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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.