Everything You Need to Know about Windows 10’s Creators Update 2017

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Windows 10 is the most advanced and innovative invention of Microsoft that offers the users with the best working performance along with excellent working performance it also makes the working process faster, easier and interesting. With the release of Windows 10 creator update Windows 10 has become more advanced.

Windows 10 came up with more surprises to all the Windows 10 users

All the Windows 10 users have got creator update in form of surprise. It has come with various wonderful features. It is a new 3D application that allows the users to create 3D models and turn imaginations into shape. Along with this, it also comes with various other features including blue light reduction, EBooks and app throttling etc. This creator update is codenamed as Redstone 2. Also rumors of next big Windows 10 update are in the air. Also US customers can avail an online support from Windows 10 Support services in case of further issues with the Windows 10 creator app.

How do these Services Work?

These online Windows 10 support number services are offered by learned and experienced technicians, these technicians use remote access technology and resolves all the issues related to the customers Windows 10 operating System. Each and every issue is resolved on time and at a lowest possible cost by these learned and experienced technicians.

How to contact Windows 10 support services?

To contact these technicians, you need to call at Windows 10 support number services and you can avail quick online assistance remotely. Technicians here work round the clock and are always available 24/7. To contact these technicians dial our toll- free number and avail our best ever services.

About Windows Tech Support phone Number

 Windows tech support phone number is an online technical support service offered by experienced technicians to solve all the issues related to Windows 10 Operating System. It deals with various technical issues related to Windows 10. It works only for people living in US regions.

 

April 26, 2017 at 11:53AM

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Debate: The Fiction of an Interest in Death? Justice for Charlie Gard

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Julian Savulescu

Dominic Wilkinson’s Response

A judge ruled last week that baby Charlie Gard will have his treatment withdrawn, against the wishes of his parents. His doctors argued that the rare mitochondrial disease (MDDS) he was born with was causing him unbearable suffering.

His parents had raised funds to take him to the US for experimental treatment and they wanted the chance to try the treatment. His doctors argued that such treatment could only prolong his suffering. It was their belief that it was in his best interests for treatment to be withdrawn, and for his life to end, a belief which the trial judge endorsed.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts, but with complete conviction for Charlie’s best interests, that I find it is in Charlie’s best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that GOSH may lawfully withdraw all treatment save for palliative care to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”

This is a profoundly difficult decision, and one in which all parties are acting out of care and compassion for the child. My comments are of course limited as I do not have access to all the relevant facts. However, it does raise an important question about the current basis of such decisions.

Ethics of Limitation of Life Prolonging Medical Treatment

In general, medicine has a presumption in favour of saving life, or prolonging life. There are three justifications for departing from this default. That is, there are 3 justifications for withholding or withdrawing life prolonging medical treatment:

  1. the patient autonomously refuses it. (autonomy)
  2. continued life is no longer in the patient’s interests (best interests)
  3. the probability of the treatment prolonging life, or the quality of life, or the length of time the patient can surVive are too low to justify the cost of the attempt (distributive justice)

Sometimes treatment is withheld or withdrawn because it is “futile.” Dominic Wilkinson and I have argued that although futility is often said to refer to “best interests”, it is more appropriately interpreted as a justice justification for limitation, that is, criterion 3. The reason we have argued this is that the best interests justification (2), requires that doctors establish that life is no longer worth living. That is, that the person would be better off dead. This is a very difficult standard to establish, even if the concept of a life not worth living is coherent. Justice does not require that we establish where the line of of a life worth living is. It only requires a comparative judgement – that compared to other uses of a limited medical resource, this use is not justified. The NHS has thresholds for cost-effectiveness that it routinely employs. A justice justification for limiting life prolonging medical treatment only requires an extension of this every day approach. For example, a treatment which has a 1/10,000 of prolonging a person’s life is a lower priority than a treatment which has a 50% chance of extending life. We need not say that the first treatment is “futile” or confers no benefit to the patient. We need only say that it is very poor value for money.

Decisions about Children and Other Incompetent Patients

In cases involving children, babies (such as Charlie Gard), or others without capacity, the first justification is not available – that is, the patient lacks capacity to autonomously refuse further treatment. In such cases, the court is asked to make a decision about what is in the best interests of the patient. This is a different decision than a substituted judgement for what the patient would want if they had capacity, although of course when adult patients lose capacity, their prior known wishes are an important factor. Explaining the basis on which he could override the parents, the judge said:

“although the parents have parental responsibility, overriding control is vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests.”

Best interests apply across a number of decisions around children, for example in family law cases, when two parents might reasonably disagree about decisions affecting a child the court is asked to choose which option is in the child’s best interests: which on the balance of probabilities will lead to the best outcomes. However, in a case involving limitation of life prolonging treatment, one option ends the life of the child.

The judge relied on best interests as laid out in a previous judgement (Wyatt v Portsmouth NHS Trust):

“In our judgment, the intellectual milestones for the judge in a case such as the present are, therefore, simple, although the ultimate decision will frequently be extremely difficult. The judge must decide what is in the child’s best interests. In making that decision, the welfare of the child is paramount, and the judge must look at the question from the assumed point of view of the child. There is a strong presumption in favour of a course of action which will prolong life, but that presumption is not irrebuttable. The term “best interests” encompasses medical, emotional, and all other welfare issues.”

The critical issue is in this case is how to define “best interests.” For example, here is a UN definition of best interests:

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, assessing the best interests of a child means to evaluate and balance “all the elements necessary to make a decision in a specific situation for a specific individual child or group of children”.[1] Due to the diversity of factors to consider, usually more than one profession or institution is involved in the assessment process, bringing together various perspectives and areas of expertise from the country of origin and destination and, in particular, the perspective of the child.

The following aspects are relevant for the best interests of the child:

  • The child’s views and aspirations;

  • The identity of the child, including age and gender, personal history and background;

  • The care, protection and safety of the child;

  • The child’s well-being;

  • The family environment, family relations and contact;

  • Social contacts of the child with peers and adults;

  • Situations of vulnerability, i.e. the risks that the child is facing and the sources of protection, resiliency and empowerment;

  • The child’s skills and evolving capacities;

  • The rights and needs with regard to health and education;

  • The development of the child and her or his gradual transition into adulthood and an independent life;

  • Any other specific needs of the child.[2]

 

None of these criteria clearly direct us to answering the question of when a child would be better off dead.

When Is Death in a Patient’s Best Interests?

In Charlie Gard’s case the possibility of experiencing pain from ventilation, suctioning, and other medical reasons was cited as a negative aspect of his well-being. But there are highly effective forms of analgesia, sedation and anaesthesia for these routine medical procedures. No one suggests that the discomfort associated with such procedures is a reason not to offer them.

Perhaps there is some other negative aspect to Charlie’s life such that it makes it the case he would be better off dead. Epileptic fits, perhaps. But again, these can be controlled with deep sedation.

Perhaps the argument is that in other cases of severe illness, the positive aspects of medical treatment outweigh these negative aspects, but in Charlie’s case there would be no positive aspects because of his profound cognitive impairment.

There are some conditions which I would regard as a life not worth living. One such condition is severe dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. This is one of the candidate conditions for neonatal euthanasia in the Netherlands. In this congenital condition, the skin relentlessly peels off, causing extreme pain and infection. In the most severe forms, the child often dies of infection in the first year of life, even with maximal medical therapy. It seems wrong to live a very brief life of severe suffering (even if it can be almost entirely relieved) for no benefit.

Yet Charlie Gard’s case is different. He would not necessarily die in the first year and we don’t know for certain what level of cognitive function he might finally gain. It is true doctors are confident but it is important to remember that at one stage, according to the summary of the judgement,  “Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie was being treated, got as far as deciding to apply for ethical permission to attempt nucleoside therapy, a treatment that has never been used on patients with this form of MDDS. But by the time that decision had been made, Charlie’s condition had greatly worsened and the view of all there was that his epileptic encephalopathy was such that his brain damage was severe and irreversible, that treatment was potentially painful but incapable of achieving anything positive for him.” This delay, if caused by the ethics process, would be another example of “lethal ethics”.

But can we be certain it is too late for anything positive to come about from treatment. To be sure, the odds are vanishingly small. But if they are not zero, why not have a trial of treatment for several months, or a year, under strict pain control (which we are told is so effective in palliative care)? The parents seemed to accept that Charlie’s current state was not one which was worth prolonging and if no progress was made, one could stipulate that treatment must be withdrawn. (There are clearly problems with jurisdiction in the US but the resources anyway would be finite as Charlie presumably does not have US health insurance.)

Is a month or year of experimental treatment that offers a slim chance of improvement clearly against his interests? This seems a different kind of case to the case of severe Epidemolysis Bullosa, where death and suffering are inevitable.

It is important to remember that this is no longer a choice between two futures. After death, there is no future that the decision can enhance. There is no patient and they no longer have any interests. There is only one pathway that the patient can be placed on.

If the treatment might be successful but will lead to a very severely impaired future, perhaps with multiple disabilities, it would still be in the patient’s best interests to proceed. There is no other future available to the patient. In order for treatment to be withdrawn on this ground, it would have to be shown that the individual is not merely severely disabled but living a life which is worse than death. This is both conceptually and empirically very difficult to prove.

The judgement thus seems to assume that a life with severe cognitive impairment is a life which is not worth living. This is highly controversial and difficult to defend in any precise way. I have spent over 20 years studying these issues and although I believe there are some lives which are not worth living, such as epidermolysis bullosa, I can’t say how cases like this can be said to be not worth living.

The basis on which many adult patients are allowed to choose to die is different. Adult patients may choose to have treatment withdrawn, even if that means their death, and it is not unusual for patients to make this choice. I have argued that voluntary euthanasia should be legalised in addition, so that patients whose suffering is unbearable for them, but whose disease is not immediately fatal without treatment may choose to die. The argument for both of these is based on the autonomous choice of the patient. Whilst euthanasia- where patients could make an autonomous choice to die –  is still controversial, it is a basic tenet of medical ethics that patients should have the ability to autonomously consent to – or refuse- treatment, and more broadly dictate how their life goes, and ends.

If we reject best interests as a basis for withdrawal of treatment, it would not mean that the decision to withdraw treatment could never be justified. If treatment is “futile”,-that is there is a vanishingly slim chance of meaningful improvement-, then treatment might be withdrawn on reasons of justice, so that the resources can be used for others with a better chance of survival, or a longer life, or a much better quality of life. That is, it is not worth spending hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to achieve a tiny improvement.

But now we arrive at the problematic aspect of the case of Charlie Gard. The most appropriate justification for limiting his life prolonging medical treatment would be on grounds of distributive justice. However, if an individual, or his parents, are willing to fund that treatment themselves, then arguments for limitation of medical treatment on distributive justice grounds would not apply. This was precisely what Charlie Gard’s parents were proposing. It would have been a very plausible argument that there much better uses of severely constrained NHS resources than providing continued artificial ventilation and expensive intensive care, together with experimental treatment to Charlie Gard. But that was not the argument of Great Ormond St, the doctors or the judge. Instead, they relied on the concept of death being in Charlie’s interests. While I believe that is a possibly sound argument, I have to admit I am not convinced it applies in the case of Charlie Gard.

Here is a thought experiment to put pressure on that argument. If life is really not worth living, it is cruel to allow an individual to continue to live. It is better for that individual to die. Now imagine euthanasia was legal in the UK, as it is the Netherlands. And imagine Charlie does not need medical treatment to keep him alive, though his cognitive impairment is the same. His parents are willing to feed him and keep him alive. If his life were really not worth living, the Court ought to order  euthanasia in his interests. But that would be wrong.

Of course, one might respond in this fictional version, there are no burdens of medical treatment to cause Charlie to suffer. But are the burdens of medical treatment, with modern pain relief, sedation really that great? I find it hard to believe, especially when we see people who spend their lives on artificial ventilators saying their lives are worth living.

Here is another thought experiment. Imagine that we discovered a baby like Charlie Gard in the US with an identical condition. However, he was already being treated with experimental treatment. Would we think it cruel and unusual, a kind of torture, such that treatment should immediately be stopped so that he could “die with dignity”? I doubt it. Such experimental treatment, under sedation and analgesia, would continue for a period of weeks or months until it was clear whether it was providing a benefit.

Taking best interests alone, the slim chance of life is almost always more in the patient’s interests than a definite death. Where an experimental treatment exists, steps ought to be taken to minimise the suffering and side effects of the treatment. However, when the alternative is death, the most appropriate justification for denying treatment is justice, not that it is in the best interests of the person to die. And when an individual, or others on their behalf, is willing to fund the full costs of the treatment, the argument from justice does not apply.

Of course, in the case of Charlie Gard, it is possible that the treatment might have some effect or that he could continue to live for a long time in a severely brain damaged state with the support of mechanical ventilation. If long term mechanical ventilation does not provide sufficient benefit to warrant its high cost, that would be a reason to deny life prolonging medical treatment. But it is not a reason to prevent his parents taking him to the US to take the one chance of a better life, even if that chance is very small.

April 26, 2017 at 07:41AM

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Debate Reponse: Charlie Gard, Interests and Justice – an alternative view

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Dominic Wilkinson

Responding to Julian Savulescu

The sad and difficult case of Charlie Gard, which featured in the media last week, is the latest in a series of High Court and Family court cases when parents and doctors have disagreed about medical treatment for a child. Doctors regard the treatment as “futile” or “potentially inappropriate”. Parents, in contrast, want treatment to continue, perhaps in the hope that the child’s condition will improve. In the Charlie Gard case, the judge, Justice Francis, rejected Charlie’s parents’ request for him to travel to the US for an experimental medical treatment. He ruled that life-sustaining treatment could be withdrawn, and Charlie allowed to die.

Two reasons

As Julian Savulescu argues,there are two different ethical reasons for health professionals to refuse to provide requested medical treatment for a child. The first of these is based on concern for the best interests of the patient. Treatment should not be provided if it would harm the child. The second reason is on the basis of distributive justice. In a public health system with limited resources, providing expensive or scarce treatment would potentially harm other patients since it would mean that those other patients would be denied access to treatment.

The importance of resources

When doctors and the courts consider cases of ostensibly “futile” treatment, they often focus exclusively on best interests. That is understandable, since the prevailing ethical and legal frameworks largely ignore the question of limited resources. The courts have no mechanism, statute or precedent, to allow them to assess whether or not a treatment would be too expensive or of too little benefit to provide it. Professional guidelines tell doctors that they should base decisions on the interests of the child.

In many cases, however, it is uncertain whether or not treatment would be in the interests of the patient. There may be much stronger and clearer arguments to limit treatment on the basis of finite and scarce medical resources.

Take, for example, infants with a severe congenital condition causing paralysis, spinal muscular atrophy. Infants with the most severe forms of condition are unable to breathe without the help of an artificial ventilator. They will be dependent on machines to breathe for the rest of their lives. They are unable to move, to speak. They may not even be able to open their eyes. In such cases, courts in the UK have decided that continued medical treatment would not be in the best interests of the child (see for example, this decision last year). Yet, in other countries long term artificial ventilation is provided for children with spinal muscular atrophy. Such children, though profoundly disabled, appear to value their lives, and judge it a life worth living. Life-sustaining treatment appears at least potentially in the best interests of a child with spinal muscular atrophy.

However, life-long artificial ventilation is extremely expensive. It is estimated to cost around £240,000 per year to provide home ventilation. This figure is almost ten times higher than the usual maximum cost of affordable treatment in the National Health Service.

To take an even clearer hypothetical example: a child with a relapsed form of cancer develops organ failure. Without a liver transplant he will die within a matter of weeks. With a transplant, he will potentially recover in the short term; however, given his cancer, he will nevertheless die within the next six months. Would it be in the child’s best interests to receive the liver transplant? Potentially. However, if the liver would match another patient, it would be unreasonable to give him the organ, it could harm someone else who misses out. There is a severe shortage of livers for transplantation. About 10% of patients on liver transplant waiting lists die before a liver is found. Ninety per cent of children who receive a liver transplant (in the absence of cancer) survive for at least 5 years.

Overlapping and diverging reasons

The different ethical reasons that might justify a decision not to provide treatment might come together, or they might come apart. The figure below shows the relationship between the two.

If treatment would be both affordable and in the child’s interests (region A in the figure), it should unquestionably be provided. If treatment would be neither affordable, nor in the child’s interests (region D), treatment should not be started or should be stopped. But sometimes the picture is more mixed. Perhaps long-term ventilation in spinal muscular atrophy is in region B, possibly in the interests of the patient, but unaffordable? In the Charlie Gard case, parents had crowdsourced funding to enable him to be taken to the US for treatment. That would potentially mean that the resource issue is not relevant. Perhaps then treatment would be in region C, affordable, but contrary to interests?

Best interests and life-sustaining treatment

Julian Savulescu argues that “taking best interests alone, the slim chance of life is almost always more in the patient’s interests than a definite death.” On that view, if resources aren’t an issue, there is virtually no situation when treatment would be contrary to the best interests of the patient. Is that right?

One way of thinking about what would be in someone’s best interests is to imagine a set of scales. On right side of the scales are the reasons in favour of a course of action – the benefits. On the left side of the scales are the reasons against. Which side is heavier? Which way will the scales tip?

Julian’s view that a slim chance of life is always better than no chance, would be correct if there were no down side to providing treatment. If it were a question of weighing a small chance of a positive outcome, against an empty scale on the other side, the balance would be tipped in favour of treatment, even if the chance (or magnitude) of benefit were tiny.

But there are often significant negatives in the balance. Those negatives can arise from the child’s illness, or from the medical treatment.

Being kept alive in intensive care is not pleasant. Although we do our best to provide pain relief, sedation, care and comfort to gravely ill children and babies, that ability is finite and imperfect. Children on long-term ventilation often appear uncomfortable at least part of the time. They have frequent needles and invasive procedures. They may be distressed and unable to communicate the source of their distress.

As Julian points out, we could remove all possibility of suffering from procedures or from a child’s illness by providing continuous deep sedation – perhaps akin to general anaesthesia. However, in taking such steps to remove the weight from the left side of the scale, we would also, in many cases, remove the positive reasons in favour of treatment, (the right side of the scale). If we are providing experimental treatment to a brain injured child, how would we know if it is working if the child is kept permanently unconscious? If, on the other hand, the reason to continue treatment is because it is judged that the limited conscious experiences available to a severely impaired child are judged to still give them a life worth living, anaesthesia would remove even these benefits.

Experimental treatment, best interests and children

The reason why these decisions come to the court at all is because we do not think as a society that parents’ have an absolute right to make medical decisions for their children. We do allow parents to make many decisions. Parents are given broad discretion about how to raise their children, how to feed them, how to educate them, whether or not to immunise them. Parents will not always make the best choices, but for the most part the state will not interfere or intervene. However, where parents’ decisions run a significant risk of causing substantial harm, their decisions must be challenged, if necessary in a court. For example, that is the reason why Jehovah’s Witness parents are not permitted to refuse a blood transfusion for their child.

When it comes to experimental treatment, there may be different views among health professionals about how to weigh up the chance of benefit against the burdens of the treatment. Some think that the chance is worth taking. Others may feel that standard treatment or no treatment is the better bet. In the face of such disagreement, the decision properly belongs to the parents. Assuming the treatment is affordable, (and the parents want it), it should be provided.

However, where no professionals think that the experimental treatment is worth pursuing and where parents’ request for treatment is unreasonable, they should be overruled.

Experimental treatment, best interests and adults

In treatment decisions for young children, the court focuses on best interests, because the wishes of the child are unknown. They can’t tell us their views, and we feel that it is important to protect the child from harm. The situation is different for adults, since they may be able to tell us their own views.

We might imagine, for examine, an adult equivalent of the Charlie Gard case, where a young adult had a progressive brain disorder and was now unconscious and dependent on life support in intensive care. In such a case, we would likely focus primarily on what we know about his views on treatment. An adult’s wishes might conflict with what would be in his best interests. He might have had idiosyncratic or unreasonable views. He might have made an unwise choice. But, as long as he had the capacity to make decisions, (and as long as the treatment option was affordable), we should try to respect those wishes. So, in this imagined version, if there is good evidence that the adult Charlie had wanted to be kept alive on a ventilator, if he would have wanted to pursue experimental treatment in the US, despite the apparently slim chance of benefit – treatment should be provided or continued.

These decisions about life-sustaining treatment for critically ill children are fraught and difficult for all involved. Parents are, rightly, at the heart of the decisions that are made daily in intensive care units up and down the country. Their views about treatment are important, and their wishes are usually followed.

However, there are limits.

Sadly, reluctantly, doctors and judges do sometimes conclude and are justified in concluding that slim chances of life are not always better than dying. Providing comfort, avoiding painful and unhelpful medical treatments, supporting the child and family for their remaining time. Sometimes that is the best that we can do, and the only ethical course.

April 26, 2017 at 07:41AM

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How Brands Build Enduring Relationships

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How Brands Build Enduring Relationships

It can be said that good brands are well known, but great brands are well loved. The love affair between customers and their brands, as with any relationship, takes work. Great brands don’t merely talk the talk when it comes to their unique customer-centric mindset. They walk the walk by the effort and sacrifice they do, corporately, “to keep it real” for the customer.

Earlier on Branding Strategy Insider, we looked at how brands like Delta and Campbell Soup were showing how they could relate to their customer’s reality by telling their stories through some very creative and engaging marketing campaigns. But what’s important to remember is that as clever and well-produced as these campaigns are, they are simply an accurate reflection of the brand’s attitude of care and respect for its customer.

Virtually all successful brands employ some combination of best practices to care for their customers, such as customer hotlines, live chats, blog posts, online reviews, social media and relationship management. Great brands go further, incorporating traditions, practices and rituals that pursue customer affection while keeping the main tenants of the brand alive and well.

During my work on the Home Depot account, I learned a valuable lesson from this big box brand in this regard. For instance, Home Depot requires all its non-store associates to spend a couple of weeks “wearing the orange apron” serving customers in one of their 2,275+ stores. It doesn’t matter if you’re a top executive or an assistant’s assistant in their home office in Atlanta, you wear the apron and you serve the customer. In so doing, you experience Home Depot for the first time from the brand’s perspective–to give you a greater appreciation of the customer’s perspective.

Attend any company meeting and you’ll understand why this practice is so powerful—an auditorium filled with loud brand-passionate orange apron-clad believers ready to do what it takes to keep their chain #1 and their customers happy.

There are other corporate cultural imprints, such as referring to their home office the “Store Support Center” (again, putting the emphasis on serving others) rather than “headquarters.” And inside this massive complex, you’ll find an exhibit dedicated to the Home Depot story and experience, as impressive as anything you would walk through in a large, metropolitan science and industry museum.

These and other practices are designed to inculcate and keep alive the brand’s culture, passed on from the founders, of customer service, passion, and can-do attitude with each of the 385,000+ associates that wear the Home Depot apron.

As the brand continues to grow and become more successful, keeping the passion and connection alive between its roots and its branches becomes an increasing challenge. Success can actually become the enemy of brands for a variety of reasons:

  • The original mission becomes muddled by way of growth via mergers and acquisitions of other brands (and their corporate cultures),
  • Changes of ownership or leadership with a different set of priorities,
  • Growth directions and line extensions that may dilute or diminish,
  • Growing too fast to adequately train and equip associates to maintain the same standards of quality and service the brand is known for,
  • Or just complacency brought about by over-confidence

Home Depot experienced such a challenge a few years ago, precipitated by a leadership change, and as a result, its reputation for customer service was called into question. With another regime change, however, customer service was again given priority and, post-recession, the brand has continued to thrive.

Of course, Home Depot is not alone in the pursuit of keeping itself real for the customer. Great examples abound with great brands:

  • Southwest Airlines and Wegmans treating their employees as number one which inspires them to make their customers feel number one.
  • Zappos’ singular goal: Make the customer happy no matter what. Period.
  • Nordstrom’s “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service” with attention to detail and employee empowerment.
  • Ritz Carlton’s culture of ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
  • IKEA’s communication of its high standards regarding protection for the environment and employee working conditions throughout its organization and with all of its suppliers.
  • Laura Ashley’s ways of personalized thank you’s to its customers.

When brands meet customers where they’re at, and work uniquely and diligently for their business, their hearts and their loyalty will follow. Great brands go the extra mile and are not only well known, but well loved.

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April 26, 2017 at 04:47AM

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A judge just blocked Trump’s order on sanctuary cities — but they still offer only limited protection

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On Tuesday, a California judge blocked Trump’s order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, places that refuse to cooperate with ICE and other authorities enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. 

Lawyers representing San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that Trump’s executive order cracking down on sanctuary cities violates jurisdictions’ 10th Amendment rights and could deprive them of billions of dollars in federal funding. The judge’s preliminary injunction blocking the order will stay in place while the lawsuit moves through court.

It’s the latest development in the fight between some cities that have decided to stand with their unauthorized immigrant communities, and authorities that enforce the nation’s immigration laws. 

Jersey City, home to an estimated 22,000 unauthorized immigrants, has taken steps to strengthen and codify its sanctuary status, openly defiant of immigration officials. 

But even then, in many cases, Jersey City may still be powerless to protect undocumented immigrants.

The limits of sanctuary

Nearly 10 years after a woman from the Philippines settled in New Jersey, there was a knock on her door.

She had come to Jersey City in part because that’s where immigrants have settled for more than 400 years. It’s a city so synonymous with immigrants that, back in 1996, it declared itself a “sanctuary” for unauthorized US residents.

But on this January morning in 2016, the woman, who spoke with Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, was about to experience the limits of a place declaring itself a sanctuary city.

It was before sunrise. She had just fallen asleep, having come back recently from her job on the overnight shift.

The woman’s sister let two men into their apartment. They were from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a moment later they were in her bedroom.

“I thought it was just a dream,” the woman told Business Insider.

The agents showed her a photo of herself. There was no denying it. She had been a permanent resident but lost that status after being convicted and serving time for possessing methamphetamines. So they took her away to the local ICE headquarters and then placed her in Hudson County jail, only a few miles from her home.

A city of immigrants takes a stand

Jersey City, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, is said to be the most culturally diverse city in America. Forty percent of its population is foreign-born. Its streets are home to immigrants from Italy, Cuba, the Philippines, Poland, India, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Jaime VazquezJersey City has been a place for immigrants since before there was a United States, dating all the way back to when the Dutch settled the area in the 1600s. Tens of millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island, which is within the city’s borders, and many stuck around in Jersey City.

All this at least partly explains the actions of Jaime Vazquez in 1996, when the US was tightening its immigration policies, denying public assistance to immigrants and calling on government employees to report anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally. Vazquez, an outspoken, pro-immigrant councilman from Puerto Rico, wrote up a resolution to declare the city a “safe haven” for immigrants and to discourage city employees from reporting people suspected of violating immigration laws.

“It’s un-American to have people living in fear because some social worker is going to report them to immigration. That’s almost Gestapo-ish,” Vazquez told the North Jersey newspaper The Record at the time. “Some people say that’s an extreme comparison. OK, maybe. But the Nazis started somewhere.”

By passing a resolution that declared the city would not help enforce federal immigration efforts, Jersey City had become a sanctuary city.

“The resolution embodies what the Statue of Liberty stands for: compassion, liberty and freedom,” Vazquez, who died last year, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Then-Jersey City council president Tom DeGise was equally emphatic.

“We wanted to make a statement that, in our ethnically diverse city, we didn’t want any city agency ferreting out illegal immigrants,” he told The Christian Science Monitor at the time. “My job as a school teacher is to educate the children in front of me, not be in a position of saying, ‘Are you an illegal immigrant?'”

But, as Jersey City’s current government recently learned, symbolic gestures can do only so much, and now DeGise is on the other side.

The power of financial incentives

As Jersey City was first calling itself a sanctuary in 1996, nearby Hudson County Correctional Facility began housing immigration detainees under a so-called intergovernmental service agreement. As a contractor for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Hudson County, where Jersey City is located, began providing housing, safekeeping, subsistence, and other services for INS detainees in exchange for $77 per detainee per detained day.

DeGise has a different job now and a different perspective along with it. He’s Hudson County’s executive, and in this role he says he supports the county’s efforts to help ICE detain unauthorized immigrants.

Inmates are seen at the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, New Jersey.It was under his leadership, in 2009, that the Hudson County Department of Corrections entered into an agreement with ICE known as 287(g) to honor immigration detainers, which are requests that local authorities hold people suspected of violating immigration laws until ICE can pick them up and detain them. The agreement also allows the county to identify noncitizens who are subject to removal from the US. Around the same time, the county’s detainee-day rate also increased to $110 a day from $90.

The 287(g) agreement essentially deputizes three corrections officers from Hudson County to function as immigration agents and allows them to interrogate, charge, and detain any immigrant already at the Hudson County jail.

When people are arrested for indictable offenses in Jersey City, their fingerprints are scanned and sent to the FBI, which then shares them with ICE. If their fingerprints come up in an ICE database as somebody who is wanted on suspicion of an immigration violation, then ICE can issue a detainer. Sanctuary status can’t prevent that.

In June 2016, the county said it probably wouldn’t renew its contract with ICE. “Barring overwhelming evidence presented by ICE of its law enforcement value or of the need for county, rather than ICE personnel to carry out this function, the 287(g) agreement will not be renewed,” county spokesman Jim Kennelly told The Jersey Journal at the time.

But the following month, the county did renew the contract.

“I was convinced that it’s a very effective tool in trying to keep some bad guys out of our communities and off of our streets,” DeGise told NJTV News in defense of the agreement.

DeGise declined Business Insider’s requests for an interview, but in the 20 years since he backed Jersey City’s sanctuary status, his change of rhetoric shows the limitations of sanctuary-city policy.

Even though Jersey City is a sanctuary city, its residents are at a higher risk of being detained and deported because ICE is embedded into the county’s corrections system.

Amid concerns from advocates that the county would have to abide by new national guidelines introduced by Trump that allow ICE to prioritize just about every unauthorized immigrant for detention, the county issued a statement about a new policy it adopted that says it plans to continue following the priorities for detention it signed onto when it re-entered the agreement with ICE in July. According to those earlier standards, county correction would flag for detention only people who committed serious offenses.

In an email to Business Insider, Kennelly wrote, “The only reports sent to ICE by Hudson County Corrections are limited to serious offenses, laid out in a county policy put in place after the new Presidential administration took office.”

The policy, however, also laid out guidelines for whom the county would screen and process — included on this list are people who have been arrested on suspicion of any misdemeanor that could result in at least three months of jail time.

“I’m a liberal Democrat, one who thinks that serious criminals, especially those who commit sexual assaults against women and children or engage in violent felonies don’t deserve to remain in this country to prey on the very immigrants we cherish in Hudson County,” DeGise said in a statement.

But critics say 287(g) is more of a public-relations program for ICE to say it is ridding the streets of dangerous immigrants, and they dispute the characterization — people arrested for minor offenses wind up in detention all the time, advocates say.

Rosa Santana, Chia-Chia Wang, Johanna Calle Jersey City immigrant advocatesRosa Santana, a detainee-visitation program coordinator at First Friends of New Jersey and New York, tells Business Insider she has visited with detainees who are in jail for traffic violations. “We have heard of clients who called the police for a domestic violence dispute and then both parties were detained and ended up in immigration detention,” she says.

Rev. Eugene P. Squeo, a longtime immigrant advocate who visits Hudson County detention center twice a week, says he often hears stories that fathers who support their wives and children sometimes spend months to years in detention for minor offenses.

Kennelly says ICE can detain whomever it wants, including people who have committed lesser crimes, and the county will house these detainees. Hudson County has no hand in choosing these detainees, he says. “With 287(g), we exercise very careful discretion in the choices of foreign-born individuals we report to ICE who are drawn from the arrested persons brought to our facility by local police,” he writes.

Advocates say that, ultimately, the reason Hudson County kept its 287(g) contract with ICE is that the county didn’t want to bite the hand that feeds it.

Chia-Chia Wang, the organizing and advocacy director at American Friends Service Committee who is also head of the group’s Immigrant Rights Program, tells Business Insider that at a rate of $110 a day for each detainee, it behooves the county to identify more immigrants to be detained.

“The reason DeGise decided to renew the partnership with ICE was for the $20.5 million the county received in 2015 from the federal government for incarcerating immigrant detainees,” Eugene G. Drayton, the president of the Hoboken Branch of the NAACP, wrote in an op-ed article for The Jersey Journal. “The county profits financially when, rather than being released, immigrants whose criminal charges have been dismissed or otherwise resolved, continue to be held on immigration matters.”

At the end of March, nearly half — about 600 — of the almost 1,200 inmates at the jail were being held on ICE detainers, according to The Jersey Journal. While the jail’s overall population has been dropping since January thanks to a new law that says only pretrial defendants deemed a danger to the public or to a witness may be detained, immigration advocates suspect this makes room for more immigrant detainees to occupy beds there.

“It seems that Hudson County is in a race to fill empty criminal defendant beds with immigrant detainees to collect federal cash,” Wang wrote in an op-ed article for The Jersey Journal.

Kennelly says, however, that the county’s budget is huge — about a half-billion dollars — and, after expenses, the county nets only $8 million in income for housing ICE detainees. What’s more, he says the county hasn’t received any indication from ICE that Hudson County’s jail would not be used if the county were to end its involvement with 287(g).

And while the bond rules are freeing up beds, he says the county’s focus for the future is repositioning its jail as a regional center for drug treatment for inmates throughout the state and region.
Jersey City pro immigrant rally

Meanwhile, Jersey City has a financial incentive to protect its 22,000 unauthorized immigrants.

In the New York metro area, which includes Jersey City, 36% of service jobs like making and serving food, working in offices and retail shops, and caring for children and the elderly are done by immigrants, both with documentation and without. And the concentration of immigrants in this area working blue-collar jobs like construction, truck driving, and factory work is even higher at 50% of the working class, CityLab reports.

Immigrants living in the US illegally aren’t just working for small businesses, either. Immigration expert Harry Pachon once estimated that up to 10% of such immigrants run their own businesses. If true, that would suggest there are more than 2,000 unauthorized entrepreneurs in Jersey City.

A new city under a new administration

You can grab a fresh, hot samosa from one of the many restaurants lining Newark Avenue in the “Little India” section of Journal Square, and, after a quick bus ride up Central Avenue, wash it down with a cafe con leche from one of the Latin American bakeries in The Heights.

Jersey City New JerseyJersey City is also changing, with a waterfront rapidly becoming home to hipsters and finance workers priced out of New York neighborhoods like Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

“A lot of diverse folks live in proximity to each other, and they call them neighbors and friends and family,” Jersey City Council President Rolando R. Lavarro tells Business Insider.

But the new administration has brought new fears to those subject to deportation.

From the outset of Trump’s campaign for the US presidency, he has vowed to deport the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally using a “deportation force” and crack down on cities that provide a safe haven for these people. His immigration policies as president so far appear to be an attempt to bear these promises out.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” Trump said in his executive order on immigration. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”

Trump’s executive order to withhold federal grant money from sanctuary jurisdictions was reiterated by Sessions, the attorney general, who specified that Department of Justice grants could be at risk. Just last year, Jersey City received a grant of almost $1.9 million from the DOJ to support the hiring of 15 new police officers.

Threats to federal grants in sanctuary cities have been met with support by numerous conservative politicians, including New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

“Elected officials can’t be allowed to pick and choose the laws they wish to comply with,” Christie said during his call-in radio show. “And if they say they’re not going to change, I can guarantee them something: Donald Trump is going to take away federal funding if you don’t comply with the law.”

The New Jersey governor also said he would veto “on arrival” any legislation seeking to reimburse sanctuary cities for any lost federal funds, calling such a bill “outrageous” and “political pandering.”

But Jersey City decided to fight back. It has attempted to fortify its sanctuary status into an official law.

“I think it took [Jersey City] a little while to realize that, while in name you might be a ‘sanctuary city,’ in real practice you need to put a bit more than just a sentiment in there to actually do something,” says Johanna Calle, the program coordinator at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

ice deportationIn February, the city codified its official status as a sanctuary city into law.

Mayor Steven Fulop signed his own executive order that, among other things, bars the city’s employees, agents, and law enforcement from honoring ICE detainers.

Fulop’s order also bars city agents from assisting in civil immigration-enforcement operations; requesting information about anyone’s immigration status unless it’s required by state or federal law, regulation, directive, or court order; or allowing federal immigration officers access to municipal facilities or databases without a warrant.

“In today’s climate, despite threats, it’s just a strong statement from Jersey City saying that we won’t be bullied and we won’t be mistreated and we’re going to stand by the values that are important to us,” Fulop said at the executive-order signing.

The real value in sanctuary-city policy

Lavarro, the Jersey City council president, says Jersey City has never aided ICE before. But by codifying its sanctuary-city status, the city is officially forbidding its police force from helping ICE.

But local officials can’t stop federal immigration agents from entering the city and detaining immigrants themselves. Advocates say the real value in sanctuary-city status is its symbolism. It sends the message that local police officers are on their side, which historically has made immigrants more willing to cooperate.

The liberal Center for American Progress has found crime to be lower in counties that do not honor ICE detainers than in counties that do. And unauthorized immigrants have been found to commit crimes at a rate lower than that of native-born Americans.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signs an executive order declaring the city aFulop tells Business Insider that making Jersey City a sanctuary city was imperative because he wanted to ensure there was a sense of community in which people felt comfortable they could rely on city resources, which Trump’s executive order threatens.

Jersey City’s director of public safety, James Shea, tells Business insider there is no question the city has seen instances in which fear of deportation has hindered law enforcement.

“The big challenge in policing under our system of law isn’t just apprehension — it’s conviction,” Shea says. “And that requires cooperation from the community in the form of witnesses, canvassing, sharing their video cameras with us from their homes or businesses. It requires a whole team effort from the community. Anything that helps the community feel comfortable making that effort works for us.”

Hopes for the future

After she was picked up by ICE, the woman from the Philippines spent 11 months in the Hudson County jail until a judge declared she’d most likely be persecuted if deported. She won a “withholding of removal,” essentially meaning she can stay in the US and apply for a job.

Jersey City rally for immigrants“When I came here, I had my pockets full of hopes, because living in the Philippines is really hard,” she said. The woman is transgender, and the Philippines are not known for being accepting of LGBT people.

She says she’s been clean of drugs for five years and wants to stay in the US. She says the US needs immigrants as much as immigrants need this county.

“I want to see this country be united,” she says. “I want this country to still have immigrants because immigrants built this country, and I want this country to remain diverse. I want us to be more united because when we’re united we’re stronger, and we should not just let one person decide for the lives of the many.”

SEE ALSO: Trump’s crackdown on ‘sanctuary cities’ is creating a chasm among police

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April 26, 2017 at 03:39AM

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from Rachel Gillett

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New York City freelancer law to take effect May 15

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by Zach Morahan and Shannon Kane

New York City’s new “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” which goes into effect May 15, requires written contracts for many freelance jobs worth $800 or more and provides for stiff monetary remedies if the hiring party tries to avoid paying the freelancer for work performed.

Under the new law, a “freelance worker” means any person or organization composed of no more than one person who is hired as an independent contractor in exchange for compensation. Commissioned sales representatives and attorneys are excluded from the definition of freelance worker. The definition of “hiring party” excludes foreign, federal, state, and local municipalities.

The law requires a hiring party to secure a written contract with a freelancer when the job is to perform services worth more than $800. The $800 threshold can be reached based on a single project or multiple projects, including work performed within the previous 120 days.

Regarding payment, the law makes it unlawful to fail to pay the freelancer for services as required under the contract or, if the contract is silent on the time of payment, within 30 days of the freelancer’s performance of the work. The law also makes it unlawful to condition payment on the freelancer accepting less than the full contractual payment.

Costs of violations

Under the law, a freelancer can file a complaint with the director of New York City’s Office of Labor Standards or file a lawsuit. A freelancer who prevails is entitled to damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs. Other penalties include the following:

  • A hiring party that fails to secure a written contract with a freelancer when required will be liable for a $250 penalty (in addition to other damages for other breaches, if proven) plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • A hiring party that fails to pay a freelancer money owed under the contract (or within 30 days of performance of the services if the contract is silent on that term) will be liable for double damages and injunctive relief plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • A hiring party that retaliates against a freelancer will be liable for damages equal to the value of the contract “for each violation” plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • A “pattern or practice” of violations will result in a $25,000 civil penalty, payable to the city’s general fund.

For more information on New York City’s new freelancer law, see the December 2016 issue of New York Employment Law Letter.

Zach Morahan and Shannon Kane are attorneys with Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP, in Binghamton, New York. They can be reached at zmorahan@cglawoffices.com and skane@cglawoffices.com.

 

April 26, 2017 at 04:00AM

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from New York Employment Law Letter

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