Things To Consider While Hiring A Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Despite many federal and state laws having been enacted to prohibit employers of discriminatory behaviour and fostering hostile environment at workplace, discrimination and sexual harassment are still quite common. Few people with authority and power try to manipulate and dictate the working lives of majority of the workers. For an employee who is at the receiving end of a sexual harassment case, deciding to bring in a claim against the employer is a difficult task. Many employees are apprehensive that doing so would further escalate their problems. They fear retaliation or further harassment from their employers. However, there are strict laws to protect the interests of the employees, and they should not hesitate to consult the best sexual harassment lawyer to take necessary action.
Law firm or solo practitioner
While choosing between a law firm and a solo practitioner to represent you in a sexual harassment case, there are certain questions you need to ask before deciding upon one. While a law firm has sufficient number of lawyers and support staff, a solo practitioner has limited support. In a law firm if a lawyer gets indisposed, another lawyer can take over, which is not the case with solo practitioners. Does a solo practitioner have the staff and strength to stand up and fight against a big company? What would happen if your employer’s law firm tries to bury your lawyer in unnecessary paperwork? Is your lawyer fully committed to your case? These are some questions you need to address before deciding upon whom to hire. Finally, you should consider your financial position before making a decision.
Another important factor to consider is whether the law firm practices employment law or not, and whether they have split practice, that is, if they handle other areas of law as well. Moreover, many firms represent both employees and employers. Ask your prospective lawyer or law firm how many employment related cases they have handled and whether they handle both federal and state laws. Also, check if they have mediated privately and with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as many cases are settled out of court.
Some law firms charge upfront fee to analyse your case and additional money as retainer. With some others, initial consultation is free and they do not charge any attorney fee unless they are successful with the case. They understand that you may have just lost the job, or may stand to lose it and, therefore, may not have the money to pay the fees upfront.
Will the law firm bear the advance cost of litigation on your behalf? Litigation costs can be expensive, and you should make sure the law firm has the financial capability to advance the litigation costs on your behalf to properly pursue your case. Once you are successful, you can repay these advance costs from the proceeds of any settlement that you obtain.
Settlement and Litigation
Many cases are settled out of court without any litigation. Some law firms specialise in out of court settlements, and may not want to proceed with litigation. Make sure that your law firm is ready to vigorously pursue your case in court till the final outcome. If you do not want to file a sexual harassment or discrimination case in court, your law firm should be ready to devise a formula to reach an amicable resolution.
Recognizing Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Sexual harassment and discrimination at workplace can be a harrowing experience for many people. It is shocking and upsetting for many and they are clueless about how to handle it. Whereas, blatant overtures, vulgar comments, or physical misconducts are clear indications of discrimination or sexual harassment, situations involving subtle behaviour on a regular basis can also lead to harassment or discrimination claims. Seeking advice from lawyers for harassment cases can help you understand your situation, whether you have been a victim of sexual harassment or discrimination. They can make you aware of your legal rights and the remedial actions that you can take. A sexual assault lawyer can also help you in determining your potential claim and devising strategies to take the case forward.
Laws Against Sexual Harassment
There is no dearth of federal laws that prohibit sexual harassment at workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several states have also enacted separate laws prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace. In common words, sexual harassment is defined as any conduct that involves unwanted verbal or physical sexual advances, request for sexual favours, or any other action concerning the employee’s sexuality. While the most common cases of sexual harassment involve a supervisor, the sexual harassment laws also cover co-workers and even non employees. The laws also prohibit discrimination against employees based on factors like, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. Some federal laws also prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, pregnancy, criminal history, etc.
All these laws have specific components that would need to be proven by a harassed employee to receive compensation. Given the complexities of the sexual harassment laws, one would need the services of the best sexual harassment lawyer to win his/ her claim.