Employee lawyers assist employees in legal actions against their employers for wrongful termination, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, unpaid wages, breach of employment contracts, and workers compensation. Attorneys for employees represent employees on a contingency which means they are not paid any fees, nor are they reimbursed for out-of-pocket case costs until the employer pays money for the legal wrong. Law firms demanding up-front fees or costs for employee representation are not the right lawyers to represent employees. Because employee lawyers work on a contingency and are not billing for their time the employee gets a tremendous bargain. Not only is the fee deferred for months or years, without interest, but the employee’s lawyer does not end up earning anywhere near the type of hourly rate a lawyer earns who bills by the hour. Employee lawyers are focused on winning, or they will not be paid and their costs will not be reimbursed. While a lawyer charging by the hour may have limitations on how much legal research his client wants to be charged, the employee attorney working on a contingency does not have his effort limited by a client who does not want to pay for the time it takes to win. Employee lawyers are not available for general consultations about ongoing issues at work that do not result in an employment termination. This is legal advice an employee will have to pay. Employee attorneys are focused on matters they can sue for in court such as an illegal job termination resulting in a large amount of wages due or serious harassment on the basis of a protected characteristic such as sex or race. How to approach coworkers an employee does not get along with is a human resource, or psychological issue opposed to a legal issue. Remember, there needs to be a job termination, serious harassment on the basis of something like race or sex, a work injury, or a large amount of wages owed individually or as a class of employees in a class action. Employee lawyers are there to help with employee rights that can be sued upon. They cannot give free legal advice on employment problems for which there is not a legal remedy. Employee lawyers can obtain monetary compensation from an employer who violated a law. Employee attorneys can sue for emotional injury. Depending on the legal theories at issue, punitive damages and other penalties may be legally obtainable. Presuming the case involves wages not paid many separate California Labor Code violations may be at stake. Employment attorneys are almost never able to get a job back, or give tons of free legal advice an employee thinks they may be fired, but have not yet been fired. Potential clients need to be realistic going into a legal dispute against their employer. While many cases settle without the client having to see the courtroom, it not realistic to believe an employment lawsuit will be resolved without the case being filed, or the employee attorney conducting adequate discovery once the case is filed. Adequate discovery involves obtaining documents and interrogatories which have to be answered by the employer. It also involves taking depositions of the supervisors, managers, and witnesses involved in the employment dispute. It is difficult for either the employer or the employee attorney to adequately evaluate a case and recommend sufficient payout without evaluating the credibility level and plausibility of each side’s argument. The employee lawyer will write the interrogatory questions and document requests without the client present. The employee lawyer can take the necessary depositions without the client present. When employee clients are able to attend depositions their own lawyers take of company witnesses the employee can see how their case is developing. Although an experienced employee lawyer will think of hundreds of questions the employee might never think of, employees who attend their depositions often come up with a few very important questions. If the employee client is present at the deposition their lawyer takes the company witness may be less likely to lie in front of the employee client who was present when the events occurred.
Employment situations in which the employee has been unjustly fired compose a large percent of the lawsuits an employee lawyer has. However, true employee lawyers like our firm who only represent employees and only represent employees on a contingency are likely to work on cases involving:
Our firm has recently achieved the following results in Wrongful Termination Cases:
$495,000 for 5 employees who quit or were fired due to sex and age
$250,000 for an employee who complained she was entitled to overtime and other pay
$225,000 for an employee who quit due to sexual harassment of customers
$200,000 for an employee who quit due to sexual harassment
$195,000 or a whistleblower on an oil field
$150,000 for an employee who was fired while on FMLA leave
Employment laws come from court decisions and laws enacted by the legislature. Laws enacted by the legislature are called statutes. Laws that are created through court decisions are called common law. Due to the tremendous number of laws pertaining to employment it is important to contact an experienced employee attorney if you believe something wrongful happened to you your place of employment. Employment laws change on a constant basis. On a daily basis new California cases come out, and there are also new Federal decisions. New statutes are also enacted at least on a yearly basis. Recently, a few Federal Executive Orders were rescinded. However, we generally use state law so you should not worry about any negative trends or limitations under Federal law. In the field of employee law, Federal laws are intended to be the most basic form of employee protection. California state laws are intended to provide greater protection to employees’ rights.
The best thing a potential client can do is to call the employee law attorney on the telephone. Emails do not answer all of the questions. An interactive dialogue between the employee lawyer and the potential client is essential. Please allow the employee lawyer to ask the questions they think are appropriate. The law is formulaic. One does not get to step two if step one is not done, and step three which might be your right to sue under a certain legal theory cannot exist if step one is missing. Our experienced employee attorneys have handled hundreds of employment lawsuits. The head of our law firm has himself handled more than 1,665 separate employee binding arbitration and court cases many of which involve multiple employees and classes of employees. We know the right questions to ask and will direct the call in a meaningful manner in order to avoid wasting your time, prolonging the telephone interview, or becoming inundated in facts that do not matter and confuse the situation.
Be honest when speaking to the employee attorney. Our employee attorneys will see past mistruths, and so will the lawyer who represents the employer. Try to avoid unnecessary background noise. A call to an employee attorney is not something you want to make while driving, or in a room full of noisy people. We have stopped what we were doing to speak to you. Please give us the same courtesy. Do not have others on the telephone when you call our office. You will hear the good, bad, and ugly from a competent employee attorney. The things the employee lawyer will tell you, and what you tell the employee attorney is confidential and subject to the attorney-client privilege. If you have other people on the call the attorney-client-privilege will be destroyed. You will also make your friend or family member a witness to the bad and ugly. It is never in your interest to have a witness capable of being subpoenaed by the other side. The non-client will have to divulge the negative things you and the attorney said during your initial communication. Attorney-client-privilege also applies when speaking to members of the attorney’s staff. When you make your initial contact with the office of the employee lawyer you need to be the only person on the telephone.