How to Understand Family Law ?

If you do not want to talk to your spouse that is understandable. Some divorce cases can be very acrimonious. If you do not want to experience any any contact with that other person, then you should just hire a divorce attorney.

They could act as a go-between for you and your spouse. This would mean that you can minimise the contact that you have with the spouse that you are divorcing..


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Discrimination law draws no distinction between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Both types bear responsibility for complying with all federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. A nonprofit can be sued for discrimination by employees, volunteers, customers, vendors, people to whom it provides or refuses services, and members of the public. Members of a nonprofit board can also face lawsuits for discrimination. For this reason, it is very important that all nonprofit organizations create an anti-discrimination policy based on all applicable laws.

A nonprofit can be sued for violating anti-discrimination statutes as well as its own anti-discrimination policy. All people who work or volunteer for the organization are required to abide by the policy, which must encompass all laws within the jurisdiction where it operates. For example, all nonprofits must include federal discrimination law in their policies – such as those prohibiting discrimination based on sex, race, and disability. The policy must then include any additional state law requirements. For example, many states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nonprofits must also abide by local regulations. For example, New York City specifically bars employers from denying religious accommodations – such as allowing an employee to take a break for prayer at the time his or her religious beliefs require.

Example of a Nonprofit Discrimination Policy

A nonprofit’s discrimination policy should list each legal basis on which it prohibits discrimination. It should further detail all activities it engages in for which it prohibits discrimination. The statement should then include an exhaustive list of all classifications of people to which the policy applies.

If the nonprofit is also an employer, it should include a separate statement specifically addressing employment discrimination. Nonprofits are subject to all of the employment discrimination laws of for-profit organizations, so nonprofit employment discrimination policies should include all the elements of employment discrimination requirements. These include all legally protected classes, activities where discrimination is prohibited (e.g., hiring, promotions, and terminations), and any applicable affirmative action requirements. Here is a hypothetical nonprofit’s discrimination policy:

Adopted by the Board of Directors on May 7, 2018

Healthcare Equality Services complies with all discrimination laws, including those based on race, color, religion, gender, age (over 40), nationality, physical or mental disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military record, citizenship, or arrest and conviction history where prohibited by New York City law. Healthcare Equality Services prohibits discrimination in all of its activities, such as hiring and firing of employees, volunteers, or vendors, as well as providing our services. We create a diverse and friendly environment for all staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Healthcare Equality Services is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We practice no discrimination and take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in all aspects of employment, hiring, pay rates, termination, promotion, and all other terms of employment, including working conditions. This includes discrimination against any employee or prospective employee on the bases of protected characteristics as defined under federal law, New York State law, New York City law, and discrimination laws of any other jurisdictions where we operate.

How to Sue a Nonprofit for Discrimination

Nonemployee lawsuits

When a nonemployee experiences discrimination by a nonprofit, the best method for redressing the grievance depends on the jurisdiction, the type of discrimination, and sometimes the type of organization. Lawsuits can be initiated by a local, state, or federal agency after the victim files a complaint, by a legal-action organization such as the American Civil Liberties Union, or be brought directly to court through a private attorney or pro se litigation. Certain types of discrimination require a charge be filed with the relevant governmental agency before a case can be filed in state or federal court.

Each state has a human rights act and an agency responsible for enforcing its provisions. State human rights acts always include prohibitions against discrimination based on federal criteria. Many states then add their own additional categories of discrimination. When a person experiences discrimination covered by the state’s human rights act, they can sue by filing a complaint with the state’s human rights department within 180 days of the incident.

For example, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) enforces the state’s public accommodations law, which requires all organizations dealing with the public to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. If a nonprofit organization refused to accommodate a person because they were blind or in a wheelchair, that person could file a complaint against the nonprofit with the IDHR.

Nonprofits involved in housing are subject to housing discrimination laws that are enforced by state human rights departments or by the federal Department of Justice. For example, a nonprofit homeowners association that imposed unfair fines against a member because of race could face a housing discrimination charge, which would be filed with the appropriate state or federal agency.

The law prohibits healthcare nonprofits from refusing service to people for discriminatory reasons. For example, many lawsuits have been filed against medical nonprofits that refused services to transgender individuals. Discrimination in healthcare falls under the purview of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Lawsuits in state and federal court could also result from this type of discrimination complaint.

Employment discrimination

Both state human rights departments and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforce employment discrimination laws. Complaints are subject to strict time limits. With few exceptions, a claim must be filed within 180 days of the incident of discrimination. For example, if a person believes they were fired from a nonprofit because of their religion, he or she needs to file the complaint within 180 days of the termination. When a complaint is filed with the EEOC or a state human rights department, it is automatically cross filed with its state or federal counterpart. The choice of where to file the claim is often based on the laws of the particular jurisdiction.

Nonprofit organizations must comply with all anti-discrimination laws. Failure to comply often results in a complaint against the nonprofit with a state or federal agency. By creating a policy against illegal discrimination that applies to all employees, volunteers, vendors, customers, and the public, nonprofits can protect themselves against liability. Bringing a case for discrimination against a nonprofit can result in protracted litigation and substantial monetary awards.

Volunteering for nonprofits is a common way that millions of people give back to their communities and help the less fortunate. People spend between a few hours and several years volunteering at blood banks, food drives, and soup kitchens. It is an honorable way of spending time that can also help people build social networks and make friends. However, in some instances, volunteering at nonprofit organizations may prove to be dangerous. Those dangers are exacerbated by nonprofits that push individuals to do more than they originally agreed to or felt comfortable with. When those requests go too far, they can result in injuries and a considerable amount of liability for the nonprofit in question.

Nonprofits and Volunteers

The image that many people have of nonprofits working on shoestring budgets with no considerable income stream is not accurate in many instances. Nonprofits can be very similar to for-profit companies. Some of them are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. These institutions employ thousands of people all around the world. They have a number of people who work for them who are frequently given a number of tasks to complete. These tasks may involve lifting heavy objects or working with complicated equipment. Such tasks often come fraught with a level of possible danger. Individuals can drop objects on themselves or be caught up in machines. They may be injured interacting with members of the public or handling food. These injuries may involve lost wages and massive medical bills.

Such possible problems are the major reasons why nonprofits have a considerable amount of liability insurance. This liability insurance helps to protect them from the damages and medical costs that may go along with a potential injury. The company pays a small amount each month so they will be able to handle possible large expenditures in the future.

Volunteers with nonprofits also sometimes have to sign waiver agreements. these waivers help to protect the nonprofit from the possibility of a lawsuit from an individual injured volunteering for them. They show that an individual knows and understands the risks they will be facing while working this volunteer position. The variable nature of work for nonprofits means that these institutions often do not have to pay for the workers’ compensation insurance that for-profit companies have to pay for.

Liabilities and Nonprofits

However, in some ways these companies are even more susceptible to injury related lawsuits then for-profit companies are. The main reason for this is the fickle nature of volunteer labor. The waivers that nonprofit organizations draw up for their volunteers often focus on a set of volunteer duties that an individual has signed up for. Having such a set of duties can cause problems for the volunteer organization because of the ways in which volunteer organizations use labor.

When a group does not pay workers, there is an inevitable shortage of labor. Individuals are almost assumed to do extra work because a volunteer does not show up when they agreed to. Being required to do extra labor outside of their original skill set often brings people outside of the parameters of the original waiver agreement. This activity can open up a nonprofit to a lawsuit.

The lawsuits coming from a nonprofit related injury can vary wildly. Minor injuries often involve minor settlements or awards. A nonprofit may be asked to simply pay for medical bills for an individual. A large number of nonprofits will simply pay the medical bills in order to keep their reputation and their volunteer. In other cases, the judgment will be much more severe. Nonprofits can be guilty of the same malicious workplace violations that for-profit companies may be guilty of.

They can work individuals in unsafe conditions and illegally return them to work after they have injuries that otherwise seen minor. Nonprofits may also threaten retaliation against individuals who report their injuries. Such retaliation points to a willful disregard of the law and may lead to punitive damages that will exceed an individual’s medical bills period. In a particularly severe case, a nonprofit could be on the hook for millions of dollars for improperly treating an injured volunteer or employee. It is up to an attorney and a judge to decide whether or not an individual has a case and is entitled to a significant compensation from a nonprofit.

Nonprofit Injuries: What to Do

If you are injured while working for a nonprofit, the first step to take is to seek immediate medical care. You want to make sure that you are safe and healthy, no matter the situation. Once basic recuperation has occurred, you should go back over any material that you signed and agreed to before you begin to work for the nonprofit. This material includes any job duties or waivers against lawsuits that you may have signed. All of the material will become available for discovery. Losing certain documents may result in a weaker case or even in an individual losing his or her case. Depending on the severity of your injury and your likelihood of having a case, it is almost always preferable to at least talk to an attorney.

Short meetings with attorneys are sometimes free and will help you determine if you have a case and if you should pursue that case further. If you do pursue a case, you should consider your options about when to continue fighting the case and when to settle. Many individuals who work for volunteer organizations love the work that the organizations are doing and do not want to cause those organizations particular financial harm. An attorney will help you figure out the amounts you need to become whole and the amounts of damages that the nonprofit may have to pay.

Conclusion

Nonprofits offer helpful, productive jobs to millions of people. They give individuals a way to get in touch with their greater community and give back to causes they believe in. Individuals who work for these respectable institutions must be careful and make sure to hold these institutions accountable if they are injured. Ignoring possible legal remedies can result in a person losing thousands of dollars they would otherwise be entitled to.

Sexual harassment cases and accusations frequent the news almost every day. Approximately half of the women report being harassed sexually in their workplace. These days, no gender is exempted because even men go through this ordeal. These headlines give everyone a chance to reflect on the issue as it pertains to the place where people work, including nonprofits.

Volunteers, along with the staff, clients, and the board members of the organization can experience the impact of the sexual assault issue in the workplace. It is worth noting that many nonprofits take on harassment directly – often by means of providing services to those who have gone through such traumatizing event. Others choose to educate their workers, and some use their advocacy for better and stronger laws for preventing it.

Sexual Harassment in a Hostile Workplace

Sexual assault also happens at nonprofit organizations, and recent news showed that business companies and public agencies are not exempt from such an instance. It can happen between one volunteer and another. If you or someone you know is sexually harassed, it is essential to be aware of what to do. Often, one of the most significant questions here is whether the nonprofit itself can be sued.

The most common form of sexual assault involves a hostile workplace in a nonprofit organization. This particular concept is not just about abuse by an authority in the firm. The harasser may use his or her advantage when it comes to size and other characteristics over another member. A hostile work environment can be any of the following:

– The workplace has explicit images or obscene graffiti from a popular song or picture. Often, it becomes unlawful, primarily if a woman is working in a department mostly comprised of men.

– Hugs to everyone in the workplace can be useful in bolstering self-esteem. They may also be welcomed when congratulating someone. However, if the supervisor frequently hugs female coworkers, it may cause alarm for the receiver of the hug. It is true mostly if it lasts too long or is too tight. Often, it is not prompted by excitement or happiness.

– A compliment is not unlawful, but it can become harassment if it is used to hide improper conduct. Typically, whispering to a nonprofit volunteer about how “sexy” he or she is may not be construed as just a compliment, particularly if it is accompanied by other disrespectful behavior.

When a supervisor greets a volunteer with some remarks about his or her body, it may quickly go beyond the limitations of tolerable flirtation.

Should the Nonprofit Be Held Liable for the Hostile Workplace?

If any of the mentioned circumstances above happened to you, one of the things you would like answered is whether the nonprofit is responsible for the hostile work environment or not. The answer to this will depend on whether the organization knows about it or not. If they knew, they could be held liable for the actions of the other volunteer.

The organization should also be held responsible if they reasonably should have known about the events. The harassed person or another individual reported it, but the firm chose not to take corrective action over the matter.

For instance, a young clerk complained about the uncomfortable jokes that she received from her supervisor, and the executive director did not mind the complaint. Often, the authorities in the firm would shrug off the event as, “That is just the way Chris is,” telling the victim to ignore that person and his jokes.

Then, a year later, another person files a formal complaint, alleging that Chris repeatedly showed her vulgar pictures and even followed her home. In this case, the jury will take the previous matter into consideration – where the first young clerk was involved. They will also want to know why the organization ignored the first complaint and did not initiate an investigation.

If the jury finds that the jokes were just the start and if the executive director should have examined the initial complaint, the organization will be held liable. It is because they knew about the harassment and should have performed corrective action and made sure it would not happen again.

Any sexual assault, whether it occurred to a paid staff or a volunteer, will have a direct effect on the organization. It minimizes productivity and even scares away support from the volunteers who may have wanted to join the firm if not for the scandal. It also garners negative publicity and erodes the goodwill of the donors and the community.

Responding to the Harassment

If you are a volunteer at a nonprofit organization, you should be aware that it has several responsibilities to ensure the safety of everyone who works in the firm. The organization should show accountability when it comes to:

– Protecting the constituents and the clients: The firm should ensure that everyone, including the staff and the volunteers, does not bully or harass patrons, clients, and members. It is the duty of the nonprofit to stand up for those who have experienced sexual assault in the workplace.

– Safeguarding the employees: Volunteers, staff, and people who work at the organizations should be protected at all times in case of harassment by those in positions of authority. They should also be safe against those who are outside the firm, such as donors.

– Defending the organization: All lawsuits should be taken care of, including those that relate to sexual harassment.

Sexual assault pertains to unwelcome sexual advances, no matter if it is physical, verbal, or visual. Examples include providing or offering employment but in exchange for sexual favors, verbal abuse that is sexual in nature, and inappropriate touching and other misconduct.

Employers, including those with a nonprofit organization who have at least 50 employees, are obligated to train new supervisors when it comes to preventing sexual assault. All supervisors are also required to undergo the training every two years. This requirement can be met by having employees take a course online, but many nonprofits believe this method to be ineffective.

Therefore, it is important that the organizations understand that training against sexual harassment should be a part of a program where discussion, suggestions, guidelines, and attention are included in the preparation. The goal is for everyone in the group to know the behaviors that are unacceptable and how they should respond if a certain issue arises.

Instances of sexual abuse of a volunteer are often handled by the Human Resources department of the organization. Staff, volunteers, and contractors (along with those who participate in sexual misconduct or any inappropriate behavior with the clients) should be terminated at once after finding proof that sexual assault took place.

A lawsuit is something nobody wishes to face. For nonprofits, the legal landscape for personal liability is even more complex than for most businesses. Members of a board of directors or founders of nonprofit organizations may not be entitled to the same protections from personal liability that other business executives enjoy. It is important to understand how this liability works and consult with legal counsel for specifics.

The Question of Incorporation

One of the primary facets of personal liability is whether or not the nonprofit is incorporated. Incorporated status automatically protects executives, directors, and founders from personal liability. A lawsuit may be leveled against the nonprofit itself for various accidents, injuries, or businesses losses, but individuals are generally protected – with a few exceptions. This is one major reason for a nonprofit to consider incorporating to protect its members.

If the nonprofit is incorporated, any judgments against the organization become debts of the nonprofit. If the nonprofit is unincorporated, then a payment for a judgment could be sought from the directors’ own pockets. This could potentially put personal assets, such as savings accounts and even homes and property, at risk of being liquidated to settle the debt. There is a risk of bankruptcy. These risks have deterred many individuals, especially those with large assets, from serving on boards of directors of unincorporated nonprofits. The good news is that the number of individuals actually sued in these situations is quite small. The choice often comes down to whether the individuals or the nonprofit itself is in a better position to the pay the judgment.

Using Waivers as Protection

If incorporation is not an option for the nonprofit, it may wish to take legal steps to protect itself and its members from liability. The best way to do this is through liability waivers. A liability waiver may be required of volunteers to prevent them from suing the nonprofit for a work-related injury. The waiver may also be presented to those interacting with the nonprofit or using its services to prevent professional liability claims.

Waivers often cannot protect against every possible liability. They also run the risk of alienating or deterring potential volunteers and customers, but they can often protect the nonprofit form the most likely and most expensive liabilities.

Using Insurance as Protection

Another form of protection that should be sought whether the nonprofit is incorporated or not is liability insurance. Insurance can provide protection to both the nonprofit and its directors and founders, because it is easier to claim money from insurance than from an individual’s or organization’s own pocket. While this adds to the nonprofit’s monthly expenses, it is an extremely important protection.

Insurance is effective because of the fact that most lawsuits end in settlement. Insurance represents an easy and quick payout whereas targeting an individual will likely result in a long and slow collections process. Even if personal liability is possible and even if the judgment could exceed insurance amounts, a settlement often will not. If nothing else, the insurance will cover the major share of costs, leaving individuals and the corporation with less worry.

Most organizations will have general insurance. Depending on risk, it may be worthwhile to purchase specific liability insurance in addition to general insurance to ensure full coverage.

Exceptions to Personal Liability

Even if every possible protection is in place, there are certain situations that will leave directors or founders personally liable. These are often very case-specific and are based on the intentional individual wrongdoing of the person involved.

There are three major personal liability concerns that will open a person up to a lawsuit even if they have standard protections:

– The person directly or intentionally injures someone.
– The person intentionally commits a crime, does something fraudulent or otherwise illegal, and      that act directly results in harm and loss to another person or the organization itself.
– The person co-mingles personal funds and nonprofit funds. For example, depositing their own money in the nonprofit account, having a joint account, or allowing an account to be used for both their personal expenses and the nonprofit’s.

Any money in a joint account could be used for liability debts even if the major share of it is personal money.

The Importance of State Laws

Some states offer special protections to nonprofits, directors, founders, and volunteers. These laws give such individuals extra liability protection, even if their nonprofit is unincorporated and even if they do not have basic protections such as waivers or insurance. While organizations should not rely solely on these special state laws for protection, they can help, and it is always a good idea to be aware of them.

Special Considerations for Unpaid Taxes

While most nonprofits are tax exempt in some categories, they may still have some form of tax obligations. This category of liability deserves special mention because it is both often overlooked and the most common type of liability to actually affect directors.

This tax liability often results from a death spiral. A nonprofit may find itself financially strapped and unable to pay taxes. The nonprofit may ultimately fail and leave those taxes unpaid with no money remaining to pay them. The IRS has the authority in this situation to pursue collections against board members and founders. Most legal protections that prevent board members from suffering liability does not protect them against the IRS. Even insurance is unlikely to cover tax liability.

Armed with Knowledge

The best defense any nonprofit director or founder has is knowledge. There is risk involved in becoming the director or founder of an unincorporated nonprofit, but this risk can be minimalized with the right understanding of liability.

A skilled director or board will ensure the right protections are in place for their valuable members. They will also understand how to prevent a liability situation from occurring in the first place. It may not be possible to prevent every situation, but most serious liability situations are the result of mistakes or oversights that can be avoided with the right knowledge and planning.

It is important for nonprofits, especially smaller, more vulnerable organizations, to stay on top of liability issues and protections. These protections are not only vital to the organization’s survival but also vital to the retention of top talent. Skilled directors and managers will have an understanding of liability, and they may be unwilling to serve an organization that manages its liability poorly. The risk of personal liability is a poor reason to lose good directors, and it is one that every nonprofit can avoid. Whether the nonprofit is incorporated or unincorporated, large or small, every organization can and should take steps to protect itself and its leaders from liability.