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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Expert Speak – Know your Rights at the US Border

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

If you plan on entering the United States soon, regardless of your citizenship status, there are a few legal rights you need to know in the wake of the travel ban implemented by President Trump.

Here are a few legal insights by professor and legal analyst Karen DeSoto so you know about your rights at the border –

● Can I be Stopped or Searched at the Border?
Regardless of whether you are a green card holder, a visa holder or an American citizen, the Customs and Border Protection officers have the right to stop you and/or take you to a secondary inspection. This could be a random search, or because they have obtained more information about you or your immigration status.

● Can they take by Green Card Away?
No. CBP officers cannot make you sign any form that compels you to forego your permanent resident status. Unless you have committed a serious crime for which you are being deported, legal permanent residents have rights that allow them a hearing in front of an immigration judge. You will be permitted back into the country until the date of that hearing.

● Can They Search my Things?
Yes, every piece of luggage, item or belonging that enters the US is subject to search. You will be asked to declare items that you are bringing into the country. Items such as fruits that could carry diseases or pests will be destroyed or confiscated.

● Can I Carry My Laptop in my Carry On Bag?
No. Due to recent changes you can no longer carry a laptop in your carry on bag; it must be stowed with your luggage.

It is important that you stay informed on U.S. Customs and Immigration rules, as they are changing rapidly. Understand the rules in general, and the specific rules according to your status as a citizen, resident or visitor — to ensure that you adhere to federal laws and maintain your rights as an individual.

 

Picking up The Pieces after Hurricane Harvey – Legal Advice to Let You Restart Your Life

Karen DesotoHurricane Harvey has devastated a major part of Southeastern Texas. Once the waters go down and you are able to go back to your home, you will need to take stock of your losses and find ways to execute a recovery plan. In addition to dealing with loss of property, you may also have to deal with loss of important documents that would otherwise make your life less burdensome. Here are a few things as recommended by legal expert Karen DeSoto, that you want to consider –

  • Get in touch with your insurance company to understand what’s covered, and what the process would be to assess damage to your properties.
  • Be wary of people promising immediate clean-up of your property and removal of debris. Many may charge exorbitant prices or may not have the licences or legal permits to do the job.
  • Don’t pay up for any temporary or long-term rental property before you confirm all the details; scammers list properties that they don’t have the rights to, or that do not exist at all.
  • Before giving out personal information, make sure you know the people you are dealing with. Ask for their identification and credentials before you share your bank account numbers, social security information or other private data.

Often in the aftermath of extreme hurricanes, including floods, your documents may be lost. Make a checklist and start replacing your documents, and then change all passwords, pins, etc.

 

How the Students at IDR Are Excelling With the Right Guidance

LawThe youth of any country are their future. And when the students are trained well, they are bound to excel – giving us a promising future ahead of us. This is something that the faculty at the Institute for Dispute Resolution understands quite well.

With the right guidance and coaching from law experts like Karen DeSoto, who is also the co-founder and co-director of the Institute, the students are accomplishing laurels one after the other. IDR keeps outshining others with the caliber, skills and training of its coaches.

Leman Kaifa, who was a part of the NJCU team that won “Most Effective Opening Address” honors at the Vienna competition (Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition) last year, is a political science major who also represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France — along with Justin Davis and Kaylee Saltos.

It is important to note that while hundreds of schools applied for participating in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition, only sixty-six were chosen, and NJCU was the only business school chosen from the United States.

In the competition, the students participated in [a week-long] mock mediation sessions that provided them practical learning experience. They interacted with other students — as well as professionals — to gain a better understanding of international mediation practices.

The team was coached by Karen DeSoto and Christian Corrales. DeSoto, is also the founder of the Center of Legal Justice. She was the youngest lawyer (and first woman, and first Hispanic) to ever be appointed as Chief Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey. During her tenure as an attorney, she served as a public defender, a prosecutor, in private practice, and has since 2010 been an on-air legal analyst for many news shows, now under contract for NBC News.

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