Everything You Need to Know About the Americans With Disabilities Act

Everything You Need to Know About the Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.  Legal issues associated with the ADA tend to be complicated.  Accordingly, it is important for you to understand your legal rights and employer obligations in this context.      

What is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)? 

The ADA is a federal law enacted in 1990 in the United States. Its purpose is to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and to ensure equal opportunities in various aspects of life, including employment. The ADA generally protects qualified individuals who can perform the essential functions of their job with or without a reasonable accommodation.  

Who is a Qualified Individual Under the ADA?

Under the ADA, a “qualified individual” refers to a person with a disability who meets the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of a particular employment position that they either hold or seek. To be considered a qualified individual under the ADA, the person must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.

What is Considered an Undue Hardship under the ADA?

Employers are not required to provide a reasonable accommodation if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the business.  Under the ADA, an “undue hardship” refers to significant difficulty or expense that an employer would face in providing a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability. 

Can an Employer Ask For Proof of a Disability?

Yes, under certain circumstances, an employer can request proof of a disability when an employee makes a reasonable accommodations request under the ADA. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind: When an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, the employer is allowed to ask for documentation that verifies the existence of the disability and the need for accommodation. The documentation should come from an appropriate healthcare professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, or other qualified medical expert. However, employers should not ask for more information than is necessary to establish that the individual has a disability and requires an accommodation. 

Can an Employer Ask You About Your Disability?

For current employees, generally, employers should not make disability-related inquiries or conduct medical examinations unless they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.  However, if an employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions is impaired by a medical condition, they may make disability-related inquiries or require a medical examination.

If You Need Help Understanding the ADA, Our Employment Lawyers Can Help

Given the complexity of the ADA and disability discrimination issues, it is important to consult with a New Jersey employment attorney so that you can understand your rights and obligations. If you need any assistance with the ADA and/or believe you may have been subject to disability discrimination in the workplace, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC

How to Handle Workplace Retaliation Claims

How to Handle Workplace Retaliation Claims

It is important to understand the concept of unlawful retaliation and the protections afforded to employees under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”).  Indeed, employers cannot take adverse employment actions (such as terminations or the denial of promotions) against employees because they oppose activities that violate the LAD.  Therefore, the LAD protects employees who oppose unlawful practices in the workplace such as discrimination

Understanding Workplace Retaliation 

Under the LAD, it is an unlawful employment practice to retaliate against any person because the individual (1) has opposed any practices or acts outlawed by the LAD or (2) has or intends to file a complaint, testify, or assist in any proceeding under the LAD.  

Employees who oppose discrimination in the workplace are afforded expansive protection under the LAD. Indeed, employers are prohibited from retaliating against individuals who report discrimination either internally to management or human resources.  Similarly, employers are prohibited from retaliating against individuals who file a complaint alleging discrimination with either federal or state government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.    

Consequences of Workplace Retaliation 

Workplace retaliation can have significant consequences for employees. Such consequences include:

  • Emotional Distress – Retaliation may cause anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Physical Distress – Retaliation may lead to health issues, such as sleep disturbances and headaches.
  • Decreased Job Satisfaction and Morale – Retaliation generally causes job dissatisfaction.   
  • Financial Impact – Retaliation may lead to loss of income, bonuses, and benefits. 

Four Tips on How to Handle Workplace Retaliation Claims 

Some general tips on how to handle workplace retaliation include the following:

  1. Document all incidents.
  2. Review Company policies.
  3. Report the retaliation pursuant to Company policies.
  4. Confer with legal counsel.   

Consult With a New Jersey Employment Retaliation Attorney

If you are experiencing unlawful retaliation, it is recommended to consult with a trusted New Jersey employment retaliation attorney. Consulting with legal counsel may be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including obtaining an honest assessment of your situation and recommended next steps.

If you believe that you have been subject to retaliation in the workplace or have been subject to an unlawful retaliatory discharge and are in need of an experienced and well-versed New Jersey Employment Attorney, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.  

How to Prepare for Employment Mediation: Important Considerations for Employers and Employees

How to Prepare for Employment Mediation: Important Considerations for Employers and Employees

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. 

The need for employment mediation arises whenever there is a dispute between the parties. The mediation sessions typically take place shortly after the filing of a lawsuit.  However, mediation sessions may also take place prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Ideally, the mediation session occurs before the parties have spent a significant amount of time and money on the dispute at issue.    

How to Prepare For Employment Mediation

Employment mediation requires significant preparation.  It is important to go into the session with a strong understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the case as well as a realistic view of the potential value of the case.  

Preparing for Employment Mediation as the Employer 

As an employer, there are several things to do as you prepare for mediation, including:

  • Review of relevant documents, including any contracts, performance evaluations, or other documentation relevant to the matter.
  • Identifying the key legal issues.
  • Make an honest assessment of your position, including the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
  • Make sure you confer with counsel to get a good understanding of the mediation process. 
  • Set goals for what you want to accomplish during the mediation session.
  • Submit a confidential mediation statement to the mediator in advance of the session. 

Preparing for Employment Mediation as the Employee 

For an employee, it is important to try to take the emotion out of a very traumatic situation, considering most employment law mediations deal with an employee’s alleged wrongful termination.  For an employee to have a successful mediation session, the employee needs to be open-minded.  As an employee, there are many things you can do to prepare for the session, including:

  • Make sure your attorney explains the mediation process and the key legal issues to you.
  • Review any relevant documents prior to the session.
  • Set your goals for the session. 
  • Maintain a professional demeanor.  
  • Submit a confidential mediation statement to the mediator in advance of the session. 

Important Benefits For Employers and Employees

There are many benefits to utilizing mediation services for an employment law dispute.  First and foremost, it is a cost-effective way to resolve the dispute.  In addition, it gives the parties an opportunity to tell their side of the dispute and find closure in a confidential setting. Furthermore, mediation services often present the parties with their best opportunity to fashion a settlement that achieves their goals. 

An Employment Attorney With Experience in Mediation Can Help 

To have a successful mediation, it is important to have a mediator who 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 need an employment law mediator, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.  

Can You Legally Get Fired For What You Post on Social Media?

Can You Legally Get Fired For What You Post on Social Media?

In today’s information age, social media is obviously very prevalent.  As such, employees need to be mindful of how social media posts may impact their professional lives. Under certain circumstances, an employer may have a legitimate business reason for terminating an employee’s employment based on their social media postings.   

Can Your Employer Check Your Social Media Accounts? 

Generally speaking, employers in New Jersey have the legal right to check an employee’s or job applicant’s social media accounts under certain conditions. However, there are important considerations and limitations to be aware of:

  • Publicly Accessible Information: Employers can generally view information that is publicly accessible on social media profiles. This includes posts, comments, and information that you have chosen to share publicly.
  • Privacy Settings and Friend Requests: If your social media accounts are set to private or have strict privacy settings, employers cannot request private usernames or passwords. 
  • Employer Policies and Consent: Some employers have policies that govern the use of social media, both in the workplace and in an employee’s personal life. Employees may be required to adhere to these policies, and violating them could have consequences.
  • Monitoring During Employment: Employers generally have the right to monitor employees’ use of company-owned equipment and resources, including work-related social media accounts.

Types of Social Media Posts That Can Affect You Negatively At Work 

Certain types of social media posts can potentially have a negative impact on your professional life, especially if they are deemed inappropriate, offensive, or unprofessional.  Examples include:

  • Discriminatory or Offensive Language: Posts containing discriminatory remarks or offensive language can be highly detrimental to your professional image.
  • Harassment or Bullying: Engaging in or endorsing online harassment or bullying behavior can reflect poorly on your character and may lead to concerns about your conduct in the workplace.
  • Inappropriate Content: This includes explicit content, whether it’s images, videos, or written content. Such posts can be viewed as unprofessional and may violate workplace policies.
  • Confidential or Proprietary Information: Sharing sensitive or confidential information about your workplace, clients, or projects, even unintentionally, can lead to serious consequences and may breach confidentiality agreements.

Best Practices When It Comes to Social Media and Your Job

Maintaining a professional and positive online presence is important in today’s digital age. Here are some best practices for managing social media in relation to your job:

  • Review and Adjust Privacy Settings:  Regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media platforms to control who can see your posts and information. 
  • Separate Personal and Professional Accounts:  Consider creating separate social media accounts for your personal and professional use. Keep your professional accounts focused on industry-related content, networking, and showcasing your expertise.
  • Think Before You Post:  Avoid posting content that could be offensive, controversial, or unprofessional.
  • Stay Informed About Company Policies:  Familiarize yourself with your employer’s policies regarding social media use. Adhering to these policies is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship with your employer.

If You’ve Been Wrongfully Fired We Can Help 

If you believe that you have been wrongfully fired due to your social media posts, you should consult with legal counsel.  If you are in need of legal representation to defend you in a wrongful termination matter and/or are in need of the services of an experienced New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer who will provide you with important practical and legal counseling, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.