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Newark Litigation and Appeals Law Blog

Complementary dispute resolution in New Jersey

What is commonly referred to as alternative dispute resolution in other states is known as complementary dispute resolution in New Jersey. This difference in legal terminology is due to the fact that the New Jersey courts view dispute resolution as a complement to trial proceedings rather than an alternative to them.

Complementary dispute resolution proceedings involve several different types. The most commonly utilized include settlement hearings, arbitration and mediation. In a settlement proceeding, the parties will appear before a neutral third party who will suggest a possible settlement to resolve the dispute. Mediators will try to assist the parties by facilitating communication between them, but have no power to render a decision. In arbitration, the parties can present their sides to a neutral third party who then will issue a decision which may or may not be binding, depending upon the circumstances.

New Jersey business litigation

Although various business disputes can be expected, dealing with these can be handled effectively to ensure that the best interests of your company are considered. It is important to recognize that approach can have an important impact on the outcome, making experienced legal input a priority. While alternative dispute resolution methods are not always effective, they can limit your risk of going to court and depending on a third party to decide the outcome. Working with a lawyer who understands your goals and needs can be essential.

There are various areas in which a business can face litigation, both from internal and external situations. It may be important to address employment disputes promptly in order to maintain morale and productivity. You may find the need for legal action to mitigate situations involving harassment or discrimination among employees. You might also need to defend your company from unfounded claims in such cases. A thorough understanding of employment law and issues is important for limiting the impact on your company.

Filing an appeal in New Jersey civil court

New Jersey residents may be interested in how a civil appeal is filed. The courts have strict rules on structure and pre-defined time limits. Knowing the regulations and requirements may make it more likely that an appeal will be heard.

Final judgments by a state administrative agency or those filed with the trial court may be appealed. The finality of the decision is based on the final resolution of all issues involved in the case.

An overview of legal malpractice

An unexpected outcome in a New Jersey court case might cause an individual to wonder whether a lawyer has acted incompetently or inappropriately. Concerns might range from wondering if there may have been a conflict of interests to wondering if a lawyer was unaware of the law in a matter. Whatever the reason for this concern, there might be reason to explore the possibility of legal malpractice.

Legal malpractice action may be brought if there is an allegation of negligence in a lawyer's practice of the law. A plaintiff in such a case may bring the action due to a belief that a standard of care imposed by law was not provided during the case in question, resulting in that individual suffering some type of injury. A legal malpractice action is used to seek damages in connection with the case in question.

What is Wrongful Termination?

Many people who have been fired from their job may wonder whether the action constituted "wrongful termination." While each state has a different set of laws, many of these laws coincide. New Jersey, for instance, is like other at-will employment states. This means that either the employer or the employee may sever their relationship at any time and for almost any reason. This doesn't mean, however, that it's not possible to file a wrongful termination suit in the state.

While individuals in at-will employment states have fewer options when it comes to wrongful termination cases, some options do exist. If an employer fires a worker based on discriminatory practices, such as making their decision based on race, sex, age, color or any other federally protected characteristic, the terminated employee can file a claim for wrongful termination.

Tipped wage may lead to harassment

As New Jersey food servers know, tips are an important way of increasing their hourly income. The tipped minimum wage in many states is $2.13 per hour. Even though employers must make up the difference between this amount and the minimum wage, getting good tips may put the food server in a position to endure sexual harassment on the job.

According to a report by a restaurant workers' rights group, only a small fraction of women work in the industry, but they account for 37 percent of sexual harassment complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Categories protected from job-related discrimination

According to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of several different protected categories. Some of the protected categories include national origin, race, color, ancestry and nationality. An employer is also barred from discriminating during job-related actions on the basis of characteristics like civil union status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation and gender expression.

Further, the New Jersey law protects people with mental or physical disabilities including illnesses from being subject to discrimination in the workplace. An employer is also prohibited from denying employment or promotion to a person because they are pregnant. People with certain hereditary cellular or blood traits are similarly protected from discrimination in the workplace.

At-will employment and exceptions to the rule

Since the 1800s, states have practiced the concept of at-will employment. This is based on employers and employees being on equal footing in terms of bargaining power. In practice, however, the courts recognize that as employment positions and employees' skills become more specialized, it becomes more difficult for them to find new jobs if their employment is terminated. Because of this, many states, including New Jersey, have made exceptions to at-will employment policies.

There are three types of exceptions, and New Jersey has two of these. Implied contract exceptions refer to employers providing oral or written implications of job security even if no contract exists. Under public-policy exceptions, employers wrongfully terminate employment if the reason for the termination is against the policy of the state. The first state to adopt public-policy exceptions was California when an employee was fired for not committing perjury when he was called to testify in court regarding his employer's unlawful actions.

Determining a lawyer's competency in New Jersey

New Jersey residents who believe that their attorney did not adequately protect their legal interests in a case may have the option to file a legal malpractice claim. Such a claim can be filed for various reasons. For instance, if repeated attempts of communication with the attorney have yielded no results, then that may constitute grounds for legal malpractice. However, if there is a valid reason why an attorney did not contact a client, the issue could be resolved without resorting to litigation.

Each state requires that attorneys are able to do their job at a basic competent level. In the event that a legal professional has not competently performed his or her duties to a client, a complaint may be filed with either the state supreme court or bar association. Examples of incompetence may include inappropriately allocating a client's funds, failing to show up to a court hearing or providing false information to a judge or jury. Additionally, if an attorney has engaged in criminal conduct or failed to adequately know the law, these may also be considered indications of incompetence.

Understanding workplace sexual harassment

Most New Jersey employees know that they are protected against sexual harassment in the workplace, but there may be some confusion about the specifics of state and federal law concerning this issue. The Civil Rights Division of the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety defines sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination where a person behaves in an unwanted behavior toward another person. Employees may benefit from learning about how this law applies to the workplace and the steps to seek remedy for violations.

Employers are required to institute policies that protect all of their employees, even temporary or casual ones, from sexual harassment. The may include a harassment reporting policy, prevention training or even steps for an employee to take when confronted with harassment from a customer. When this type of sexual discrimination occurs, an employer failing to address it is in violation of the law.

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