Employment Discrimination: What You Need for A Successful Lawsuit
Author: Employment Discrimination Attorney Alena Shautsova
As a pro se plaintiff or someone who is in the midst of the lawsuit against your employer, or someone who is considering a lawsuit against your employer, you would probably wonder as to what you need to prevail in your case. Will your own words be sufficient for the court or jury to take your side? Do you have to have witnesses? Can you use evidence that the employer discriminated against others?
A plaintiff in an employment discrimination lawsuit is taking a big risk when brings his/her case to court: not only his/her relationship with the current employer may take a tall, but also prospects of future employment may be jeopardized significantly due to the public nature of the proceedings and “thanks” to the online visibility. It means that if you are considering bringing a lawsuit, you better prepare for it the right way, not to find yourself exhausted emotionally and financially, and on a losing side...
First, every litigant has to know that he/she has an obligation to preserve evidence. This obligation runs not only for the evidence that you will be using but also the evidence that your opponent might use against you. It might sound crazy, but yes, you have to keep all notes, text messages, emails, etc. that may be used against you if they are relevant to the case. As such, you cannot dispose of a cell phone, a laptop or diary...
Second, as a plaintiff and a party who is suing another to recover damages, you have an obligation to mitigate these damages. It means that you have to engage in a job search (if you were fired) and cannot simply sit and wait for the lawsuit to resolve. You have to keep records of your efforts: your job applications, resume, letters for interviews, etc. All this information will have to be disclosed to your opponent.
Third, you might want to obtain help from experts. An expert is a person who is by virtue of his/her education and experience may give conclusions of facts based on the evidence presented. For example, a licensed doctor may conclude that you indeed suffered a serious injury based on the records presented and an examination of a patient. Use of experts means high expenses, but it may be very well worth it, depending on your situation.
Fourth, facts, facts, and facts. Perhaps, it should be listed as number one. You have to be precise in the events, times, and dates. Who said what, when, and who heard it or observed it. Who you complained about it too, when with what result. You will likely have to repeat yourself several times. Your testimony has to be legally sufficient and supported by evidence which may include: paper documents describing the events in full or in part; testimony of witnesses. You can use other cases that were filed against the employer, and sometimes, you can even force the employer to produce documents related to complaints by other employees. Some evidence you will have in your possession, and some evidence your employer will have to give to you under the law.
If you have questions about employment lawsuits, please call us at 917-885-2261.