Employment Protection for Transgenders

The Employment Non -Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been proposed in congress to focus on gender identity discrimination in the private as well as public sector. While the Americans with Disabilities Act within the US explicitly exclude transgender people, many advocates have been able to successfully win cases on behalf of their transgender clients.

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Do Transgender Employees Have Any Employment Protection?

Over the last decade and a half, federal appellate courts have begun to recognize the need to prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals as a form of sex discrimination at work. Karen DeSoto, a human rights activist, recalls the historic decision in 2012 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) for the Macy V. Holder case which was deemed a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

This decision proves to be binding on the federal government and highlights that that transgender employees do have protection under the aforementioned title.

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Furthermore, the title also supports public as well as private employees all over the country who feel that they have been discriminated against in a workplace environment. Transgender individuals have the right to file complaints with the EEOC, who in turn will investigate the complaint and pursue settlement or if relevant even file lawsuits.

4 years ago, in 2014, 18 states — along with the District of Columbia and 130 cities and counties all across the US — also banned discrimination against gender. Private companies too, are writing their own anti-discrimination policies that cover bias against transgender individuals.

The question is whether in the age of President Trump those gains will be lost.

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Drafting Cross Border Commercial Contracts

Karen DesotoNegotiating and drafting cross-border commercial contracts can be rather challenging. With differences in common law and civil law jurisdictions, decisions regarding commercial terms and dispute arbitrations can significantly affect the future of the contract. Here are a few tips from co-founder / co-director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution Karen DeSoto. Negotiating and drafting cross-border commercial contracts can be rather challenging. With differences in common law and civil law jurisdictions, decisions regarding commercial terms and dispute arbitrations can significantly affect the future of the contract. Here are a few tips from co-founder / co-director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution Karen DeSoto.

Have Clarity on What the Deal is about

A good commercial agreement is detailed and effectively recites the intent of all the parties in a simple, consistent and comprehensive manner. The agreement must provide a robust understanding of the regulatory — as well as the technical requirements of the relevant industry — allowing parties to satisfactorily negotiate a contract that protects everyone involved, and also allows them to reach the intended goals.

Anticipate the Demands of the Other Parties

Make sure you make well researched and educated guesses about what the other parties’ requirements will be and incorporate elements that seem viable to you into your draft agreement. Choosing to draft a one-sided agreement or refusing all the change requests may result in a complete breakdown of a possible contract. If your transaction is with a non-English-speaking country, remember that the lawyer may not have the best command of the language and may come with a disadvantage when drafting the contract. By showing that you are taking into account their requirement, will highlight your positive intent and result in a favourable deal.

Identify not only the terms if things go well, but also the remedies if things don’t go as intended.

Finally, when involving yourself with any international transaction, investigate the issues that may result in negative publicity for your company. Make sure you are free of any criminal liability, issues related to child labour, local privacy laws, tax frauds and antitrust issues.

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.

 

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.

A Quick Look at Some of the Achievements of the IDR

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

The New Jersey City University’s Institute for Dispute Resolution is an entity of the University Business School. The Institute aims to promote international negotiation and mediation techniques to manage disputes in cross-border commercial, investor-state and general conflict resolution forums. Co-founded by Karen DeSoto and David Weiss, the Institute’s mission is to promote New Jersey as a place to conduct cross border disputes.

Contribution to New Jersey Initiative

The Institute’s contribution to New Jersey was an initiative that they contributed to that was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie on February 7, 2017. The New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act allows certain nonprofits in the state to organize alternative dispute resolution centers, which would facilitate the resolution of international business and trade disputes through arbitration, mediation or conciliation instead of long legal battles.

Garnering Attention in the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna

A team of students from the IDR made their mark during the Institute’s first year attending the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna, Austria. Leman Kaifa and Paola Andrea won an Award for Best Opening Statements, making the Institute proud of their hard work.

Participation in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France

Justin Davis, Kaylee Saltos, and Leman Kaifa represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France. Out of the sixty-six schools that were chosen to participate in the competition from across the globe, NJCU was the only business school to be chosen from the United States.