Parties in Dispute: Their Wants vs. Interests and Needs

In a mediation, after learning the basic facts and issues in dispute, the mediator will work to identify each party’s interests and needs; this is different than a party’s “wants.” If a party has not already focused on her interests and needs, the mediator will help her do so. In this way, the mediator can help each party craft proposals that address her interests and needs and those of her adversary. The beginning of the road to settlement.

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Is the Discharged Employee Entitled to Severance?

Employees are only entitled to severance if provided for in an employment contract.

Severance, where provided for in a contract, can, especially with senior-level executives, be for quite a large amount of money. If there are severance provisions, typically there will be contractual definitions of termination for “cause”; in those instances, employees terminated for “cause” will usually not be entitled to severance.

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It’s Over: Ending the Employer-Employee Relationship in New York State

New York is an at-will state. If the employee does not have a contract entitling her to continued employment for a period of time and/or setting forth grounds necessary for termination, and if no discrimination is involved and the law is not otherwise violated, an employer can discharge an employee at any time for any, or no reason.

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Divergent Perspectives Converge in Mediation

The parties have been at it for a while, without coming to an agreement. When is the mediation “over”? In any mediation, the parties and the mediator may view the give and take differently. From the parties’ standpoint, they may think it’s over as soon as they receive the first demand or offer from the other side. If that demand or offer is significantly higher or lower than they expected, they may immediately feel that they are too far away for the mediation to be successful.

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Does an Agreement Have to be in Writing to be Enforceable?

Must your agreement be in writing to be enforceable? The answer is: Yes. Or no. In the world we live in, we make agreements with other people, with companies, and with other businesses. Sometimes they’re formal and in writing, but other times (in the real world), they are not. Can that agreement be enforceable if it’s not in writing? It could be. If it is in writing, is it foolproof? 

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Mediation: An Attractive Alternative in the Commercial & Non-Commercial Division

I described a pilot mediation program launched that month by the Commercial Division of New York County Supreme Court to supplement its existing mediation program. That pilot program ended in late January of 2016; however, the Commercial Division has now launched a new pilot mediation program, as well as an expansion of the existing Commercial Division program.

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