Deciding to take legal action against someone is not easy. It is even more difficult when you are going to sue your employer. While your employer would want you to think otherwise, you have rights in the workplace. And you have the legal right to sue your employer to protect your rights.
But, there are several things you must consider before filing a claim against your boss. First of all, your employer should not only have acted wrongly, but they should also have acted illegally. Proving illegality requires a high standard of proof. Secondly, you should know what you are getting yourself into. Litigation is a long and exhausting process, and there are no certainties that you will get justice at the end of the road. So, it is better to evaluate and exhaust all your options before filing a lawsuit. Litigation should always be your last resort.
Don’t get us wrong. We do not want to discourage legitimate legal claims. If you think you have a valid suit and substantial evidence to back it up, read through this article to learn more. Here is some citation when an employee can take legal action against their employer:
You experience an injury at the workplace:
Employers must provide their workforce a safe workplace. An employee who gets injured on the job can claim worker’s compensation. Employees can sue an employer for a workplace injury if the damage is because of exposure to a toxic substance, third-party negligence, or defective products. For example, mesothelioma victims can file personal injury claims, or their estate can file wrongful death cases on their behalf. If you wonder what is mesothelioma, you should know that it is a rare, devastating cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
You were wrongfully terminated:
Wrongful termination means that your employer fired you for something unrelated to your job performance. You can also file a wrongful termination suit if your boss fired you in breach of contract. For example, you made a mistake that cost your employer a new deal. Your employer fires you after a verbal warning even though your agreement states that they must give written notice before dismissal. The employer has to prove that the termination was valid and not an act of discrimination.
You faced harassment:
Everyone has a right to a safe workplace. That includes protection from all kinds of harassment and bullying. Sadly, there are thousands of cases of sexual harassment at the workplace. For example, a colleague touches you inappropriately. You tell your supervisor about the problem, and they do nothing. You inform the HR department, but they also ignore it. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for failing to address your concern in such a case. Something similar happened in Ani Chopourian vs. Catholic Healthcare West (2011).
You faced discrimination:
Under the Civil Rights Act and the American Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate against their employees based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Take the case of Eileen Jolly as an example. Jolly is an 89-year-old secretary who was working for the NHS. Her employers fired her because she could not use a modern computer. However, the employer did not properly train her to handle the equipment. The employment tribunal stated was discriminated against based on age.
What is the next step?
You might have a valid case against your employer. But what should you do now? Here are several steps you should take to ensure the process goes smoothly.
1. Reach out to an attorney:
The first thing you should do is talk to a lawyer. They will let you know if your case will hold up in court or not. They will determine the strength of your case by considering the evidence and testimony. You can take advantage of a free consultation to understand whether your lawsuit has legal merit. So, you will not waste time and energy collecting evidence if your case is weak.
2. Talk to your employer:
Next, you should attempt to resolve the issue internally. Inform your employer about the situation and get your differences and concerns out on the table. Stick to the facts and try to recollect specific information such as dates and figures. Try to remain calm and get your point across. Losing your temper can make the situation worse. If you and your employer can reach an out-of-court settlement, that would be ideal. If not, prepare for a legal battle.
3. Document the problem:
Begin collecting evidence while talking to your employer. Make detailed notes of the incident(s) and try to add specifics. Start gathering supporting documents such as emails, employee handbooks, and offer letters. Do not go snooping around for confidential documents. Not only can this get you into more trouble, but it can also undermine your legal position. Ask colleagues if they can provide statements to support your case.
4. Decide if you want to follow through:
Finally, make your decision. Do you need to proceed with your claim? Think about what you want to achieve by filing your case. If you want revenge or want to prove that you are right, keep in mind that these emotions will get you nowhere. You must file the case for the right reason – to get justice.
You do not have to suffer in a position where you are mistreated and abused. Talk to a lawyer if you feel that your boss has violated your rights. Keep in mind that an employer cannot fire you for talking to a lawyer about illegal practices. Talk to a lawyer about your legal rights for more information on employment law.