It is imperative that you consult with an attorney as soon as you get a demand letter, notification of an administration charge against your organization, or service of a complaint in an employment case.
After an employee's final day of work, most employers don't hear from the dismissed employee except to handle regular concerns like extending health insurance or surrendering company property. A Massachusetts wage and hour attorney may, nevertheless, dispute his or her dismissal. Discrimination or other forms of retaliation, for example, might be grounds for an employee to file a discrimination claim. When you find that an employee plans to sue your organization, you'll want to get a lawyer on the case immediately.
HOW A FORMER COMPANY'S CLAIMS COULD BE DISCOVERED
There are several methods to discover whether a dismissed employee intends to sue you. Assuming, of course, that you've heard about it from someone else. Some additional methods you could hear about a possible lawsuit are as follows:
- Employee feedback. During a termination discussion, an employee may make legal threats, claim to have retained legal counsel, or otherwise hint that legal action is imminent. Even if the employee does not follow through with it, this is a solid sign that they are considering legal action.
- A letter of demand. First, the employee's lawyer will likely submit a demand letter to your organization, explaining the employee's civil cases and requesting that you resolve the matter." In certain cases, a demand letter will contain a "demand" in the shape of a specified monetary sum, while in others, it may simply encourage you to begin negotiations.
- An official complaint or allegation by a government agency or department. If the federal or state fair employment practices agency or the Work Opportunities Commission gets a complaint about one of your employees, you will be contacted. It is your employer's responsibility to investigate any complaints of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- In the courtroom. Some employment attorneys choose to initiate a lawsuit instead of initiating informal inquiries. By law, an employee who claims to have suffered discrimination must first file an administrative charge with the EEOC, which means that before legal papers are served, the EEOC will notify you.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE RESPOND
In the event an employee files a lawsuit against you, what should you do? I advise you not to answer it. That implies you should contact the company's legal counsel first (or start seeking for one if you don't already have one). After learning of the employee's lawsuit, your words and actions may have long-term effects. Having a lawyer at your side may help you decide the strength of the employee's legal claims, what evidence there is to support or contest these claims, including if you should compromise or go to trial. For example, you may engage an attorney if an employee files legal notice against your firm, or if an administrative charge is filed against your organization.
When an employee plans to sue you, you need to take action promptly. Answering a suit or an administration charge has a very narrow window of opportunity. There is no need for you to wait until an employee has taken any of these more official processes before you respond quickly, either to settle or to explain why the employee's allegations have no substance. If your lawyer is able to bring forth the proof and data supporting the termination, the attorney may rethink their decision to proceed.
DON'T GET RID OF THE EVIDENCE!
Many of the cards are in the employer's hands in employment cases since they have access to most of the employee's records, information, and other evidence. Disposing of information that might damage an employer's claims may be tempting for a dishonest employer who believes that the employee will never hear about it.
This is a serious blunder because it's illegal. If a company is issued, it is required by law to retain any evidence that might be relevant to the matter. Companies may have to go beyond their regular policies for email deletion and document destruction in order to retain important evidence. The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with an attorney is that you will not be able to get rid of any evidence.