Covid-19 Employer/Employee Disputes: How a Boston Mediator Can Help

In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, employment disputes may arise in certain specific contexts. Here is how a Boston Mediator can help!

In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, employment disputes may arise in certain specific contexts. Many employers have laid-off workers due to the prevailing economic challenges, but it is possible that an employee may have been wrongfully terminated. The termination may be without good cause (if other workers in similar capacity have not been removed from the job during the Covid crisis).

Employees of certain ethnic descent may believe that they have been denied a promotion, wrongfully terminated, not paid their dues, or harassed at the workplace in the aftermath of Covid-19. An experienced employment mediation attorney can help all the parties resolve their disputes in a relatively informal and collaborative environment.  

Mediation is Non-Binding and Confidential

Boston mediatorMediation is legally non-binding, which should encourage both employers and employees to explore this dispute resolution process. Neither the employer nor the worker is required to necessarily accept the mediator’s recommendations for settlement. The terms of the settlement, if any, are entirely subject to the agreement of both parties.

A skilled Boston mediator can significantly increase the possibility of a resolution by enabling both sides to engage in open communication. The mediator can help them remove the emotions from the equation and focus solely on their best interests. The best interests are served through a swift and fair resolution, which meets the needs of both parties.

When you work with a trusted and reputable employment mediation attorney in Massachusetts, they will ensure that the negotiations are held confidentially in a secure and private place. Employers usually have high stakes because other employees would be watching how the dispute is resolved.

Fair Resolution of Job Termination Disputes

Boston mediatorOne of the most common employment disputes, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, is an employee’s claim of wrongful termination. The employer may be downsizing due to changed business circumstances, but a disgruntled employee may sue them.

In this situation, a Boston mediator can help in making the employee recognize the real situation, convince them to accept their part of the responsibility, and see the inaccuracies in their perception of the employer. Employees who are facing a termination can sometimes get so invested in their own version of the truth that it takes a seasoned employment mediator to show them the reality.

On the other hand, sometimes a termination may not be legally wrongful but poorly handled. Or, the employer may have indeed singled out a worker on the basis of their gender, race, age, or disability to fire them during Covid-19. In these situations, the mediator will be able to explain the facts to the employer and advise them against the idea of seeking a court verdict.  

Ensuring a Continued Relationship

Sometimes the employee may be highly talented and could be a good asset for the employer. A knowledgeable Boston employment mediation attorney will help the employer recognize that their interests may be better served through a compromise settlement.

Employees in a dispute are sometimes looking to vent their emotions, and a skillful mediator will allow them this opportunity. Thereafter, a resolution is likely to occur swiftly. Serious animosity can be avoided in this way, and the employment relationship may be restored.

Talk to a Dedicated Boston Mediator Today

At Shapiro Mediation Services, we understand that the stakes are high for both parties in an employment dispute. We encourage you to bring your case to Anna Shapiro, Esq., who is a respected mediation expert in Massachusetts. Call us at 617.765.1040 to schedule a complimentary consultation or contact us online.

Know Your Rights: Massachusetts Employee Contract Protections

Massachusetts is a worker-friendly state, where workers get various legal protections as part of their employment contract. Learn more here!

Massachusetts is a worker-friendly state with various legal protections for the workers provided as part of the employment contract. In 2018, a comprehensive law related to pay equity was passed, and in the same year, a key change was made to the law on non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.

These new laws are aimed at further protecting the employees’ interests. If you are involved in a dispute with your employer or believe that your employer has been unfair in their dealings with you, it is a good idea to consider employment mediation in Massachusetts to settle the dispute.

Fair Dealing is Implied in the Contract

employment mediation in MassachusettsEven if you do not have an employment contract or agreement in writing, a verbal contract or understanding is still valid. You will receive all the protections under employment law just like any other worker who has a written contract. Fair dealing and good faith are the implied covenants in an employment contract in Massachusetts.

Therefore, your employer is legally prohibited from misusing or violating the terms of the contract to terminate your job unfairly or deprive you of your rightful wages or commissions for the services rendered. Litigation is almost always a prolonged and expensive way to resolve employment disputes. Your best bet would be to consider the option of employment mediation in Massachusetts in order to protect your rights in a dispute with the employer. 

Labor Laws that Govern Employment Contracts

Your employment contract must be in conformance with various Massachusetts laws that govern the employment relationship. Some of the important laws in this area include:

employment mediation in MassachusettsPayment of Wages Law: This law mandates that at the time of termination, your employer must pay all the wages that may be due to you. These include any wages accrued because of unused vacation leave.)

Laws related to Leave and Time Off: In Massachusetts, your employment contract will be made with respect to several laws relating to leave of absence and time off. These include a mandatory law for Sick Leave, a law for Domestic Violence leave, and a law for “Small Necessities” Leave (this gives you time off for doctor appointments, caring for parents, and school activities of your children).

Anti-Discrimination Law: If your employer has six or more employees, this law will apply to your employment contract in Massachusetts. Unlike federal law, the state of Massachusetts imposes strict liability if your manager or supervisor indulges in sexual or other types of harassment at the workplace against you.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Law: Starting July 1st, 2019, employers in Massachusetts are contributing to a state-administered PFML (paid family and medical leave) program. The benefits will start getting paid from 2021. Any dispute related to violation of one or more of these laws can be best addressed through employment mediation in Massachusetts.

Privacy and Monitoring: Massachusetts does not have a specific law in this regard, so it may not be a part of your employment contract. However, a right to privacy statute is a part of the state laws in general. Therefore, the law will protect against unreasonable seeking of personal data, drug testing, and workplace searches.

Consider Employment Mediation Massachusetts for Dispute Resolution

Shapiro Mediation Services offers top professional employment mediation while maintaining the highest ethics and legal standards. We have the expertise to mediate and help resolve all types of employment contract-related disputes. For a free consultation, call us at 617.765.1040 or complete this brief online form.

Wrongfully Terminated Due to Covid-19? An Employment Mediation Lawyer May Be The Answer

COVID-19 has rendered millions of Americans jobless. Have you been wrongfully terminated as well? Here is how a employment mediation attorney can help!

The coronavirus pandemic has rendered millions of Americans jobless as businesses go through manufacturing, logistics, sales, and finance related challenges. However, this does not mean that your employer can wrongfully terminate you and get away with it. With the help of a seasoned employment mediation attorney in Massachusetts, it is possible for you to protect your rights without having to take your fight to court.

Were You Dismissed without Notice?

Wrongful dismissal may occur if your employer removed you from the job without giving you sufficient notice during the Covid-19 pandemic. In these cases, the law in Massachusetts will focus on the contractual terms and obligations of your employer. The minimum notice period for termination may have been specified in your contract.

Even if it is not a part of the contract, your employer will still be bound by the statutory requirements of minimum notice that must be given to you. Your employment mediation lawyer will help you establish that your termination occurred without fulfillment of the minimum notice period or due to a breach of another term of your employment contract.

The lawyer will also show that you suffered a loss because of this action (such as loss of wages). Mediation is a low cost and time-efficient alternative to resolve your conflict with your employer while maintaining confidentiality and without generating hostility from either side.

Was Your Dismissal Unfair?

In view of the Covid-19 financial crisis, employers are expected to adopt a considerate position towards their employees. If your employer has fired you not out of any economic or business compulsion, but solely with a focus on maximizing their profitability, you may be able to argue your case for reinstatement or compensation through a skilled Massachusetts employment mediation attorney.

Your employer will recognize the potentially damaging effects such a case can have on the morale of other employees as well as hurt the company’s image in the eyes of the general public. Your lawyer can help you convince your employer that in the current pandemic how responsible a company acts with its employees will determine their long-term brand value and reputation.

Did Your Employer Discriminate against You?

It may be lawful if you were laid off from the job along with many others because your employer wants to downsize their business. However, if your employer selectively dismissed you from service and singled out you without any professional reasons, they may have discriminated against you.

You should carefully make a note of the comments of your supervisor or other senior employees, or the comments of the owner, as well as preserve any emails and other written communication with regard to your termination.

Your employment mediation attorney can help you determine whether you have a case for wrongful termination due to discrimination, and will advise the right mediation strategy to negotiate with your employer and safeguard your rights.

The final outcome of your mediation may be in the form of financial compensation, your reinstatement in your former position, a formal apology from your employer, or some other solution that satisfied your goals.

If mediation is not successful, the case proceeds where it left off. Although this may be disappointing, I never view mediation as a waste of time because even if we don’t settle the case, we learn something about it. We gain a clearer picture of the employer’s perspective and how they view our case. Every chance you get to gain insight into your adversary’s point of view is time well spent.

Pursue Your Wrongful Termination Case through Mediation

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job, it is time to discuss your case with the trusted and dependable employment mediation lawyer Anna Shapiro, Esq. in Massachusetts. Call us today at 617.765.1040 to schedule a free consultation or write to us online.

Are You a Defendant? Here’s How Mediation Is One Of Your Best Options

Mediation for defendants in Massachusetts is a masterful option in a number of legal situations. In cases related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, product liability, or premises liability, defendants often have most to gain if both parties agree to use the mediation process to resolve their dispute. Litigation for Defendants Can Be Expensive Defendant mediation in Massachusetts is Continue reading "Are You a Defendant? Here’s How Mediation Is One Of Your Best Options"

Four Signs You Have Been a Victim of Disability Discrimination

It is against the law in Massachusetts to harass an employee or an applicant because they suffer from a disability, had a disability previously, or if it is apparent that their physical or mental disability is not transitory and minor (which means it may last for at least six months). 

Employees who are discriminated on this basis should speak to an experienced disability discrimination mediation attorney in Massachusetts to protect their rights. 

Signs of Direct Disability Discrimination

If you are treated at your workplace worse than another employee in a similar situation just because you have a disability, it is a sign of direct discrimination. For instance, if an applicant informs the interviewer during a job interview that they suffer from multiple sclerosis, and the employer rejects them even though they were the best candidate, it is a clear sign of direct discrimination.

Signs of Indirect Disability Discrimination

If you notice that your employer has a way or work or a specific workplace policy that puts disabled persons at a disadvantage compared to others, it could be a sign of indirect discrimination. Unless the employer is able to show a legitimate rationale behind such a policy, they could be sued. It is best to consult with a disability discrimination attorney in Massachusetts to understand your legal options in such a situation.

disability discrimination attorney in massachusetts

For instance, if an employer issues a job ad stating that having a driving license is a pre-condition for applying, it could place a person with a disability at a disadvantage if they are unable to have a license (say, if they suffer from epilepsy). The employer’s requirement may be justified for a bus driver’s job, but perhaps not for a teacher’s post if the teacher must work across two separate schools.

Signs that an Employer Failed to Make Reasonable Adjustments

Organizations and employers in Massachusetts are responsible for ensuring that people with disabilities can access services, education, and jobs as easily as anyone else. If an employer violates their legal duty to make reasonable adjustments, you should speak to a competent disability discrimination mediation attorney in Massachusetts to fight for your rights. 

For instance, if an employee who is mobility impaired requires a parking space near the office building, but the employer refuses to provide them with a designated parking space (while reserving it for senior managers), it could be seen as a failure to make reasonable adjustments. 

disability discrimination mediation attorney in massachusetts

Signs of Harassment of a Disabled Worker 

Harassment of a disabled worker in Massachusetts is said to occur when they are treated in a manner that makes them feel offended, degraded or humiliated. For instance, if a disabled employee is called names by co-workers and frequently sworn at because of their disability, it could be a sign of harassment.

There is no legal justification for harassment. But if the employer can show that they took all the necessary steps to end the victim’s 

harassment, you may not have a claim against the employer, although you could still pursue a claim against the actual harassers. Consult with a compassionate disability discrimination attorney in Massachusetts to file your claim.

Have You Been a Victim of Disability Discrimination? Call Shapiro Mediation Services Today

Shapiro Mediation Services has made an impact in communities across Massachusetts and South Florida. The firm also continues to provide high levels of service, excellence, and compassion no matter what the circumstance. Call (339) 298-7733 to schedule a free consultation with one of our mediators at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or contact us online.

Five Ways to Avoid Employment Litigation

Employment litigation is time-consuming and expensive and mostly ends up hurting the company’s productivity and employee morale in more than one way. It’s essential to understand what employment mediation is and why it could be a much better alternative to resolving employer-employee disputes. 

Choose an Employment Mediation Attorney  to Avoid Employment Litigation

It becomes possible to resolve employment-related conflicts in a swift and confidential manner through mediation. An experienced employment mediation attorney in Massachusetts can help address various barriers to dispute resolution, and enable both sides to move towards a win-win agreement. 

No Conflict of Interest

The mediator does not have any conflict of interest because they will not have an allegiance to any side. This neutral status of the mediator enables them to build rapport and trust between both sides and help them face the issues upfront.

Dealing with High Conflict Personality Issues

In an employment dispute, more often than not, one of the parties will have a high conflict personality. A skilled employment mediation attorney would be trained to manage emotions when engaging with such individuals. They would focus on problem-solving and help both parties move away from the blame game.

Preserving Valuable Relationships 

Once the employer understands what is mediation and why they should consider it, they will start seeing its inherent benefits.

employment mediation attorney in massachusetts

If the employer values the exceptional skills of an employer who has raised the dispute, it may worth restoring his or her trust in the company and regain a positive relationship. The non-adversarial approach adopted in mediation can allow for dispute resolution without causing the relationship to deteriorate beyond redemption.

Protecting Workforce Morale

When there is a conflict between the employer and an employee, chances are that other employees are watching closely how the management reacts to the situation. When they see that the company is adopting a tolerant and constructive approach, and is willing to choose the path of mediation, it will boost their morale and make them feel more confident and loyal towards the company.  

Other Ways to Minimize the Risk of Litigation 

A knowledgeable employment mediation attorney in Massachusetts can guide you about some of the ways to minimize the chances of worker litigation.

Make it Easier to Report Complaints 

The sooner you learn about an employee’s grievance, the faster you can move to resolve it. Create systems whereby employees can voice their complaints and bring issues that affect them to the top management’s attention.

Respond Quickly to Employee Complaints 

Be proactive about resolving employee issues, and respond as soon 

as possible once you have learned about an employee’s problem. Any delay will increase the mistrust and may encourage an employee to go for litigation. 

Be Consistent about Applying Rules and Policies 

Do not make exceptions, and make sure the company’s rules and policies apply to all employees in the same way. You will alienate many of your staff if you inconsistently apply policies about pay, promotions, awards, vacations, and discipline. In short: treat everyone fairly. 

Use Employee Handbook Effectively

Employee handbooks should contain clear and unambiguous policies and should work as a tool to minimize opportunities for disputes. But if it is too complex, and promises more than what you can handle, it will become a stumbling block by creating misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.

Need Employment Mediation? Shapiro Mediation Services Can Help

Contact Shapiro Mediation Services today to learn more about the mediation process. Call (339) 298-7733 to schedule a free consultation with one of our employment mediation attorneys at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or contact us online.

How Does Employment Contract Mediation Work?

Any business may face complaints from current or former employees related to the terms and conditions of the employment contract. It is often in the best interest of both the employer and the employee to resolve their differences through an alternative dispute resolution mechanism called mediation. 

What is Employment Contract Mediation? 

Employment contract mediation is a process designed to facilitate the resolution of workplace disputes, such as wage and overtime disagreements, hiring, promotion, transfer or termination issues, workplace discrimination or harassment problems, or any other disputes related to contractual obligations of the employer or the employee.

A knowledgeable and skilled employment contract mediation attorney can facilitate this process as long as all parties to the dispute are willing to engage in it voluntarily. This form of dispute resolution is far quicker and more cost-effective than litigation. 

Although in some employment contract mediation, the mediator may be a representative appointed by the state of Massachusetts, in most cases a trained employment contract mediation attorney with a private practice may be chosen.

Why Companies Prefer Employment Mediation? 

In numerous decisions, the US Supreme Court has warned employers against ignoring worker grievances only at their own peril. A growing number of companies are now putting in place clear policies that require a thorough and transparent investigation of an employee’s complaint, and where necessary, adopt a dispute resolution process involving mediation. 

If a supervisor harasses a subordinate at the workplace, the employer could be held liable even if the victim has not suffered any tangible loss or has chosen not to report harassment. Proving the employer’s negligence is also not necessary in these cases. If the employer makes use of mediation to address the employee’s concerns, their effort would be considered fair and reasonable.

employment contract mediation attorney
Employee’s Perspective 

Employment contract disputes usually emerge out of relationships. Every individual in the relationship has different needs and expectations. Employees would almost always prefer to have a dispute resolution process that is expeditious and does not put them under a serious financial constraint.

The complaining employee may also want to have the ability to air a grievance in confidence, without their co-workers coming to know about it. They may need reassurance that the company is attentive and empathetic to their complaint and that they will not face retaliatory action. Finally, an aggrieved employee wants to isolate themselves from a supervisor against whom they may have a complaint of discrimination or harassment. 

Employer’s Perspective 

In many cases, the employer may feel that the employee’s grievance is unjustified or their accusation is unreasonable or false. They may believe that the employee is trying to take advantage of the situation.

Employers also sometimes worry that giving in to the demands of one employee could set the wrong precedent and lead to a spate of complaints. With this kind of belief, the employer may be unwilling to make any type of settlement.

what is employment contract mediation

How Employment Contract Mediation Can Help 

The mediation process will allow both the employee and the employer to vent their issues and ultimately encourage them to see the other side’s point of view. Employment contract mediation will provide a framework for constructive problem-solving. Both sides may consider creative solutions like letters of apology, job modification, re-training, or open new channels of communication, particularly where current employees are involved.

Need Assistance With Contract Mediation? Call Shapiro Mediation Services Today

The legal team at Shapiro Mediation understands how stressful being involved in a lawsuit is. Shapiro Mediation Services will be by your side to answer questions and figure out the best path forward. Call (339) 298-7733 today to schedule a free consultation at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or contact us online.

Mediation in The Workplace: When It’s The Right Time

Disputes with employees can prove costly for a company in terms of reputational loss and the damage caused to workforce morale. Litigation in a major dispute with workers can even cause significant financial losses to the business in terms of a potential jury award and hefty legal fees. 

An otherwise robust and motivated workforce can become distracted and unnerved if they find the management and a co-worker locked in a bitter legal battle. Companies often end up making the mistake of trying to resolve employment disputes through litigation because they are unable to foresee the negative consequences it may have on their business. 

Once litigation has begun, one misstep leads to another, and the downward spiral continues. It may only end at the doorstep of the courthouse when a lot of damage has already been done.

Employment Law Mediation 

When a current or former employee makes a legal claim against their employer, it is usually in the best interests of both sides to pursue the path of mediation to resolve the dispute. Mediation in employment disputes is a non-binding process, which makes it worth exploring in almost every case. Both the employer and the employee are free to not accept the mediator’s recommendation for a settlement. 

The terms of settlement are subject to the agreement of both parties, and the complete process is largely confidential.

mediation in employment disputes

The involvement of professional employment mediation services will often greatly increase the possibility of a resolution. The trained and experienced mediator will help open two-way communication and bring the focus on their real interests that satisfy the needs of both parties. 

Advantages of Mediation in Employment Disputes

 Through the mediation process, the disgruntled employee will have an opportunity to give a vent to their emotions. That itself often opens the gateway for a prompt resolution. A resolution achieved through employment mediation services will usually be more beneficial than the one determined by a jury or court. 

Mediation will avoid lingering anger and animosity. Both parties will have control over the final outcome. Compared to litigation, the legal fee and related costs are likely to be far lower. Confidentiality is inherent to the mediation process to a large extent, which means other workers do not have to know about a particular settlement.

employment law mediation

Forward-Looking Companies Prefer Mediation 

Progressive companies that want to focus their energies and resources on growing their business and adding value to the economy and the society are usually quick to recognize the folly of litigation. They understand that mediation will not only help to effectively resolve a range of factual, emotional, and legal issues related to the dispute, but it will also avoid a potential drain on the company’s time and resources.

Considering the myriad of benefits afforded by employment law mediation, companies are now increasingly choosing this path of dispute settlement with employees. They may even include a mediation clause in an employment contract, and explain the benefits of mediation to workers through employee handbooks, personnel meetings, and educational seminars. 

Call Shapiro Media Services for a Free Consultation 

Shapiro Mediation Services has made an impact in communities across Massachusetts and South Florida. The firm, led by experienced legal professional Anna Shapiro, Esq., also continues to provide high levels of service, excellence, and compassion no matter the circumstance

Call us (339) 298-7733 to schedule a free consultation with one of our mediators at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or contact us online.

Litigation? Forget About It: Here’s Why Mediation Can Be a Better Alternative

A growing number of feuding individuals and businesses are now seeking alternatives to litigation due to its numerous downsides involving cost and unfavorable outcomes. Among the various types of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is one of the most effective options available today. Here are some of the compelling reasons why mediation is the best alternative to litigation for resolving your Continue reading "Litigation? Forget About It: Here’s Why Mediation Can Be a Better Alternative"