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California residents looking to use a mediator as a way to solve conflict outside of a courtroom. Finding a good mediator can be an intimidating process if you don’t know where to start, however.

What does a mediator do?

A mediator isn’t meant to decide who is right or wrong, like a judge or jury is. Rather, mediators are meant to navigate the pathway to compromise.

The ultimate goal in mediation isn’t for one party to win or lose, but rather for a settlement to be reached or for an understanding to happen between both parties. There are many reasons that California residents and companies might want to consider a mediator:

  • To preserve a working or other relationship
  • To reach a compromise or understanding when emotions are high
  • To resolve a conflict when the parties are unable to

What good qualities will a mediator have?

Mediators are professionally trained to help both parties resolve their conflict. As such, they cannot be biased in either direction. A good mediator will do everything they can to be as unbiased as possible when handling a mediation. If either party feels like there might be bias, they can negotiate with their lawyer to find a better mediator or to make their complaint heard.

Mediators are not only meant to be unbiased, but they’re meant to best handle both parties. This means using active listening skills and asking questions to thoroughly understand both sides.

The process of mediation can take a long time as well. It shouldn’t be rushed, by the parties or the mediator handling the conflict.

Mediation is often used as a last resort before something is taken to court or a working relationship is ended. As such, the mediator and the parties involved should be fully committed to finding a resolution that works for everyone.

Diversity and inclusion are often umbrella terms that define a number of complicated issues. A workforce of people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds can strengthen a company and improve a business’ reputation among consumers.

However, achieving diversity can also present significant challenges. Many leaders are overwhelmed when it comes to developing procedures that accurately promote workplace diversity. If you’re a California employer, here are some ways you can bring positive attention to diversity and how this fits into your company values.

Be clear about the issues

Company policies may address several diversity-related issues, including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racial disparities, and discrimination pertaining to religion. Acceptance should be the overall goal of your company, so it’s best to pinpoint specific diversity and inclusion policies in your office to see if any changes are necessary. These changes can include not asking a person’s age during the interviewing process or providing gender-neutral restrooms.

Celebrate everyone’s uniqueness

Some businesses have diverse days to appreciate the cultural and ethnic differences of their employees. While addressing legal protection pertaining to diversity and inclusion is important, team members should also feel seen and heard in a practical way to boost company morale.

Create policies in accordance with company objectives

Once you’ve clarified the diversity and inclusion needs of your company, take a look at your mission statement. Develop regulations that work in conjunction with the ethics of your company and emphasize that your business is committed to strengthening your professional team and making a positive impact in your community by celebrating the differences of your employees.

As you develop your policies, include them in your handbooks and new hire documents so that everyone can understand the concepts and review them as needed.

Hiring employees for your business in California typically focuses on finding individuals who have proficient skills and education in the jobs you need to fill. Taking this one step further by adding cultural diversity to the mix can make your workplace even better. Opening your employment opportunities to a wide range of different backgrounds based on culture, race and religion can bring several additional benefits to your company and fellow employees.

Improve your workplace by focusing on cultural diversity

Avoiding the practice of not employing a person based on race or other factors such as age, religious beliefs, disability or sexual orientation is imperative under employment law. Not only is discrimination illegal, but making efforts to diversify offers many positives to your company.

Adding individuals from different cultures can be beneficial in several ways by improving creativity, increasing productivity and boosting profits. Your company and each employee can benefit significantly by hiring a more diverse workforce. Taking this action brings several different talents together in one spot. Employees with different cultural backgrounds may see the world differently, so working together can bring out different experiences and perspectives. These diverse perspectives can result in several more solutions and new ideas.

Cultural diversity can also lead to greater employee engagement. Sharing personal experiences that are different allows each employee to learn something new about other cultures and lifestyles. Incorporating this factor into your business can be a building block in trust and increase the number of skill sets available.

At the same time, it’s likely to reflect positively on your reputation. Avoiding discrimination at your company allows you to offer a broader range of customer service to the people you’re selling to, whether that’s locally or globally. Employing individuals from different cultural backgrounds allows your company to relate with clients more efficiently and personally.

Taking all the positives into consideration reveals how focusing on cultural diversity can be a winning situation. It’s likely to offer your company and employees more opportunities for growth.

If you own a business in California, you want your employees to be happy. However, problems can arise and there may be disputes in the workplace as a result. Workplace mediation is a great way to settle these issues. There are certain benefits everyone can get from mediation as well.

When should you use mediation?

Workplace mediation is an effective tool in an employer’s arsenal for settling any type of conflict that effects employees. The best time to rely on it is immediately after a dispute arises. If you wait, things can escalate between the employees and their relationship might deteriorate to the point where mediation might not even help.

It’s important to know that workplace mediation may not always be appropriate. If there is a situation of workplace harassment or bullying, it’s probably not an effective means for settling things. Instead, you would have to take more drastic actions to discipline the abuser.

What are the benefits of mediation in the workplace?

You may want to avoid being too formal with your workplace mediation tactics. Using an informal method is much better and can be more effective for the parties involved in the dispute. Mediation offers the following benefits:

  • It gives the parties in the dispute the opportunity to openly and honestly share their side of things.
  • It allows supervisors or managers the chance to respond more quickly to the problem.
  • It’s confidential and only involves the parties in dispute and a mediator.
  • It allows the dispute to be handled early on to prevent it from escalating.
  • It gets to the heart of the matter to solve the problem and improve relationships.

Mediation can solve workplace disputes when done early and in an informal manner. Ultimately, it can improve relationships in the workplace as well.

Ideally, everyone who works together in an office or warehouse would get along. However, the truth is that conflict between coworkers often arises. If you own a California business, it’s important that you have policies in place designed to resolve disputes between employees in a timely manner.

You want to maintain a positive workplace culture

People do their best work when they feel safe and supported. Individuals who are routinely threatened, belittled or otherwise harassed will generally be less productive and have lower levels of job satisfaction. In some cases, that employee’s negative attitude will start to rub off on others in the office.

Eventually, you will need to intervene or risk ceding control of your business to the office bullies. In addition to a workplace mediation program, it may be worthwhile to have your employees take a harassment training course. Offering such a course may empower your workers to stand up for themselves and others before a conflict escalates too far.

Mediation can avert a potential lawsuit

If you’re not willing to intervene at the first sign of trouble, your employees may decide to take legal action. Even if a workplace mediation plan doesn’t yield a positive outcome, it may help to reduce your liability in the event of a lawsuit. This is because an employee may be less likely to claim that he or she was subject to a hostile workplace.

Allowing conflicts between employees to escalate may create a toxic workplace culture. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to help colleagues resolve their differences in a respectful and timely manner. If necessary, more than one meeting can be scheduled to ensure that a problem is solved for good.

Keeping the passwords to cryptocurrency wallets secret is a smart idea. If a password fell into the wrong hands, all the virtual cash could disappear. However, without the password, leaving all that cryptocurrency to a beneficiary might be a hollow gesture. The California probate process could become stressful and aggravating when heirs and beneficiaries lose access to digital accounts. For this reason, effectively organizing digital accounts must become a priority when estate planning.

Estate planning and the digital world

Digital asset” is a term that covers a significant amount of territory. Cryptocurrency, online brokerage accounts, social media profiles, emails, and even photo and file storage methods fall under the digital asset heading. Without passwords or a way to retrieve passwords, an executor or a beneficiary won’t be able to access these accounts.

More importantly, no one will try to access the accounts if they don’t know the accounts exist. Compiling a list of various digital accounts should be the first step when working those assets into estate planning.

The list should include usernames, passwords and connected email addresses. In short, an executor or an authorized beneficiary should not have any impediments to accessing the accounts. Maybe a bill requires swift payment, or transferring money to a new account has to be done right away.

Executors and heirs are not the only ones who may require access to the list and passwords. Someone with power of attorney may find these accounts helpful. Effective planning could make things easier for everyone who has business with the accounts.

Preserving account safety and security

Putting the digital account and password information in a safe place requires some deliberate thought. Writing all the passwords down on paper and putting them inside a drawer isn’t the best plan. Saving them in the cloud as a document comes with risks of being hacked. Even an executor of the estate could have a hard time getting access to a safety deposit box.

Why not put the information into an attorney-client file? The attorney’s safe or safe deposit box could keep prying eyes out while affording authorized access to others when the appropriate time comes.

People who live and work in California want to have a positive experience in the workplace. Unfortunately, issues such as sexual harassment still occur in spite of laws making such behavior illegal. Employers can do their part by preventing workplace sexual harassment.

The importance of preventing sexual harassment

Workplaces should have good diversity and inclusion standards. When employees are a mix of races, religions, genders, gender identities, ages and more, it shows that the place of employment truly values everyone, their professional positions and their contributions to the company.

Train employees to not engage in sexual harassment

One of the best ways to prevent a hostile workplace is to offer training sessions to teach your employees about the dangers of sexual harassment. You can train employees not to engage in sexual or any other type of harassment by educating them on company standards and policies. Along with training your staff, you can implement strong procedures to ensure that if harassment does occur, employees can immediately report it.

Raise awareness

Make your staff aware of what constitutes sexual harassment and what they should do if they believe they’re directly or indirectly affected by it. This can help your employees to be less tolerant of certain behaviors in the work environment.

Encourage openness

Encouraging openness in your workplace is important. It allows employees who are being harassed to feel free to speak up. When openness is encouraged, it makes the workplace a better place for all your employees, and harassment is less likely to happen.

Create a handbook

Create a handbook for your staff so that they have a reference that lets them know what’s considered sexual harassment and what they should do if it occurs. Your handbook should also clearly explain where employees can go if they wish to report an incident.

In spite of workplaces being more diverse than ever, sexual harassment still takes place in many companies regardless of size or industry. It is up to employers to put protocols in place that help prevent workplace sexual harassment.

Going into a hostile work environment each day is never easy, and it can lead to intense mental and emotional trauma if not addressed and/or remedied immediately. If you feel as if you are working in a hostile work environment, it is important to protect yourself legally, especially if you are living in the State of California.

What is a hostile work environment?

The term “hostile” can be extremely subjective, as one individual may feel hostile in an environment where others feel completely welcomed and relaxed. In order for a workplace to qualify as “hostile,” discrimination must violate one or more of the following legal acts:

– The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
– The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
– Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

If you believe your workplace is currently violating one of the acts above, you may require additional legal counsel for your particular situation and case to prove the need for more diversity and inclusion.

Examples of a hostile work environment

Defining a hostile work environment is not always simple or straightforward, as individuals tend to interpret various actions and words of others differently from one another. However, some of the most prevalent examples of a hostile work environment that are likely to trigger additional movements for more diversity and inclusion include:

– An employee or an individual in a position of power making sexual comments or jokes that may be deemed offensive due to gender, race, or religion
– A boss or individual in charge makes homophobic/racist/or sexist remarks to staff and other individuals in places of power with no remorse/guilt/shame

If you are being harassed or discriminated against in your own workplace, it is highly advisable to seek legal counsel and guidance. The right legal team can help you to better identify and address any discrimination you are facing while working towards improving the workplace for all of your co-workers altogether.

Throughout California and the rest of the country, more employers are realizing how beneficial it is to have diverse groups of employees. Here are several advantages when employers go out of their way to include a diverse workforce.

Employers hire great workers and retain them

When employers have a diverse workforce, it’s easier to hire and retain top talent. This is because many people, especially younger adults, have learned the importance of diversity and being inclusive throughout their lives. These same people will likely consider how diverse a company is before deciding to work for it.

Companies become more innovative

In a workplace, people need to come together and solve problems. Employers might not get the best results if everyone in an office has the same life experiences. Fortunately, companies can solve this problem by focusing on diversity and inclusion. With a diverse team of employees, a company can better come up with innovative solutions.

Employees enjoy enriching work experiences

Another important benefit of diversity in the workplace has to do with a company’s current employees. When these people work in diverse environments, they can gain value and information from interacting with individuals from all walks of life. In time, learning about others’ experiences can help teach employees a lot more about business and help them serve clients and customers from various backgrounds.

Having a diverse workforce is beneficial for many reasons, but not every business or employee gets to experience all of these benefits. Discrimination on the job is a potential obstacle to reaping the advantages of a diverse workforce. If an employer violated your rights as an employee or failed to protect you from discrimination, you may want to consider speaking with an employment law attorney.

Dealing with a rude co-worker or supervisor can be highly annoying and may interfere with your ability to do your job. While the behavior of a bad boss or co-worker may be offensive, it is frequently not illegal and is, instead, an indicator of a poor management style or workplace culture. However, depending on the reasons for the person’s conduct, it can cross the line into illegal behavior when it targets the victim’s protected characteristics.

When rude behavior constitutes illegal harassment

A supervisor who shouts at employees or belittles them may not be acting illegally but may prompt people to want to quit and find new jobs. However, when a supervisor or co-worker’s conduct is directed at specific people in the workplace based on their protected characteristics, it may be illegal harassment. Under state and federal anti-discrimination laws, employers are forbidden from engaging in discrimination and harassment based on an individual’s:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military status
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • National origin

When a person is targeted for harassment based on one or more of these protected characteristics, the conduct may be illegal. However, it must be pervasive or severe enough to create a hostile work environment in which a reasonable person would find that the actions interfere with his or her ability to perform his or her job. This means that a single incident will generally not be enough to constitute illegal harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment

A second type of harassment that can occur is quid pro quo harassment. This involves a person in a position of authority offering benefits or threatening adverse actions unless the employee agrees to perform sexual favors. Quid pro quo harassment is also illegal.

People who believe that they are being harassed at work because of their protected characteristics should start by filing internal complaints within their companies. If their employers fail to investigate or take corrective action, they may then file discrimination and harassment charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An attorney with extensive knowledge of employment law may help throughout the entire process, up to and including filing a formal civil complaint in the appropriate court.