Are you a former or existing employee looking to take your previous or current employer to court? Depending on the state you work in, your profession, or your employer’s size and reputation, you possess specific legal rights in case of malpractice.
If you decide to sue your employer, you first need to build a solid case against them and collect evidence that supports your claim. However, it is of utmost importance that you take all the steps necessary to resolve the matter internally before battling it out in the open.
A wise place to start is by checking your employer’s grievance policy to know what you need to do and the person you should talk to about your concerns. Suppose your attempts to resolve the matter peacefully fail to conjure up your expected outcome.
In that case, it is time to take a more direct approach. That said, not everyone knows the nitty-gritty of employment law and might not stand a chance against an employer with a team of suit-wearing lawyers and a truckload of money.
If you intend to sue your employer, the following tips may come in handy.
Take a look at your contract
Before you even think about taking anybody to court, reviewing your contract first is a wise decision.
It lists the terms and conditions of your employment. It might contain specific clauses that bind you by law to settle your claim through the company’s grievance procedure. If you and your employer cannot reach a mutual agreement on a settlement, a lawsuit is the next logical step.
Hire an attorney
If you believe that your company has violated your rights or the law, get in touch with an employment attorney to begin the legal process. Keep in mind that your choice of attorney will depend on the type of lawsuit you’re filing.
For example, suppose you feel you aren’t treated properly at your workplace. In that case, you might want to consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in workplace discrimination and harassment law. Similarly, suppose you’ve contracted a terminal illness due to an occupational hazard.
In that case, you might want to approach companies such as Simmons Law Firm that help employees claim compensation from their employers. Depending on the nature of your grievance or claim, the proper legal counsel will help you get the best outcome.
Do some preliminary research
Doing what you think is the best way or something your friend recommended you might be the difference between having a successful claim or not. Do some much-needed research and try to gather as much information as possible about employment law.
Visit various law-related websites and forums to gather as much information regarding different legal claims and matters. Doing so will help you know about your situation and will be of enormous help when you sit down with your attorney.
Keep a record of everything
Ensure that you’re documenting everything along the process. This includes email chains, text conversations, reports, pictures, etc. If you made a complaint to your company’s HR department or supervisor, ensure that you have proof. When recording verbal conversations, check whether your state has any laws related to audio recordings and their credibility in legal proceedings.
For instance, Ohio allows vocal recordings if one of the two parties has given consent to use audio recordings or had given permission at the time of the incident. However, suppose you’re in a two-party consent state. In that case, permission needs to come from both sides to record any verbal conversation. Otherwise, it is unlawful to record your employer without their consent.
Also, ensure that you haven’t deleted any previous information. If you have, now is the time to save every email, social media message or post, phone call logs, text messages, etc. It is wise to preserve every form of evidence you have to substantiate your case.
Come up with a timeline
Using the gathered documentation, come up with a timeline to track all important events and dates. It is also wise to do so early on the legal process and update it as frequently as possible. Also, try to be particular about it. When dealing with emails, write down all information such as the time, date, subject line, sender, receiver, etc.
The more accurate and specific your timeline is, the easier it will be to present details when being in the midst of a lawsuit. You will have all your facts in front of you and will be less likely to falter under pressure tactics the opposing team’s lawyers may use to break your nerves and weaken your case.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against your employer, ensure that you meet legal deadlines.
The law has limits (also known as statutes of limitation) for filing particular lawsuits or claims. It can range from several years to a few weeks. It is best to take immediate action if the time lime is short.
The last thing to remember is to consult a professional lawyer to know how strong your claim and whether you stand a chance to win.