Posts by Abby Ellin
Is being seven minutes late grounds for dismissal?
Apparently so, says Latina Thomas, Magic Johnson's former personal flight attendant, who claims to have been fired last month for being a tiny bit tardy.
Thomas, 45, is suing Magic Johnson Entertainment and Clay Lacy Aviation, her joint employers, in LA County Superior Court for age discrimination, wrongful termination and multiple labor code violations. Among other things, she claims the defendants failed to provide meal and rest breaks, pay her overtime, or keep accurate records of the hours she worked. She is seeking "compensatory damages" for the wages she was allegedly denied since she began working for him in 2004.
It pays to be beautiful, but it may not pay as much as it should. That's the contention in a $20 million class-action suit against some of New York's top modeling and advertising agencies, including Ford Models, Next Management and Wilhelmina.
The suit, filed on behalf of 31-year-old American model Louisa Raske and other unnamed male and female models, claims that the modeling agencies failed to provide accurate account statements and concealed money received on the models' behalf.
"We've alleged that the modeling agencies are unjustly enriching themselves by using money interest-free that belongs to the models," Skip Taylor, lead counsel for Raske, told ABC News.
The main problem, the suit asserts, is that the agencies mix their own funds with the money held on the model's behalf, which allows them to use that money on their own behalf, with "little fear of being discovered," the suit alleges.
Another issue is that models aren't represented by the same agency for their entire careers. Typically, a contract lasts about three years, and then the model moves on to another management company.
Got an extra ten bucks? If so, you, too, could be the owner of a sparkling new home in Reston, Manitoba, a rural prairie town in Southern Manitoba bordering Saskatchewan on the west and North Dakota on the south.
In an effort to jump on the oil boom in that part of the country, officials are once again selling undeveloped land for a mere $10, an initiative they first started in 2010. Back then they had 14 lots for sale, 11 of which have houses built on them today, economic development officer Tanis Chalmers told ABC News .
That plan was so successful that in September the Rural Municipality of Pipestone, of which Reston is the biggest town (population: 550), decided to put up an additional 10 lots for sale, along with the three left from 2010. Nine remain, "But I've had offers on them already from both Canada and the U.S," said Chalmers, adding that the initiative has been so effective that the local school finally "has a standalone kindergarten class."
Southwest Airlines is in hot water for allegedly burning a passenger with a cup of scalding tea.
According to a lawsuit filed in Davidson County Circuit Court in Nashville, Tenn., on December 28, 2011, Angelica Keller, of Smyrna, Tenn., suffered second-degree burns during a trip from Nashville to Houston on the airline.
On that day, Keller, who was seated in a window seat in the first row of the plane, ordered a cup of tea. The flight attendant brought her a cup of piping hot water, which was sitting in another cup containing the tea bag and condiment packets like sugar and possibly creamer. Since there was no tray table or flat surface, Keller had difficulty disassembling the double cup and the water spilled all over her lap. And since she was wearing her seatbelt, she could not move quickly enough and had to sit in 'extremely hot water' until she could get up.
She spent the rest of the flight in the restroom.
As her mother, Anna Jorgensen, told ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas, Taylor didn't want to miss any classes because "her grades are very important to her."
So Santos went to the vice principal's office to request a paddling. She called her mom, who said that as long as her daughter was OK with it, so was she. According to school policy, parents who don't want their children to subject to corporal punishment must submit a written statement each year.
What neither Jorgenson nor Santos knew was that a man - the vice principal - would be doing the swatting, while a female watched. As far as Jorgensen knew, she said, school policy mandated that males spanked males and females spanked females.
Because of the force with with Santos was struck, her bottom was fire-engine red and looked as if it had been "burned and blistered," said Jorgensen, who took photos as evidence.
To say that football is a big deal in Texas is a bit like saying it snows in Alaska. "There's a long tradition in both film and novels of how important high school football is in Texas," said Tom Palaima, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and a former representative of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a faculty organization that monitors sports expenditures on college campuses.
Friday Night Lights , anyone?
Still, it's hard to imagine that a high school would invest $59.6 million in its football stadium. But that's precisely the cost of the sparkling new Eagle stadium at Allen High School, in Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The stadium - which boasts a video scoreboard, artificial turf, a multi-level press box, a weight room, a wrestling room and seats for 18,000 - opened Thursday with a pep rally and introduction of the 2012 team. The new season begins on Aug. 31.
Do as I say, not as I do. That could be the mantra of Bloomingdale's security boss, Alice Butler, who was arrested after allegedly passing off fraudulent bills at the chain's flagship store in New York.
Part of Butler's job was to teach employees how to detect counterfeit money.
According to a report in the New York Post, Butler, 56, who has worked at the store for 17 years, passed out a pair of faux $100 bills while loading money onto her employee debit card on July 1. The cashier - whom Butler had personally trained - noticed that the images on the ink were off-color and that the bills were blurry. She called security, which called New York police. A Secret Service agent was also brought in to verify that the bills were fake, the Post said.
Butler, who lives in New Jersey, was later arrested and released without bail on charges of petit larceny and forgery.
Let's say you live in Michigan, where the typical household shells out a whopping 8 percent of its annual income on car insurance. Or maybe you live someplace where the rates are cheaper-Colorado, say, or Massachusetts-but you'd like to save some cash. Is there any way to reduce your yearly payments?
Absolutely, says John Egan, the managing editor of C, which recently released a state-by-state breakdown of car insurance costs in all 50 states.
"While you're probably not going to move to a new state just because of car insurance costs, the most important thing to remember is that - regardless of where you live - you can get a better deal than the Average Joe by shopping around," says Egan.
Here are some more of his tips.
1. Don't pay for more coverage than you need.