Fighting back against discrimination in the workplace can be a lonely battle to wage. Whether your co-workers refuse to back you up by providing witness accounts or your employer is relentless in harassing you because of age, race, gender, or national origin reasons, you feel like there is nowhere to turn for support.
However, hiring an experienced employment attorney who has successfully litigated discrimination in the workplace cases is a good place to start.
If you face discrimination in the workplace for reasons that are covered by California and federal laws, then you should contact an employment lawyer to determine the best course of legal action. Now that we have taken the biggest step of all, what are the baby steps required to ensure you work with the best employment discrimination attorney?
The Beginning of Your Search
Every search has a beginning and for finding the best employment lawyer, your journey starts by compiling a list of viable candidates. Directories such as the one created by the American Bar Association (ABA) can help you gain access to a list of employment lawyers that practice law in California. You should also ask for a referral from trusted friends and family members. Word of mouth advertising is alive and well in the legal industry when it comes to vetting employment lawyers.
Experience matters when choosing an employment attorney, but only if the experience gained by a lawyer includes helping clients end discriminatory practices in the workplace. It is one thing to receive compensation in the form of back pay, higher wages, and a larger benefits package because you face discrimination in the workplace.
It is quite another thing to end all the discriminatory practices implemented by your employer.
An experienced employment attorney knows how to win civil lawsuits for clients that include legal remedies involving non-compensatory damages.
Your Attorney Works for You
Although an employment lawyer fights hard for your rights, ultimately, it is up to you on how to proceed with a discrimination claim against your employer. Your attorney can advise you on procedural issues like filing a complaint with the California Department of Employment and Housing (DFEH) before filing an employment discrimination lawsuit. However, you control how your case unfolds. Maybe you just want your employer to stop discriminating against workers or you want to make your employer pay for harming you emotionally because of discriminatory practices in the workplace.
The relationship that you build with an employment lawyer goes a long way towards determining how your discrimination complaint against your employer ends.
The Web is at Your Fingertips
After vetting employment attorneys to form a shortlist of candidates, the time has come to research each of the attorneys on your list. Google reviews have made it easy for consumers to gain insight into employers, whether an employer sells sporting goods or provides legal services. Just make sure to use Google reviews as a supplementary source of information, not the basis for your decision on hiring an employment lawyer. A much better gauge of an attorney’s skill and reliability comes from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page devoted to an attorney on your shortlist.
How Does an Attorney Get Paid?
Because employment discrimination cases can drag on for months, if not years, you can get stuck with a financially crippling legal bill when it is all said and done. The strongest motivating factor for an employment lawyer to fight for monetary damages is the attorney operates on a contingency fee basis. This means an attorney does not ask for any upfront legal fees. Instead, your lawyer gets paid when you get paid, which happens when a civil court judge awards you monetary damages.
Lawyers across the board that get paid hourly can ramp up a legal bill quickly. Make sure you get something out of your employment discrimination case by hiring an attorney who receives a slice of the monetary damages awarded by a civil court judge.
The last thing you want is to hire an employment lawyer who fails to return phone calls and email messages. Open communication is one of the keys for you to win a discrimination in the workplace lawsuit. Being left in the dark is well, just like not having an attorney at all. You should be able to get a good picture of an attorney’s communication skills during the free initial consultation.