So something happened in your workplace. Maybe there was a conversation that got out of hand or someone harassed someone else. Whatever the situation is, it’s not good, and you may be considering filing a lawsuit, or perhaps a coworker has filed one against you. A workplace lawsuit could happen at any time, so it’s important for you as a small business owner to be prepared. Whether you’re looking at a lawsuit right now, or you just want to be prepared should the worst happen, here are a few things to remember when it comes to employment law.
Finding the right lawyer
When you face a pending law suit, you may be tempted to just ask a friend to help out. However, just because he or she is a lawyer doesn’t mean that your friend is an expert on employment law. The standard bar exam doesn’t even include employment law. Employment law often changes, which complicates matters and is something that non-employment lawyers can easily mess up. So finding someone who is specifically an employment lawyer is worth the time and effort, as that lawyer will be the most qualified to truly help you with your case.
Once you’ve found your lawyer, you’ll want to be as comfortable with him or her as possible. It’s crucial that you take the time to tell them the truth about what happened, why you’re suing or being sued and what all the facts are. All the details matter, and if you think the opposing council won’t dig up the truth, you’re wrong. Many lawyers will have you fill out a questionnaire to start. It’s a great way to begin, since you can write your information down in your own words. As you fill out that questionnaire, be honest and thorough. After all, why hire a lawyer if you’re just going to lie to them anyway?
Get your documents together
Now that the lawsuit is happening, you’ll need to bring copies of pretty much every document you can think of. All related documents are crucial, such as a written chronology of events, legal documents, journals, letters of testimony or anything else you have that will support your side of the case. Take a look at this list from employment attorney Christopher McKinney, which includes everything you need to know about your first meeting with your new lawyer.
Take your lawyer’s advice
If you sue and you’re offered a settlement, your lawyer may suggest you take it. Chances are he or she is right, but that doesn’t mean you should never file a suit. In some cases, even the mere threat of a suit is enough to cause drastic change, and sometimes initiating that change simply involves a letter from your lawyer on his or her letterhead. Other times, a settlement won’t be offered and you’ll have a really strong case. Those are the times to really take your lawyer’s advice and to come prepared. You never know how your case will turn out, but someone who is well educated in employment law can make a big difference towards a good outcome.
This article was written by Deborah Flomberg for Small Business Pulse