Advising: Clients often engage our services while still employed and before an employment dispute escalates. In this phase of representation, and similar to how management relies on the company’s attorneys for advice, we counsel employees and draft correspondence on their behalf behind the scenes. This helps level the playing field early on.
As examples, in this role, clients have retained us to: (a) request reasonable accommodations and monitor the interactive process; (b) document sexual harassment and hostile work environment concerns; (c) ensure that they are treated fairly during a company-led investigation; (d) respond to allegations of poor performance raised as a pretext for employment discrimination; and (e) explain the terms of an employment contract that an employer has asked them to sign, including any non-compete or forced arbitration clauses.
Our goal during this phase is to help clients assert their rights, avoid missteps, and to preserve potential employment law claims should the situation unravel.
Negotiating: In this phase, we negotiate directly with the company’s lawyer. Through our experience, we meticulously prepare cases to have the best opportunity for early resolution and are sensitive to the nuances that such negotiations entail.
Wrongful termination and retaliatory discharge claims, for example, will require a detailed showing of both the employer’s liability and the employee’s potential damages. Unpaid overtime cases can be very fact-sensitive and bolstered by identical claims by other employees in what may later become, if a resolution is not possible, a class action lawsuit. Medical leave discrimination claims are equally, if not more, complex and require a deep understanding of intersecting Massachusetts and federal laws.
In this phase, we zealously advocate our client’s interests with an eye towards litigation, knowing that filing suit may be the next step if an informal resolution is not possible.
Filing Suit: Filing an employment discrimination or sexual harassment claim can become necessary for a host of reasons, including an inadequate settlement offer or the need to satisfy time-sensitive statute of limitations deadlines. In certain circumstances, we may also make a strategic decision to forego negotiations and immediately file suit.
Depending on the particular claim involved, the litigation process can range from several months to years. Although laborious, embedded in this process are opportunities to gain the upper-hand. From depositions to document requests to sworn interrogatories, litigation allows us to gather more evidence through the Rules of Discovery and carefully prepare the case for trial.
Whether representing clients before the MCAD or in court, our singular focus in employment law increases our efficiency and effectiveness, and ultimately provides our clients with the best chance of success.
We look forward to hearing from you and putting our expertise to good use.