or in his or her office in your district. They are the ones voting, you have a right to try to influence their vote.

Richard: Is dereliction of duty..deliberate indifference and gross negligence a impeachable offense?

Joe Escalante: Yes Richard. Yes it is.

Mark: Will a judge always follow the recommendations of the social worker after conducting a social study involving placement and care of a minor resulting from a divorce?

Joe Escalante: No. Some judges are jackasses, and some social workers are jackasses. So you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

Lawrence: I would like to start a film production studio by the end of 2013 early 2014. What are the steps to getting the name and logo legalized?

Joe Escalante: You can only trademark a name that is in use in interstate commerce. You can file for an “intent to use” mark, but that will expire after 6 months if you cannot show actual “use” in interstate commerce. If you have created a logo, you can copyright that logo, as an original artistic creation but that is different than a trademark associated with a product or service. But it’s better than nothing. However, every creative work already has a copyright inherent in it. Registration just provides additional benefits like statutory damages and attorney fees for infringements.
For more on this topic, call my radio show on Sundays. This is all we talk about.

Debra: I live in Mississippi and I was just fired from a job. They said that it was due to “my health”. is there anything that I can do about this? Is this not illegal? Should I push this?

Joe Escalante: It depends on your terms of employment, and what kind of health problems. If you got your health problems while on the job in the course of your regular duties, than this would probably be a wrongful termination. Place a call to the State Labor Commissioner’s office and see about filing a complaint.

Chrystal: How does one go about getting past charges annulled from over 10years ago? Job applications now state ” have you ever for anything ” What happened to the 7-10 year forgiveness?

Joe Escalante: You need to talk to a good criminal defense attorney in your county about the process of expungement. You might want to check the State Attorney General’s web site for some info on it as well.

Jacquelyn: I was unemployed & received assistance from the State of TX, SNAP Benefits. I received it for 6 months while actively looking for a job, once I found one, I let them know. They now tell me they overpaid me due to the caseworker not putting in my unemployment benefits; therefore, I have to pay back about $1300. I have escalated the issue & they acknowledge it was their fault, but I still have to pay. Is there anything I can do about this? I am struggling to make it as it is & they will probably take my whole tax return. Thanks!

Joe Escalante: It’s not enough to hire an attorney over, and there is probably language somewhere in the paperwork where you agreed to payback anything that was overpaid, whether or not they made a mistake.

Deanna: I am a disabled person and i am bein oedered to pay child support for a child who made the decision that he did not want to b in my home. Will i have to pay it with limited income?

Joe Escalante: If the court had an accurate picture of your limited income when they ordered you to pay, then you are stuck. This is your obligation. You are free however to petition the court if they had an inaccurate picture or if circumstances have changed.

Aaron: Can an 18 year old be adopted by another family for veterans benefits and then be adopted back to his original family four years later?

Joe Escalante: Gee, are there any other ways you want me to help you defraud Veterans, or is this it?

Brent: My house is almost 9 years old, purchased from original owner; the foundation and supports are sinking and interior walls are cracking – have been six plus months. What recourse do I have against the builder LENNAR?

Joe Escalante: This stuff varies by state, but you may have some legal recourse against them. However, those builders are slippery, they sell themselves and then others buy that company, and then you can’t even find them. You need a property rights attorney in your area that has dealt with them successfully.

Latonya: A group of people I know is trying to start an investment group. What type of legal contract should we be using?

Joe Escalante: Carrie says this is how every episodes of “American Greed” starts. You guys all need your own attorneys, and you all need your own tax professionals.

Thaddeus: My in-laws have allowed us to build on land that they own. In order for us to own the home the bank says we need to be on the land deed. What do I need to do to execute a deed of trust or quit claim the property?

Joe Escalante: You need the permission of the people who are on the deed. Then you can have them sign a quitclaim deed to you.

Thaddeus: We would like to co-own the property. Is quitclaim the best option?

Joe Escalante: If they will consent, yes. I think it’s the easiest way. There may be tax consequences that I don’t know about however, so make sure your tax pro is on board.

Rod: Joe – I engaged legalzoom to file a patent application some 18 mos ago. I recieved a letter stating my provisional status. After this much time do I now have a registered patent or is my status something else? Thank you

Joe Escalante: It just expires. It’s really only a placeholder that lets the world know when you invented, what you say is patentable. It gives you time to go and get the patent and protects you while you are in the expensive and laborious process. But it is a process. It sounds like you didn’t do it. So now you need to see a patent attorney and see if your invention is still patentable. Most likely you have not suffered anything by letting it expired. But it’s time to see an attorney.

Surya: What are some guidelines or things to pay attention to when a small business LLC accepts members, specifically those non-citizens of USA from overseas / other countries?

Joe Escalante: You should take a good look at your operating agreement and see if the procedure for accepting new members is being followed. Make sure your state allows foreign ownership. Most do. Get your tax pro on board with all transactions. Check out what else these new members own. You don’t want to be tied to anything shady.

Melissa: My dad has a home that was aquired during marriage. His name is the only name on the deed, & outstanding mortgage. He wants to give it to me via rent to own terms. Would that be possible & if not what would you reccommend?

Joe Escalante: It sounds likely that this house would be considered marital property. In that case, you would need the permission of the other owner, or risk having her challenge the transaction.

Even if she’s not on the deed, she has rights dictated by state property laws in connection with state marriage laws.

Lauren: I am a single parent, never married to my daughter’s father and I have full custody. He pays child support and has visitation. Should I be able to claim my daughter for tax purposes or should he? I asked the child support case worker if it was in our agreement and it is not.

Joe Escalante: This is a great question for the tax expert, Gary. He’s hear on Thursdays.

LegalZoom: The Tax Pros are here 11am-noon PT:

LegalZoom: Joe will be back on Friday. Join us then for more legal Q&A!


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January 24th, 2013 at 5:43 am