If you believe that someone at work is discriminating against you, one of your options is to file a lawsuit against your employer. Mediation can also be a very useful tool in resolving employment discrimination cases without going to trial. Mediation can take place at virtually any time before the jury returns a verdict. Before you decide whether to file that lawsuit or whether to attempt a settlement of any kind, you should understand some of the common myths about employment discrimination cases.
Myth No. 1 – Your employer will settle to avoid bad publicity
The reality is, your employer is not likely to simply settle your claims because you threaten to make those claims public. Many clients believe that if their lawyer sends a letter to their employer threatening to sue or to go public with the charges against the company, the employer will be eager to settle the employee’s claims. In truth, nearly every employer will require you to sign a confidentiality agreement if there is a settlement. That means you will be prohibited from discussing the details of your claims with anyone as a condition of receiving the settlement proceeds.
Myth No. 2 – Co-workers will support your claims of discrimination
Most clients believe that the co-workers who witnessed the discrimination or who also suffered discrimination will be willing, and even eager, to be a witness on your behalf. The fact is, not many co-workers actually step up. Instead, it is more common for them to either deny any knowledge of discrimination or lie about what they have seen. Why? Because they fear retaliation and choose to keep their jobs over supporting your claims and making waves.
Myth No. 3 – The focus will be only on my employer’s misconduct
This is never the case. Once your case is filed in court, your employer and the lawyers that defend it will take every step to spotlight any and every wrongdoing on your part that they can. This is true even for misconduct that is not related to your job. In fact, the most common defense raised in employment discrimination cases is that whatever adverse employment action was taken against the employee was due to that employee’s poor performance in the workplace.
Myth No. 4 – It is illegal for your employer to treat you unfairly
One of the most common misconceptions clients have is that any type of unfairness or mistreatment from an employer is illegal. That is not the case. Depending on the situation, unfair treatment is not always against the law, and it is certainly not always a form of discrimination. The unfortunate reality is that your employer, including your supervisors, can make your work like miserable without breaking laws, as long as it does not constitute discrimination. When an employer treats everyone poorly, that makes it even less likely that you will be able to prove discrimination.
If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation, or if you have any questions regarding your employment rights, please contact Wrady & Michel, LLC, either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880.