Thursday, 25 January 2018

Karen DeSoto – A Woman of Substance, Working for the City in Multiple Ways

After a successful run in the City Council, Karen DeSoto is now an active leader in local politics and seeks new and fresh ideas to successfully manage city services. While seeking candidates for the City Council seats, she feels that it is important to pick someone who can work towards the betterment of the city, in spite of the economically challenging scenario. She believes that the city needs a leader who is creative enough to bring in money for social causes and can fight for every bit to enhance Jersey’s living environment.

An attorney by profession, she also works as a legal analyst on television and is a professor at the New Jersey City University. 

Breaking Barriers

Karen DeSoto is extremely involved in her community and works consistently to contribute towards racial discrimination and civil rights. In her endeavor to bring about a positive change in the society, she speaks openly about various issues on her TV shows as well as during her interactions with students and professionals. She has been the first woman to become the Corporate Council in Jersey and successfully managed a large staff that was responsible for handling over nine departments.

Envisioning a Better Jersey

Moving forward, Karen DeSoto continues her private legal practice but also constantly takes up pro bono cases. She aspires to find the right candidates for heading the City Council so that she is able to further boost her social work with a strong economic backing and a passionate and creative leader. She is surely an inspiration to every young woman who wants to bring about a positive change in her life as well as the society we live in. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

Discrimination Against People with HIV & AIDS

Americans who live with HIV or AIDS tend to face discrimination on the basis of their health in various aspects of their lives, including employment. However, federal as well as state laws across the US protect individuals against such forms of discrimination. 

HIV & AIDS qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Even if the condition is asymptomatic, the employers cannot discriminate on that basis. 

Here are a few more points as elaborated by Karen DeSoto
  • The law states that even if an individual is perceived to have developed AIDS or be HIV-positive, the law protects them from any kind of workplace discrimination. 
  • All public employers as well as private employers that have hired over 15 employees are expected to respect this law. This means that companies to which this law is applicable cannot discriminate during hiring, firing, application procedures, assignment of jobs, promotions, training, and in the provision of benefits and salaries. 
  • If an individual meets the legitimate employment requirements and is able to perform all the critical functions mandatory to fulfil the position with or without reasonable accommodation, he or she is protected by the ADA. 
  • A reasonable accommodation refers to modifications that aren’t too difficult or expensive to provide for in comparison to the capacity of the employer. However, a potential loss of co-workers or customers because of the health status of an employee does not constitute of an undue hardship.

Employees who feel that are being discriminated against because of their HIV & AIDS status can file a complaint with the closest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office within 180 days of the incident. 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Is Mediation the Right Way to Resolve your Commercial Dispute?

Litigation costs combined with the typical duration it takes for a commercial dispute to arrive at a solution compels parties to opt for more efficient and cost-effective alternatives. Mediation, according to Karen DeSoto, proves to be a viable alternative for commercial dispute resolution. 

What is Mediation? 

In simple words, mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where a neutral third-party or intermediary, chosen by the disputing parties, facilitates a settlement that is agreeable by all. This commercial dispute resolution technique is flexible and confidential, allowing all parties to have complete control over the resolution arrived at. 

Some of the key ground rules that a typical mediation process will follow include – 

  • The process is entirely non-binding.
  • It is voluntary, and any party has the opportunity to withdraw at any point after the first session has been attended and before the written settlement agreement is executed. 
  • The mediator must be impartial and neutral and is in charge of controlling the procedural aspects of the mediation. 
  • A business executive will be appointed by each party to represent themselves at the mediation conference. This executive is authorized to negotiate any resolution in the dispute, unless he or she is excused by the mediator. 
  • The mediator at no point will transmit information that is received in confidence from either party or third party except when authorized to do so by the party that is sharing the information. 

For businesses looking for a quick and cost-effective commercial resolution, mediation proves to be an effective approach to consider. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

How to Deal with Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you suspect that you are being sexually harassed at work but are not sure how to handle it with the authorities, you are not alone. Here are a few things Karen DeSoto identifies  as things to consider. 

Don’t make the Mistake of Quitting 

It is common for employees to simply quit right after the first incident of harassment occurs. While this is understandable, this means that you may also be giving up your right to harassment claims. If your employer has a policy against this, you must report the incident immediately and give your employer a chance to fix the situation. If you don’t take this step, chances are that you may lose your lawsuit when it comes to it.

Where to Find the Policy? 

Most companies have talk about the policy in the employee handbook, the union contract, written policies or through posters in the lunchroom. Follow the steps as listed and report the incident to the designated individual. If the first person does not help fix the situation, go to the next in command. 

Make sure its Put in Writing 

Even if the policy states that you must call or meet with someone, make sure you have a written record of your complaint. Make note of every advance, comment, inappropriate jokes, texts, emails or any other incident you may have experienced that made you uncomfortable. Make a formal complaint of sexual harassment.

It is common for people to report bullying, harassment or hostile work environments without ever mentioning that it had to do with their gender. While general bully and harassment may not be illegal, the same behaviour for sexual reasons can very much be acted upon. 

During a time of the “me too” movement sexul harrassment is finally no onger being tolerated by companies, and even powerful men in politics, media and entertainment have felt the backlash to inappropriate behavior against women. 

Monday, 27 November 2017

The Trump view on TPS and what is Means for the Hondurans

During the last 20 years, since the 1998 hurricane hit Honduras, the US government has permitted thousands of immigrants from the country to live and work within the US as opposed to forcing them to return to their own country.

What the Trump Administration is planning

While the reprieve hasn’t been ended just yet, the department of Homeland Security, under President Trump’s administration announced that it is unable to arrive at a decision on whether they should extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the 57,000 Hondurans currently residing in the United States.

What is the TPS?

Attorney and legal analyst Karen DeSoto explains that the TPS program was created during Ronald Reagan’s presidency with an aim to mend the gap in his immigration policy. While the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was signed, he granted legal status to thousands of undocumented immigrants. However, this act overlooked one group of people – those who entered the country without authorization in 1982 or after.

What Next?

While the decision on the Hondurans is still pending, DHS is terminating protection for 2500 Nicaraguans currently in the US starting January 2019. Assuming that they register with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Hondurans get six more months protection while the current administration takes its time to make a decision.

The state department has also recommended that they push El Salvador and Haiti out of the program over the next few months. These four countries put together account for over 300,000 people legally residing in the United States. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Peek into Discrimination Legislation and Issues

Discriminatory practices can occur in any facet of employment. Karen DeSoto, a workplace discrimination lawyer says that it is illegal for employers to make any kind of assumption on the basis of gender, race, age and nationality related stereotypes. It is also unlawful for employers to assume that an individual cannot perform his or her job because he or she is disabled.

Discrimination Based on Age

This practice is specifically protected by law. With rare exceptions, employers are forbidden to maintain an age preference in job listings. Also, all employees are expected to receive the same benefits irrespective of their age, except when the cost of providing supplemented benefits to the younger workers is the same as offering reduced benefits to the aging workers.

Discrimination Based on Religion

Employers cannot discriminate onthe basis of religious customs of their existing or potential employees. Businesses in the US are expected to accommodate for the religious beliefs of an employee, provided it does not have an excessive negative effect of the employers.

Discrimination Based on Gender

It is unlawful to pay a different salary to men and women with the same exact responsibilities at work, same qualifications, skill level and position. Businesses are also forbidden to lower the salary of one gender to equalize the pay between both men and women.

In addition to this, discrimination based on pregnancy status, nationality and physical disability is also unlawful in the United States. Creating a hostile work environment that interferes with the performance of the employee is considered unlawful.

Friday, 27 October 2017

How to Prevent Running into Trouble with the US Immigration

Whether you are working in the United States or are simply visiting, the last thing you want to do is run into trouble with the US immigration. Here are a few tips by legal expert and activist Karen DeSoto, that will help you steer clear of trouble while in the US – 

• Remember that the US Citizenship and Immigration service tends to be rather backed up. Planning in advance helps you prevent falling out of your status and making sure that your work permit or immigration status is updated before the authorities get to you. 
• If you already have a green card, it is recommended that you file for a US citizenship as soon as it is legally possible. This will prevent any chances of deportation and also improve chances of security for your immediate family
• When arriving into the United States from another country, make sure you are prepared to convince border officials why you serve to retain your entry visa. They have all the power to send you back if they deem you to be a security risk. 
• As a tourist, avoid packing anything that suggests you intend to permanently stay back. Items such as your resume or a wedding dress can all act as a red flag. 

If you intend to get a green card via a family member, check if more than one member is eligible to petition for your visa. For instance, if a brother, spouse or a parent can both file for you, use all the channels possible. This way, if the waiting list under one category gets extremely long, or if a member dies, your other options are in process already.