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  • Writer's pictureJudge Michael Donio

Ask The Judge


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MY MORTGAGE COMPANY WITH ESCROW DID NOT PAY MY PROPERTY TAXES AND MY

PROPERTY MAY NOW BE SOLD AT A TAX SALE. WHAT IS MY RECOURSE?


This question has many kinks in it. If your mortgage company is escrowing for property taxes, I don’t know any reason why your taxes would not be current, and your property would be listed for a tax sale. I would think that at some point, you received notice from your town that your taxes were not being paid and that your property was going to go to a tax sale and/or into foreclosure.


At that point, it was incumbent upon you to immediately get in touch with your mortgage company to find out what is going on. If you did not get a good proper response, then a seasoned real estate attorney should be brought in so that this would have been stopped before it escalated to the point where your property may be sold at a tax sale.


Sometimes certain mortgage companies merge or are bought out by another mortgage company and things can happen during the transition. But, if you are paying as a part of your mortgage an amount of money that is supposed to go to taxes and paid by the mortgage company, this should never have happened. Depending on where you are with this, I would get in touch with a Real Estate attorney as soon as possible.


I AM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED BUT ON SHORT TERM DISABILITY. CAN I WORK FOR ANOTHER COMPANY AS LONG AS THE WORK IS NOT RELATED?


In a word I think you should proceed with extreme caution. If you are out on short term disability that means the State or someone else is paying you because you are not able to work at your current job or not full time. How then can you expect to go work for a second company in an unrelated work area? I think that you are treading on choppy waters and if I were you, I would consult with a disability Social Security type lawyer so that they could advise you the ramifications of taking short term disability payments while it appears that you are not only able to work at your current job but for another company as well. You should address this as soon as possible.


IF I BECOME PREGNANT CAN MY EMPLOYER FIRE OR RE-ASSIGN ME OR LOWER MY PAY?


The question is very timely as many cases before the courts involved employment disputes. There is the law against discrimination that is a remedial New Jersey Statute that prohibits employers from discriminating against anyone based on race and many other things which includes disability. A pregnancy is considered a disability for employment purposes. Your employer cannot fire you or lower your pay only because you are pregnant.


If you have a pregnancy where you must go out of work, disability and medical leave must be offered to you and firing you or lowing your pay should not happen. However, the bottom line is that disability includes pregnancy, and the rules are very specific on what your employer can and cannot do. The majority of the mediations that I am now doing actually concern employment disputes such as you describe above. Many of them are based on race, gender, and of course different types of disabilities. This is a very growing area of the law and if a plaintiff prevails in an action under the current Statutes, the employer is also responsible to pay your legal fees. It is one of the few situations in which that happens.


If you are discriminated in any way because of a pregnancy, I suggest you speak with an employment lawyer or someone that can refer you to an employment lawyer so that you know all of your rights.


Judge Michael Donio served as a New Jersey State Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring on July 31, 2015. He now operates a legal consulting and mediation firm on the White Horse Pike. Donio can be reached by calling (609) 481-2919. Send your questions for his columns to askthejudge@hammontongazette.com.


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