What You Need To Know About Working With An Employment Lawyer
As New Jersey employment attorneys, it is our job to help our clients resolve challenging situations and to get justice for wrongs that they have endured. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of discrimination, harassment or unfair practices in the work place, you need advice, guidance and representation that is grounded in both knowledge and experience — that is what we are here to provide. In order for us to help you as effectively as possible, our most important partner is you. As the client and the victim of employment discrimination, you are not only our key source of information: you are also the person who is going to decide where our pursuit of justice is headed. Here’s what you need to know in order to help us in our mission of helping you.
- Assemble all of your facts and documents and send them to us before you come in
We want to make sure that we’re making the best use of your time, and the easiest way for us to hit the ground running is if we can start moving forward right away, during your first meeting. For that to happen, we need you to do a little bit of homework. Gather all of the papers and documents involved in your case. If there are emails or text messages, print them out. If you received a termination letter, we need that. If you have your employee file, that’s perfect!
Assemble all those things, then write down your story in as organized and simple a way as you can. Put all the important points in bullets, telling us the story from start to finish, then send it to us so that we can review it before you come in. When you do that, you save us a lot of time: we will study it ahead of time and know what questions we need ask. We’ll also have had the chance to put together a game plan with your specific situation in mind.
- Remember that little things can mean a lot.
That may sound like something you’d find in a greeting card or thank you note, but when it comes to legal issues it is just as true. There are things that you might not think of as important that we will thing are critical. Don’t leave out any details, even if you think that they don’t have anything to do with your legal issue. You should also let us know about anything that the other side has done to try to fix your situation. We know that you are upset, and that you want to emphasize all the bad things that they have done, but we can’t pursue your case effectively unless we know everything: this means the upsetting things that they have done and any positive ones too — and the same goes for you. We need to know about any mistakes that you may have made that your employer will try to use against you. If we don’t know about it, we can’t be ready for it.
- Really think about proving what happened
If you’ve ever watched one of the legal shows on television, you know the difference between hearsay and hard evidence. Even though New Jersey has some of the most progressive employment discrimination laws in the country, if your case is based entirely on what somebody said to you, with nothing in writing, then it’s going to be harder to prove in a court of law. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible! Were there witnesses? Were there people who you told about it at the time? Did you keep a diary or send a text message to somebody else about what had happened? Anything that you can show to support what you’re saying will help — and remember that we need to see everything, even if you find it embarrassing or it puts you in a bad light.
- Advice from your friends and family may be misleading
One of the biggest problems that doctors are facing today is that patients come in to see them already convinced that they know what’s wrong with them because they looked it up on the internet. The same is true when it comes to an employment lawsuit. What happened to you may feel wrong, or a friend may have told you that you have a strong case or you may have looked it up and gotten some advice from the internet, but you need an educated and experienced attorney to tell you whether you have a case that can go forward, what the best way is to go about it, and what you can expect to happen during the process and at the end. Something you saw on television or an outcome in another state may be treated entirely differently that what happens in the state of New Jersey.
- Know what your goal is
We know that it’s hard to have a goal when you aren’t even sure whether you have a case, but you should take the time to think about what your ideal outcome is, both in terms of time and outcome. If you want things to resolve quickly and put it behind you, you need to tell us that. Likewise, if you want to get the biggest damages award you can, you should tell us that too. When we know what your desired outcome is, it not only helps us create a plan, but also lets us tell you whether you are being realistic or not. Likewise, if you absolutely do not want to go to court, you need to let us know that as well.
- Ask a lot of questions
There is no such thing as a dumb question, and we are here working for you. That means that you’re not bothering us — if you’re not sure about something, we want you to ask. We are here to help you understand what is going on. If something else has happened and you don’t know if it should be added on to your claim, then ask us – we would much rather discuss it early on then have to consider adding on later. If new facts arise, tell us right away, even if you think it will work against you. Surprises are a nightmare for any attorney.We would much rather know everything and deal with it then be confronted with something unexpected in court. If you’re not sure whether something is important, ask us. If you’re concerned about your legal costs, keep a list of questions and ask them all at once instead of one at a time.
Employment discrimination and retaliation is illegal across the United States as well as in the state of New Jersey, where the NJLAD (New Jersey Law Against Discrimination) and CEPA (Conscientious Employee Protection Act) were specifically enacted for the protection of the state’s workers. Everybody at our employment law firm is here to help you get the justice you deserve, and we work very hard to make sure that happens. By working with us as a partner, you greatly increase the chances of a positive outcome.
For more information or to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today.