The Top Five Benefits of Employment Mediation

The Top Five Benefits of Employment Mediation

Employment law disputes are highly contentious and involve complex legal issues. Mediation sessions provide the parties with a viable alternative to moving forward with litigation. Employment mediations are informal private or court-ordered sessions to assist the parties in an employment dispute to reach an amicable resolution. The mediator does not decide on any legal issues or make any rulings on who is right and who is wrong. The mediator’s role is a simple one – to help the parties settle their employment dispute.   

1. Avoids Litigation

Mediation allows for flexible and creative solutions tailored to the specific needs of the parties involved. Unlike court-imposed decisions, mediation offers the opportunity to address underlying interests and concerns that may not be recognized or adequately addressed in a legal setting. This flexibility enables parties to craft unique and often more satisfying resolutions.

Mediation can often lead to faster resolutions compared to litigation. Court cases can take a significant amount of time to reach a conclusion due to a backlog of cases. Mediation allows parties to promptly schedule sessions and work towards a resolution at a pace that suits them, potentially saving significant time and emotional energy.

2. Saves Time and Money 

Litigation can be extremely expensive. It involves legal fees, court costs, and other expenses that can accumulate rapidly. Mediation is typically a more cost-effective alternative. It usually requires fewer financial resources, as the parties usually share the cost of a mediator. By avoiding the expenses associated with litigation, mediation can save parties a significant amount of money.

3. Fair and Neutral 

A crucial aspect of mediation is that mediators are expected to be fair and neutral. The role of a mediator is to facilitate the mediation process and assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediators are required to maintain impartiality throughout the mediation process. They do not take sides or favor any particular party. Impartiality ensures that all parties have an equal opportunity to express their views, concerns, and interests. Mediators approach the mediation process with neutrality, meaning they do not have a personal interest or stake in the outcome. They do not advocate for any specific solution or impose their own opinions on the parties. Neutrality allows mediators to focus on facilitating open communication, promoting understanding, and helping the parties explore options that are acceptable to everyone involved.

4. Improves Relationships

Mediation focuses on resolving conflicts in a collaborative and non-adversarial manner. It promotes open communication, understanding, and empathy between parties. By working together to find a mutually acceptable solution, mediation helps preserve relationships that might otherwise be damaged by confrontational approaches.  

5. Confidential Process

Mediation is a confidential process. It provides a safe and private environment for parties to discuss their issues openly without fear of public exposure. This confidentiality encourages honesty and openness, allowing participants to address the core of their concerns more effectively.

Speak With a New Jersey Employment Law Mediator 

To have a successful mediation, it is important to have a mediator that understands both sides of the dispute. Frank A. Custode, Chair of CMS’ Employment Practice, is a New Jersey Court Rule 1:40 qualified mediator. Mr. Custode is a seasoned employment law practitioner with extensive experience representing both employees and employers and therefore, understands the issues that are important to both sides in an employment law dispute. This experience is an asset that helps Mr. Custode assist parties with the amicable resolution of their dispute. If you are in need of an employment law mediation, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.  

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey

It is important to understand how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination because it provides employees with a legal remedy for harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

If an employee is experiencing a hostile work environment, it can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to perform their job duties. It can also create a toxic workplace environment that can affect other employees and the organization as a whole.

Knowing how to prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination can help employees protect their legal rights and hold their employer accountable for harassment and discrimination.

What is a Hostile Work Environment? 

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a hostile work environment occurs when an individual is subjected to harassing conduct based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive or hostile work environment.

The conduct must be unwelcome, offensive, or hostile and can include verbal or physical behavior such as derogatory comments, slurs, threats, intimidation, or physical assault. It may also include non-verbal conduct such as displaying offensive images or engaging in unwelcome touching.

Can You Sue Your Employer For a Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey?

Yes, an employee who has experienced a hostile work environment in New Jersey may sue their employer in court under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In order to have a valid claim, the employee must demonstrate that the harassment was based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, age, or other protected status.

How to Prove a Work Environment is Hostile

To prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employee must generally show that: the employee was subjected to conduct that was severe or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of their employment and create an abusive or hostile work environment; the conduct was based on a protected characteristic such as race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected status under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination; and the conduct was unwelcome and offensive to the employee.

Evidence to prove a hostile work environment claim can include:

  • Testimony from the employee who experienced the harassment;
  • Witness testimony from other employees who witnessed the harassment or were also subjected to it;
  • Documentation of the harassment, such as emails, texts, or other messages;
  • Any formal complaints made by the employee about the harassment to their employer;
  • The employer’s response to the harassment, including any investigation or corrective actions taken;
  • Evidence of any adverse employment actions taken against the employee as a result of their complaints or objections to the harassment.

If an employee can prove a hostile work environment claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, they may be entitled to damages, including lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages.

If You’re a Victim of a Hostile Work Environment an NJ Employment Attorney Can Help

 It is important for employees who believe they are experiencing a hostile work environment to document the harassment and report it to their employer or a human resources representative as soon as possible, and to seek the advice of an experienced New Jersey employment law attorney to protect their legal rights.

The employment attorneys at CMS are trusted counselors who provide important strategic legal advice to their clients. Our attorneys understand their clients’ needs and advocate on their behalf. If you believe you have been subject to unlawful workplace harassment or a hostile work environment, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

How to Handle Reasonable Accommodation Requests

How to Handle Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Federal and state law requires employers to engage in dialogue with employees who seek accommodations due to disability.  An employer’s failure to grant accommodations requests may give rise to legal claims. Therefore, it is important for employees to know their rights and for employers to understand their legal obligations.  

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

The specific reasonable accommodations that are required under the ADA can vary depending on the nature of the disability and the job involved.

Five Tips For Handling Reasonable Accommodation Requests

When it comes to handling reasonable accommodation requests there are some steps that both employees and employers should take. Below we outline five tips for handling reasonable accommodation requests.

1. Review the ADA

It is a good idea to review the Americans with Disabilities Act before making a reasonable accommodation request. This can help an employee understand their rights as an employee or job applicant with a disability, as well as the obligations of the employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

By reviewing the Americans with Disabilities Act, the employee can learn more about the types of accommodations that may be available, and how the accommodation process works. Employees can also learn about the legal protections that are available if their employer fails to provide reasonable accommodation.

2. Request Documentation 

As an employee, it is generally a good idea to provide documentation when making a request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The documentation should establish that the employee has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and explain how the disability limits the employee’s ability to perform their essential job functions.

The documentation can come from a variety of sources, such as a healthcare provider, rehabilitation specialist, or vocational counselor. It should include information about the nature of the employee’s disability, how it affects the employee’s ability to work or apply for a job, and any recommended accommodations that would help the employee perform the essential functions of the employee’s job.  Providing documentation can help expedite the accommodation process and ensure that the employer understands the employee’s disability-related needs.

3. Keep the Request Confidential

It is important to keep accommodation requests confidential to protect the privacy of the employee making the request. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that employers keep confidential any medical information they receive related to an employee’s disability or request for a reasonable accommodation. This includes any documentation provided by the employee or their healthcare provider.

Keeping accommodations requests confidential can also help to prevent discrimination or harassment against employees with disabilities. If an accommodation request is shared with other employees or supervisors who do not have a legitimate need to know, it can lead to stigmatization of the employee.

4. Respond in a Timely Manner 

It is important for employers to respond to accommodation requests in a timely manner. 

Delays in responding to accommodation requests can cause undue hardship to the employee and can negatively impact their ability to perform their job duties or participate in the hiring process.

Employers should have a process in place for handling accommodation requests, which includes responding to requests promptly and working with the employee or job applicant to identify and implement appropriate accommodations. 

If an employer needs more time to respond to an accommodation request, they should communicate with the employee and provide an estimated timeline for a response. It is important for employers to keep the lines of communication open with employees throughout the accommodation process to ensure that their needs are being addressed and to avoid unnecessary delays.

5. Consult an Employment Attorney With Experience in Workplace Accommodations

If an employee is uncertain about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act or feels that their employer has not provided them with a reasonable accommodation, consulting with a New Jersey employment attorney may help clarify the situation and provide guidance on how to proceed.

In addition, an employment attorney can help an employee navigate the accommodation process and ensure that their rights are protected. This can be especially important if an employee feels that they have experienced discrimination or retaliation as a result of their request for accommodation.

Curcio Mirzaian Sirot’s New Jersey employment attorneys use their extensive experience to provide their clients with practical counseling advice that is narrowly tailored to meet their individual needs. If you are in need of counseling regarding reasonable workplace accommodations, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC