Litigation is not appropriate for every circumstance. While we fight aggressively in the courtroom when litigation is necessary, there are times when other services will be more beneficial to our clients than taking an employer to court. For some clients, understanding their rights is the first step to protecting them.
When litigation is not the right step, our office provides basic counseling at reasonable hourly rates to individuals who desire to understand their rights and what they can do to protect them.
Often, a letter from our office to our client’s employer can prevent a potential lawsuit and allow our clients to continue their employment in a better, happier environment. A letter can also protect our clients from retaliation if they are afraid that complaining to their employer on their own will only make the situation worse.
Examples where alternatives to litigation might be more appropriate include:
You are planning a visit to HR
While it would be nice to believe that the company Human Resources Department is on your side, it is too frequently the case that the HR Department remains a fixture employed by the company and its very top management to assure that the company and these select few remain unaccountable for transgressions, perhaps at your expense.
If you are planning a visit to HR to complain about harassment, job misclassification or other matters, you may wish to plan your visit first, by speaking to us in order to strategize about your best and most effective approach.
You can then go to the HR armed with your own game plan, secure in your knowledge of the law that applies to your situation. We can help you to monitor and evaluate HR’s response to your situation, and provide a detailed roadmap you can follow to gain control of the situation on terms beneficial to your stated objectives.
Preventing discrimination and harassment
You have been with your current employer for over eight years and have been very happy for most of that time. Recently, your old supervisor retired and your new supervisor has made some comments that you believe are discriminatory and harassing.
You don’t want to leave your job because you have been happy there for the past eight years and hope to continue working your way to the top, yet you don’t want to continue dealing with this supervisor.
In this situation, a letter from our office may be the best action. While a lawsuit might be necessary if the discrimination and harassment continue and/or the employer refuses to change the situation, a letter from our office can allow the employer to remedy the situation without harming your relationship with the company. If the company then fails to act or retaliates against you, you may be in a stronger position for bringing the matter to court.
You have a health problem that has recently gotten worse and has made certain aspects of your job more difficult. While you don’t want to take any disability leave, you believe certain changes in your position would make your job easier and allow you to perform more effectively while dealing with your current health issues.
You don’t want your current health problems to be the subject of company gossip, but you need to talk to someone before your job makes your current health problem worse and forces you to leave your job altogether.
By speaking with an attorney in our office, we can help you communicate with your employer. Whether you would prefer to negotiate an accommodation with your employer directly or you would like an attorney from our office to explain the situation, we can help you receive the accommodations you require while reinforcing to your employer the need for confidentiality.
Wage and hour
You are an hourly employee with a company that is required by law to provide you with regular breaks and may owe you overtime. Unfortunately, when things get busy, you don’t always get the breaks you are entitled to, and sometimes you work overtime and are not paid for this time.
You are afraid that complaining about this to your supervisor might cause you to lose your job. You are not sure what to do.
Meeting with an attorney from our office can ensure that you are protected. A letter from an attorney explaining to your employer that breaks and overtime pay are required by law and that they need to ensure that all employees receive breaks and overtime pay may be the answer.
The letter ensures that your complaint accurately reflects what the law requires, and the letter protects you from future retaliation from your employer. You may also receive compensation for lost wages.
You are the only woman working in a predominately male office. While no one has made any comments to you directly, you have overheard numerous sexist remarks and you are very uncomfortable with the pictures of scantily clad women all over the walls.
You don’t really want to make waves since you just started in your position, but you also want to feel comfortable going to work each day.
Our office can help. Again, we can help you understand your rights and communicate with your employer directly. In this way, your rights are protected and you may be in a better position to go to court if the need arises.
Preventing violence in the workplace
A warehouse Manager who does his job by reporting two individuals who had assaulted other warehouse workers fears for his safety after the workers are finally suspended but his request for protection at the work site go unheeded.
Our office intervenes by writing a letter to the company HR Department and General Manager putting them on notice of their responsibilities under the Violence in the Workplace Act. If the Company fails to take proper actions to protect the Manager, the Manager can reasonably assert constructive termination, not return to the workplace, and find another job while suing for damages for any lost wages.
Our office has written letters to employers before litigation begins to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. Often a letter to your current employer from your attorney can eliminate problems before they get out of hand.
While a letter won’t always work, receiving appropriate guidance from an attorney and having an attorney write a letter to your employer before a situation gets out of hand can ensure that your rights are protected. If your situation does not change or an employer retaliates in any way, a letter from your attorney can ensure that your rights are protected in any future litigation.
If you believe that you have a problem that requires the attention of an attorney without filing a lawsuit, please contact our employee rights center via e-mail or call us at 310-385-0777 to schedule an appointment.