Delaware Employment Attorney discusses, when should you see an attorney? How soon? The short answer is, as soon as possible regarding employment cases whether it be discrimination, whistle-blower or wage an hour.
When Should You See An Attorney?
Yes Ron Poliquin, DoverLawOffice.com, your Delaware Employment Attorney
Today’s subject is going to be, when should you see an attorney? How soon? The short answer is, as soon as possible regarding employment cases whether it be discrimination, whistle-blower or wage an hour. First of all, there is really harsh time restrictions, 300-days to file a charge of discrimination.
Secondly, the best time is to start early. The consultation is always confidential. Meaning just because you see an attorney and get information on the case, doesn’t mean that you’re going to take action. But once you wanna have the knowledge, you want to know what your rights are, know what you can do, once you get that knowledge, once know your rights, then you can decide whether to act on it or not. It is your decision, not the attorneys. I always tell people it’s your life, it’s your job, if you want me involved I’ll get involved. If you just want to know your rights that’s the best way to go. You don’t always have to act. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. That is one of the parts of my job where I talk with my client about strategic moves regarding their employment.
Another issue that comes out is, how do you navigate employment law? The worse situation is when somebody comes to me too late, meaning if they have ducked taking action or not taken actions, which have jeopardized their rights under the law. I would equate it to a similar tool, you got a surgeon that comes in on a botched surgery and there trying to fix it, or somebody tried to put stitches on their own face. It is much easier for me to be in from the beginning and device a strategy and plan of action with that client then to come afterwards, after everything’s already been done and try to fix things.
Just on a legal sense, there are very specific defenses that an employer can raise later on if you did not go through the proper steps. A lot of companies have employment manuals. That employment manual usually has some kind of procedure on how to report discrimination or retaliation and what steps to take. If you do not go through those steps and you have been discriminated against, one of the defenses they may raise later on and probably will raise, is that we didn’t know about it. Okay, we just didn’t know about. I don’t care if you say, hey everybody in this company knows about it. It was common knowledge. If you do not go through their proper process, it could dismiss your case. It could be a major issue in your case.
So from the start, it’s important for you to strategize with an attorney on how do we notify the employer? How do we protect your rights? How do we not jeopardize your status in a company? How do we make sure that everyone is on notice of what’s going on without hurting you as an employment? I know as well as anyone that it is a sticky situation. It is a highly precarious situation when you are in an adverse situation, an adverse setting with your boss especially if it’s a small company. A small company you have a few employees, that is not that is not a predicament people want to be in. So, we have to take all that into account in how we set up your case from the beginning while trying to protect your job at the same time. You are going to need someone to help you navigate that maze of employment law.
Another issue is, there’s going to be the HR people. Are the HR people really looking out for your best interest or they just protecting the company? Especially if the harasser or the bad actor, the person that has discriminated against you is the head of the company or your boss. Who is really HR going to be looking out for? They have got somebody being paid $35,000 a year in HR, what kind of background do these people have? Do you just have one HR person? Is there just some secretary handling the HR? A lot of times this happens in the small homegrown companies. You have really no real HR Department and nobody looking out for your rights. Even in larger companies, who is HR looking out for?
You need to have an advocate for you, as an attorney somebody in the background that you can trust wholeheartedly. The only communications that are confidential are you and your attorney. Your communications with HR, your statements with HR, are not confidential. HR is great, but we have to make sure we take the proper steps, so the company remedies the situation and knows about it but also a lot of times, let’s not be naive, that doesn’t happen. I kind of touched on it before but you also want to give the company an opportunity to fix the situation. Maybe you’re in a hostile work environment, maybe there’s a way to notify the company have them address it properly and then you go on and prosper in that company. A lot of times that’s not possible but it does happen. Maybe they do the right thing. Maybe a company or your employer does the right thing and they should be given the opportunity to do that.
The issue here is that when you do not go see a qualified attorney early, you’re really jeopardizing yourself in the future on what you want, if you don’t know what you don’t know. I’m not saying an attorney is essential for everything. But certainly, go see an attorney to have a consultation, at least know what your rights are. Then you can take the proper steps from there. Thanks for the time, I’m Ron Poliquin, DoverLawOffice.com. Thank you!