Do I Give Up Any Rights Pursuing Employment Arbitration or Mediation?

It depends. As a condition of employment you may have signed an arbitration or mediation clause in your employment contract which would make those procedures the exclusive forum for dispute resolution should you ever be involved in an employment dispute. By entering into the employer’s contract of employment containing such an agreement, you may have waived your legal right to a file a civil action in court. In a series of recent employment and labor cases, the U.S. Supreme court has upheld an employer’s contractual right to enforce its contract containing arbitration or mediation clauses to resolve most employment disputes and determined that they are within the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). [Read more…]

Should I File Chapter 7 or 13 Without a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Under certain circumstance, it is not necessary that you retain an attorney to file a Chapter 7 or 13, but more often than not, it is simply a smart decision to do so. You should strongly consider hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney to explain the pitfalls before you file a petition for bankruptcy and to advise you on whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case is best suited for your indebtedness. Assistance of a bankruptcy attorney ensures that you are also being adequately protected from debt collectors after obtaining your discharge in the Bankruptcy Court. [Read more…]

Top Three Tips for Ending Business Partner Disputes

A good relationship can turn ugly when you’re not prepared for the conflict.  Unfortunately, even business partners that have worked well together in the past can struggle over certain issues.  If these cases can’t be resolved on your own, you might turn to arbitration or mediation to help you resolve the conflict.

There are some steps you can take to help facilitate conflict resolution effectively.  In the midst of a partnership dispute, being committed to finding common ground can go a long way towards promoting a peaceful working relationship. [Read more…]

How Can I Be Sure That My Labor and Employment Arbitrator is Ethical?

Alongside mediation, arbitration has become very popular as a way to deal effectively with employment law conflicts.  Even so, a party preparing for arbitration might be concerned about the neutral individual handing down a binding decision in the case.

Although an arbitrator is different from a judge, the marketplace for arbitration has helped to promote only those individuals who engage in the process ethically.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The first is that parties are free to jointly choose any arbitrator and one who is unethical or who has developed a bad reputation is likely to be weeded out early on in exchange for those individuals with solid experience and references. [Read more…]

What to Expect When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California

Making the decision to move forward of a bankruptcy filing is not an easy one, but you can make the process easier by being prepared and educating yourself about what you will need and how the process will unfold.

Bear in mind that you will need to undergo credit counseling within six months before you file for bankruptcy relief.  After you file bankruptcy, you will be responsible for completing a financial management course.  Set up a consultation with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney well in advance of your intention to file so that you are clear about what’s expected of you. [Read more…]

Is Employment Mediation More Predictable Than Litigation?

One of the biggest unknowns in a workplace dispute litigated case has to do with the outcome.  There are many factors that could influence the outcome of work benefits or work conditions conflict, and it’s nearly impossible to predict how the case will end at the outset.  The case in which the court is heard, the attorney representing the other party, and the judge presiding over the case can all have a significant influence on the outcome. [Read more…]

Can I keep my car or home?

Yes, you can do so by entering into a reaffirmation agreement with the secured lender requiring you to continue paying on the secured property which is not dischargeable, unlike most unsecured property, in bankruptcy court.  If your property is secured through a loan that you plan to continue paying down, you can choose to keep that property.  Exemption limits are governed by Federal and State Statue, as discussed below, and do apply to the equity you have in certain items of property.  If for example, you have a car loan, the equity value is determined by calculating the difference between the amounts owed and fair market value of your vehicle. [Read more…]

Are All of My Assets Exempt in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically associated with the fresh start concept because it allows you to wipe out most of your unsecured debts and retain certain exempt assets.  Chapter 7 is a liquidation process in which a trustee is appointed by the Department of Justice who steps in, deals with your creditors and organizes assets of the estate, with authority to sell those assets that are not exempt in order to pay off your creditors. Once you file for bankruptcy protection the Court imposes an “Automatic Stay” against the commencement or continuation of any act by a creditor, including the IRS, to collect, garnish, levy or enforce a judgment against  you, without first obtaining  the required “Relief From Stay” to do so from the Court.  [Read more…]

Using Mediation to Improve Communication and Resolve Work Benefit Disputes

Mediation has several distinct advantages for resolving existing work place and commercial disputes which can be helpful for determining weaknesses in existing structures and identifying ways to mitigate conflict risks in the future.  Typically, an employer and employee may reach an impasse over certain benefits and work conditions after good faith negotiations to resolve their dispute.  This is a time to call in an experienced California Labor and Employment Mediator to assist the parties in sorting through their issues and for resolution.  Mediation is cost effective and non- adversarial, unlike costly litigation. [Read more…]

The Needs of the Many: Confidentiality versus Transparency in Arbitration

One of the major “selling points” of arbitration as an alternative to litigation has always been the confidentiality of the process: Whereas litigation becomes part of the public record, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution are considered expressions of autonomy: Both parties agree voluntarily to handle their disputes in a certain way.  As a result, privacy is often assumed as arbitration is a private negotiation. [Read more…]