If you’re considering pursuing a wrongful termination claim, you should spend some time thinking about what you’ll be up against. You may face several roadblocks from your employer and should be prepared for a no-holds-barred fight. That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced employment attorney who is familiar with employer tactics and can help you make the right decision.
Each wrongful termination situation is different. But you should be prepared for these four ways your employer may choose to make your path to justice a difficult one.
Was your termination legal?
Find out with our guide, Wrongful Termination: When Firing Is Illegal.
4 Ways Your Employer Can Make Your Wrongful Termination Case Difficult
- Your Former Employer Is Not Afraid of Legal Action
If your former employer was concerned about a lawsuit, they would have respected the law. Often managers who violate workplace laws are not held accountable for mistreating employees. They will endeavor to find a legal reason for their actions and enlist your co-workers to testify against you by convincing them that aligning with management is in their best interest. By bringing forth these witnesses and attempting to demonstrate that you may have been a difficult employee, the manager can win favor with executives.
It’s also important to note your employer likely has an attorney on retainer, so the company won’t shy away from defending itself against a claim. They may ultimately decide it’s not worth court time, but it will likely take them a while to reach that decision.
- Your Former Co-workers May Not Be on Your Side
If you threaten to sue your former employer, they and their legal team will go on the offensive. They will most likely ask your co-workers not to destroy any e-mail communication with you and to refrain from communicating with you. And if they are deposed by your attorney, there’s a good chance they could side with your employer for fear of retaliation. They could also be worried that what they said to you in confidence regarding your manager could be fuel for your former employer to terminate them. And there are others who will support your former employer no matter what.
- Your Former Employer Will Try to Wear You Down
If you worked for a larger organization, they are probably accustomed to getting sued. The distraction and stress of a lawsuit is nothing new to them. You, on the other hand, may have to go through months or years of stress. In federal court, it can take 12 to 16 months to reach a verdict in a wrongful termination lawsuit, while it can take 12 to 20 months in state court.
During litigation, it may be a struggle for your attorney to obtain access to documents and files that are important to your case. Your attorney may file a subpoena to gain possession of these documents, but your former employer may delay their response, and when they do respond, they may not provide the documents you’ve requested.
These are all delay tactics and are common when wrongful termination suits make it to court. However, working with an experienced and tenacious employment attorney can help alleviate these stresses because employment attorneys understand it’s all part of the process.
- Your Former Employer May Legally Retaliate
Once you’re involved in litigation, your former employer may legally retaliate against you, which could damage your reputation. For example, if your attorney pursues a claim of emotional distress, your former employer may ask for your medical and psychiatric records. You are required to share any medical condition to determine how much the termination caused that condition or whether you had that condition all along. In addition, your former employer could look into your employment record, your criminal background, and your history of filing lawsuits, for example. You may not have anything to feel protective over, but you need to be aware of some of the tactics your former employer could use to retaliate.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we protect employee rights, and we want you to know what you need to consider before pursuing a wrongful termination suit. Please access our Wrongful Termination: When Firing Is Illegal guide today or call us to schedule your free consultation.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.