Yelena Perchuk, Esq.
General Counsel to Oakwoods Park Homeowners Association in Old Bridge, NJ
Board Member (2017) of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Borough of Fair Lawn, NJ, appointed by Mayor Cosgrove
CLE Presenter on Laws Against Cyber Bullying and Cyber Harassment
Member, Women Lawyers in Bergen County
Member of Bergen County Bar Association's Land Use, Criminal Law,
Internet Law, Product Liability, Health and Hospital Law, and Golf and
ATTORNEY PERCHUK'S REFLECTIONS:
ON LIFE AFTER DIVORCE:My clients often ask me if there is even a life after divorce. And my answer is a resounding YES! I am certain that there is a beautiful life ahead because everything is better than misery of a bad relationship. So, in my opinion, the more complicated and emotionally (and financially) draining the divorce is, the more wonderful the life awaiting you!
Often my dear ladies, especially the ones who got hurt by their exes cheating, drinking, gambling or worse, are trying to get back at their ex-men by imposing a prolonged and costly custody battle. I always suggest to the ladies to go for a shared custody because, in the long run, it would work in your favor. If your ex would take your child / children at least every other weekend for entertainment, you would have more time for yourself; if your son or daughter would feel loved by their father, the child most likely would have less emotional problems than the child whose father doesn’t care, or just is not allowed in the child’s life. Please, ladies, try not to get caught in a delusion that hurting your ex would bring you happiness. Let him help you raise the child (if he wants to do it, of course), let the new woman in his life feel that he has an obligation, so they would have something to argue about, while the new you, wearing a new dress and a pair of your favorite shoes will be going out with your friends! Do you remember not even having time for it when you were married? Or put on some yoga pants, a t-shirt stating “fitness is happiness”, sign up for the gym, and go for a workout! Or buy a cute tennis skirt and go to the tennis / racquet club. These offer many fantastic programs for the beginners and advanced players in different settings and in the evenings! And you can learn how to play a guitar or a piano, or even go to law school! Just please do not say to me that you do not want to. Instead, prepare, do good on the LSAT, and then tell me what you really want!
Also, it is very important, after your divorce finalizes, not to start thinking that all married couples are happy. Remember, you were there making the best photos and the nicest impression on others, while being miserable and sore inside. Happiness is not about showing off and making others think that you are ecstatic. Happiness is what actually makes you happy, and the jealousy of others is definitely not your goal!
In return for all my fine advice, please drop me a line saying “Wow, Ms. Perchuk, you were right… So much better than that!” If you do not want to disclose your name, don’t! I would like to hear from you because I love you and believe in you!
ON DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE: As bad as any discrimination is, discrimination in the workplace is the worst. For instance, if your neighbor is calling you a nigger, fat lazy ass, peon*, retarded, dirty, or get physical by elbowing you, pushing you, following you everywhere, or else, you have a choice as to whether to call the police, or tell the person what you think of his or her behavior, or to just ignore that individual.
If you experience all or one of the above in your workplace from a co-worker with your manager watching and doing nothing to protect you, or, worse, if your manager is the one doing all of the above, it is different than being harassed by your neighbor or by a stranger on the street. Because of fear of losing your job, you would be afraid to call the police, or tell a co-worker or a manager what you think of his or her abusive behavior.
The abused in the workplace individuals have everything to lose by speaking up – the source of income and a possibility of receiving the unemployment benefits (your abuser-employer will most likely appeal your benefits), and, in fact, finding a job (because your abuser-employer will keep on providing bad references).
However, the law is on your side. If you are being discriminated in the workplace, you should act! Do not think that abuse would stop because you would be patient and obedient. Unpunished abuse always only gets worse! The most terrifying fact about abuse, is that abuse destroys everyone on different levels. The employee thinks that there is no escape, and most of the time gets emotionally sick, which is even more dangerous than physical pain. Other employees, seeing that the evil employer goes unpunished, begin to think that such an environment is normal, and even conclude that there might be something wrong with you, if you are allowing the abuse, that you know something about yourself that they don’t. The abuse is bad for the employer-abuser as well because finally he or she might go to prison or pay you big money for your pain.
Basically, by suing your employer, you are not only standing up for yourself, but also for your surroundings and for the employer him or herself.
If you are getting harassed in the workplace and / or were wrongfully fired, you must immediately act by contacting an attorney.
I am warning you not to fight back physically or verbally, because it will be used against you. Your employer will usually have better resources than you.
Immediately after experiencing harassment, start a diary and write down every date when an incidents of harassment occurs. Make recordings. Ask other employees if they would be willing to testify on your behalf.
Good luck with your legal battle!
* Peon: a person held in compulsory servitude to a master for the working out of an indebtedness (Merriam Webster)