How Well Do You Know Your Rights As A Disabled Employee?

Karen DesotoPeople with impairments that significantly limit major life activity are often covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are a few things that Human Rights activist Karen DeSoto feels you must know.

What is Covered?

The impairment doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical one only. It can be a mental one as well. However, weight, height, pregnancy and homosexuality are not covered. Pregnancy is covered under a separate type of discrimination act. Furthermore, the impairment needn’t necessarily be a permanent one.

Are all Employers Covered?

An employer is only bound by this Act if the company has 15 employees or more. However, your state or county may individually have anti-discrimination laws that are relevant to companies with smaller employee strength.

What do you mean by Major Life Activities?

Activities such as caring for yourself, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, concentrating, thinking, working, breathing, performing manual tasks and interacting with others all come under the umbrella of major life activities.

To be covered under this Act, your disability must significantly limit your ability to perform one or more of the above-mentioned activities as compared to how average people perform them. If your case goes to court, they will weight the severity and nature of your disability along with the long-term impact it has on your ability to work.

Also, it is important to know that even if you aren’t currently disabled you may still be protected under this Act if you have a recorded disability. This is relevant in case of a history of a substantially limiting impairment or in case you have been misclassified as having one.

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Applicable Laws When Your Employer Breaks the Anti-Discrimination Law Against Veterans

LawAfter having spent years fighting for your nation, coming back to the real world and trying to lead a normal life can be quite a challenge. In the process of finding a stable job, there are cases where employers show a bias against veterans for several reasons. However, Karen DeSoto, human rights activist and legal analyst explains that veterans are protected under anti-discrimination laws at the workplace, allowing them to take necessary legal measures to protect their rights.

Here are a few things you should know –

The Uniformed Service Employment and Re-employment Rights Act

If you are able to prove that your claims are right, the employer may be compelled to reinstate your job, back pay, reimburse your lost benefits, restore your vacation leave, reimburse your attorney fees, correct your personal files, compensate for lost promotional opportunities if any, pursue pension adjustment and maybe even liquidate damages towards a willful violation.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

If you are able to prove that your employer is violating the FMLA, the law will compel your employer to remedy your lost wages, any actual monetary losses you incurred, attorney’s fees, lost benefits, and possibly liquidate damages for will-full violation. Typically, an employee has 2 years from the exact date of violation to sue their employers.

If your employer is violating any of the above laws, you can file a claim with the Department of Labor. Another option you have is to file a suit through your own attorney.

Things to Do When You Are No Longer Protected By DACA

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Ever since Trump got elected as president, DACA recipients have been concerned about their future. While many of the rumours of him stripping them off their protection and work permits on his first day in office were unfounded, the winding down of the program was eventually announced in early September 2017.

If you are concerned about your future once the protection is actually lifted off in March 2018, here are a few things you want to do as per human rights activist and legal expert Karen DeSoto

1. The first and less recommended option is to continue to live the lives you have been leading – Working, driving and getting around undocumented. This option puts you in legal jeopardy all day, every day and increases the chances of your deportation once you are caught.

2. A more practical approach will be to start planning to leave the country in a systematic manner. Sell your house, car and other assets while you are still protected under DACA and try to identify a country that would welcome your skillsets.

For people who grew up in the US, spending most of their lives here, the second step is a challenging one to take. However, in the long run it is the more practical one than going back to taking the kind of jobs you did before you were protected by DACA or transitioning back to illegality. With the right help from immigration experts you will be able to make sure that you create a new life for yourself in a sensible and organized manner.

Meet Karen Desoto, a Clear and Decisive Voice

Court-adjourns-trial-of-ex-Bank-PHB-Spring-Bank-MDs-over-N125bn-fraud-till-March-22You may have seen her years ago on Court TV, or in recent years on CNN Headline News, Fox News, ABC News, or MSNBC (on shows like NBC News or The TODAY Show) providing insights on high-profile legal cases in the news. Karen Desoto’s career is more than what you see on TV.

Different facets of Karen DeSoto

Karen Desoto has been a lifelong vocal advocate for civil rights as a practicing attorney.  She represented many cases pro bono to give legal voice [and defence] to those that were the victims of employment discrimination. She remains active in the community fighting for equal rights, and in 2015 was honored by the NAACP [alongside Senator Cunningham and four others] for her good works. The Hudson Reporter named her to their Top 50 Most Influential People of Hudson County, NJ, calling her ‘a force to be reckoned with.

Ms. DeSoto worked hard for every achievement she attained. She put herself through college, graduating the Beasley School of Law (Temple University) with a Juris Doctorate and Masters of Law & Trial Advocacy.

Fresh out of college she began her career as a public defender, then a prosecutor, segueing into private practice where she founded the Center for Legal Justice. By early 2000’s she became the first woman, first Hispanic, and youngest attorney to ever be appointed Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Karen appeared as a guest speaker at local colleges and community centers whenever time allowed. Several years back she was named to the list of Hispanics on The Move in the magazine Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, and was named Attorney of the Year for the Puerto Rican Day Parade by the Heritage Foundation.

Since 2015 Karen has shifted her attentions. While she continues to appear on television as a legal analyst, the rest of her attention is focused on her work at the Institute for Dispute Resolution, an initiative (she co-founded) at the School of Business (New Jersey City University), as a professor at the university and co-director of the Institute she is highly-engaged with students.  And she continues to serve as a coach for the students that travel overseas and compete in international mediation competitions on behalf of the Institute.

Karen, when she is not working, gives her time to her family and her community.

You can learn more about Karen Desoto at karendesoto.com, Karen Desoto, info, karendesoto.org

3 Things about Karen Desoto That You Should Know

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She Is a Thorough Professional

Karen’s career includes practicing law, appearing on TV as a legal analyst for NBC News, a university professor, and the co-founder of the Institute for Dispute Resolution. This combined with her fervent local activism in her community has received notice more than once, with her winning praise and awards throughout — named top 50 most influential in Hudson County, Attorney of the Year, honored by the NAACP, and many more.

She Has the Knowledge Backed By Qualifications

Karen DeSoto holds a Juris Doctorate and a Masters of Law in Trial Advocacy from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Her Experience in the Field Is Worth Appreciating

After graduation, Karen served as a public defender and then prosecutor, before becoming a part of the private sector. By the year 2000, she established the Center for Legal Justice – a law firm focusing on civil rights, employment discrimination, and election law.  In 2001, she became the first woman, first Hispanic and the youngest person to be ever appointed as Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

The IDR Is Giving New Hopes to NJ in the Realm of International Business

Karen DesotoThere are only ten states in the U.S.A. that have in place international mediation laws. New Jersey became one of them this year.  Is one of them. Long a popular location for international businesses die to its close proximity to New York City, it is now more attractive than ever before.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, recently said, “Our geographic location is really advantageous. We’re in proximity to the biggest media market in the world, huge financial services. If you’re going to have a global footprint, you’re going to have a presence generally in Manhattan. What we’ve tried to do over the past couple years is kind of make it a seamless transition from our waterfront all the way to Manhattan and we’ve attracted some really great corporations moving from elsewhere here.”

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With the passing of the International Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation Act on February 7, 2017, the state has raised its profile by providing international businesses the means to avoid lengthy legal battles through mediation. This law was proposed to the state Legislature by the Institute for Dispute Resolution (a department of the business school at NJCU), raising its profile as well.

The Institute was co-founded and is co-directed by David Weiss and Karen DeSoto. With news-making events they’ve co-hosted, their students winning awards in international mediation competitions, and now the contributions they have made (through their applied research department) that aided into this new mediation law making New Jersey more competitive in attracting international businesses, the Institute for Dispute Resolution has made an impact in it’s short lifespan. We expect to see more from them.

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Efforts of the Idr Led To the Passing of a Law with Global Impact

The Applied Research Division of the Institute for Dispute Resolution [at the NJCU School of Business] diligently pushed for and contributed to a New Jersey legislative bill to accommodate international business disputes. The bill encourages a framework that would promote international mediation in New Jersey. On February those efforts paid off as the governor of New Jersey signed into law bill ‘S602” as the New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act.

Karen DeSoto, the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution, recently stated that bill S602 had strong bipartisan support, from both Senators Sandra Cunningham and Tom Kean Jr. As per DeSoto, the law intends to position New Jersey as a hub for business meditations from around the world, which will really help in increasing global trade for the state.

She was pleased with the efforts of the IDR and said, “There was previously no mechanisms in place for businesses to settle disputes in New Jersey outside of full legal actions. This will greatly enhance the use of mediation as a dispute resolution tool. And New Jersey is now one of only ten states that have passed such legislation. I’m very proud that the Institute was able to contribute to this legislation in a positive way.”

The Institute for Dispute Resolution (IDR) has also seen success in mentoring its students who have faired well in international mediation competitions. In 2015 the students won an award at the Vienna competition. Karen DeSoto has recently been interviewed about the IDR by Brie Austin. .