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Newark Litigation and Appeals Law Blog

Understanding employer liability in sexual harassment cases

New Jersey employees may be interested in some information on sexual harassment and what makes an employer liable. Depending on the perpetrator of the harassment and the corrective actions of the employer, the answer may vary.

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, sexual harassment at work is defined as uninvited conduct that is sexual in nature or sexual advances that make an employee's work environment hostile or offensive to that employee. The conduct could also intimidate the employee or make performing work-related tasks difficult. Employees are protected against sexual harassment by both federal and state laws. When a company is staffed by less than 15 employees, they are exempt from the federal statute, but state law will still apply.

Housewives star blames conviction on former lawyer

The star of reality show The Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Giudice has filed a $5 million lawsuit against her former bankruptcy lawyer. The lawsuit was filed on in the Manhattan Supreme Court and claims that the lawyer committed legal malpractice by failing to prepare Teresa to meet with creditors and the federal Bankruptcy Court trustee, mishandled the filing of the bankruptcy and prepared amendments that were inaccurate.

In 2009, claiming that they were in debt for $11 million, Teresa and her husband filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy petition was dropped two years later; however, the filing led to charges that the pair had hidden assets. The couple were convicted of fraud and were sentenced to prison. Teresa was sentenced to serve 15 months, and her husband was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison. Teresa is blaming her legal troubles on her former bankruptcy lawyer.

Helping New Jersey residents determine when to find a lawyer

In certain legal proceedings, it may be necessary to have the assistance of an attorney. While an individual may be able to find certain types of legal information on their own online, there is no guarantee that the information is accurate or relevant. Those who decide to represent themselves in a legal proceeding may file a document after a deadline or file the wrong document altogether.

This could have the effect of degrading that individual's rights under the law. Another good reason to hire a lawyer is because of their experience dealing with legal matters. An attorney may be able to access the information needed to resolve a case faster than it may be resolved if an individual represents him or herself. This may help those dealing with a legal matter to save time and money resolving it. Those who do choose to be represented by a lawyer should be given an estimate of how much such representation may cost ahead of time.

Understanding the differences between criminal and civil lawsuits

New Jersey residents may be interested in information concerning the differences between criminal and civil cases in the United States. While both generally involve a dispute inside a courtroom, they have very different motives, goals and parties.

Criminal cases are generally classified as an attempt to punish actions that are doing harm against society as a whole. These cases are not brought by private parties against the party accused of the crime but rather the government. The names of the parties are the prosecution, represented by the government, and the defendant, who is the person accused of the crime. There does not need to be a victim, such as in a murder case. It could be a drunk driving trial that did not result in harm to anyone, but the government still believes that punishment for the crime would be appropriate.

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.

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