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Experiencing harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, or an injury on the job may force you to seek outside legal assistance and action.  Though it may be difficult to decide to sue a former employer, sometimes you may be forced to due to egregious negligence or as a possible form of recourse for yourself.

Filing a lawsuit or seeking legal assistance against an employer is a complicated process.  We’re going to discuss what you should expect and when it is appropriate to file a lawsuit.  You should take these expectations into consideration before you decide to move forward.  In addition, please note that this is not legal advice, nor do we proclaim to have legal knowledge on your specific situation.  This is a general guideline which we hope you will find useful.

When Is A Lawsuit Against Your Employer Appropriate?

Lawsuits against your employer should be saved and only utilized for the most egregious acts.  This means that you will need to verify that the suit is appropriate before deciding to seek outside counsel and assistance.  There are a variety of times and situations where it may be appropriate to pursue legal actions.  If you believe that you have been in one of the below circumstances, then seeking outside counsel should be your next step.

You’ve Faced Discrimination

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 sets forth a civil and labor law which outlines and outlaws specific forms of discrimination.  The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, or religion.  Generally, the law applies to employers with fifteen or more employees and includes federal, state, and local governments.  Having been discriminated for one of these protected classes is a suitable and legitimate reason to seek legal counsel and file a lawsuit.

Suffered Harassment

 There are many differing forms of harassment which can occur in the workplace.  Harassment in the workplace does not necessarily need to come from your employer, it can come from a colleague or coworker, a vendor, a client, or a manager.  If you have been harassed at work and see that no recourse is being done, than you may seek legal counsel to remedy.

Wrongfully Terminated

We’ve previously discussed steps to take when you’ve been wrongfully terminated.  A wrongful termination occurs when an employer lets an employee go for reasons other than for performance related reasons.  However, pursuing legal action due to wrongful termination suits requires a very specific set of legal frameworks and guidelines.  In order to claim wrongful termination, you must be able to prove the termination was based on one of the following factors:

  • In violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which applies to race, national origin, gender, and religion
  • Equal pay discrimination
  • Age discrimination
  • Disability discrimination
  • National origin discrimination

Suffered a Workplace Injury

Most workplace injuries are covered under workers’ compensation, some injuries may be more egregious and are not covered.  These injuries are generally due to negligence, toxic substances, intentional accidents, or a defective product.  Seeking outside counsel is appropriate here and can also be pursued if your employers’ workers’ compensation plan is insufficient or does not cover the injuries you’ve sustained.

Initial Steps

Once you’ve determined that you have an eligible suit to file against your employer, you will want to seek outside counsel and legal assistance.  Seeking outside legal assistance will help you file the correct paperwork and complete the necessary steps.

However, before opting to pursue legal recourse, you may find it beneficial and prudent to discuss the claims with your employer.  Doing so will provide them with adequate time to resolve the issue and mediate an adequate solution directly with you.  This will also prove beneficial, should your employer disregard your concerns or claims if you do continue to seek legal recourse and outside counsel.

Seeking outside counsel is beneficial and recommended as you will have the assistance of a legal team who has experience in these lawsuits.  Their experience will prove invaluable and indispensable, especially as your employer will likely have their own form of legal counsel representing them.  You do not want to go this alone and finding an experienced attorney or legal team will be beneficial in the long-term.

Can a Future Employer Barr Employment Due to A Previous Suit?

This is, unfortunately, a common fear of many employees.  However, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing laws prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the job, has said that refusing to hire an applicant due to a previous suit they filed against an employer is a form of illegal retaliation.

Conclusion

Knowing when to file a suit against a current or previous employer can be a difficult decision.  However, if you feel that you were discriminated against, suffered harassment, wrongfully terminated, or suffered a workplace injury, then it may be worthwhile to seek a lawsuit.  It may be prudent to discuss any issues with your employer before filing a suit, however you may discuss the specifics and best next steps with your legal counsel.  Many times, workplace attorneys offer a free initial consultation where they can help you navigate your next steps.

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