In recent years, layoffs have become a major part of the American economy. As online shopping has increased, for instance, the brick and mortar stores such as Macy’s have had to drastically reduce their workforces. Moreover, major mergers and acquisitions in a host of industries have left many without jobs. Despite this, like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects to be laid off or fired. The best thing people can do, even if they do not expect to be the victim of employment discrimination, having a plan to hire legal representation who is experienced in employment law.
- Forbes has put together their guide to do just that. According to their reporting, people should consult with an employment law expert anytime they are offered a severance deal. Many people do not realize that included in these deals can be proof of employment discrimination. If the termination has been based on certain criteria – sex, disability, age, or being asked to do something illegal or improper, that is illegal. It may be hard for the layperson to see the problems.
- Many people are not sure where to start when it comes to finding any kind of lawyer. Here are some tips for getting the right attorney for your case.
- Get personal recommendations. You may not know who in your life has had to hire an attorney for employment law. It is not always something people want to talk about. If there were people who were fired before you, you should reach out to them to see what lawyer they hired and what the experience they had was. Keep in mind that lawyers, like medical professionals, specialize. The person who helped your cousin with intellectual property law will not be able to help you here.
- Talk to a few lawyers on the phone. Here are some questions to ask on the phone:
- How much experience do you have in cases like this?
- How long have you worked in this kind of law?
- How much of your time is spent on cases like mine?
- What do you think of my situation?
- What kind of timeline do you expect this case to have?
- Take the time to talk to more than one lawyer. It can be really tempting to go with the first employment law firm you meet but that would be a real mistake. Most law firms do not charge prospective clients for first consultations but you should check before you go in.
- Compile all of your data and bring it with you. Write up your side of what happened, get all of your performance reviews together and find any memos that show your performance at your job. When you draft anything up, remember that brevity is your friend. You do not want to pay your lawyer to read a longwinded document.
- Work out your strategy. Different law firms will come up with different courses of action. The Forbes piece cites an entertainment executive who was advised to go public when she was laid off by one law firm and told to keep things quiet by another. She wanted to keep things under wraps but that got her nowhere. When she switched gears and had a much better experience. She walked away from the deal with more than double what the company had initially offered.
- Ask for references. While there is the attorney/client privilege issues to consider, most employment lawyers should have a few people you can talk to about their experiences working with the attorney. When you talk to them ask more than just if they liked the person. Ask how easy it was to get in touch with them, how good a listener they were and what their overall impressions were.
- Make sure you are clear on the billing process. Law firms can pretty much handle their billing any way that they want to. You should be clear on how much you will be charged. You should also get bills that are itemized so you understand what you are being charged for. Reputable law firms will have no problem explaining their billing process. If a lawyer refuses to give you this, keep looking.
The right employment lawyer can make a difference, these tips can help hire the perfect one for you.