Sometimes, a bad situation at work crosses a line and then becomes a legal issue. When you’ve been harmed by your employer, you may have a case worth pursuing in a court of law. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it may be time to speak with an employment lawyer. If you’ve decided to take this wise step, good for you.
Phone consults are generally free and come with no obligation. It is a chance for you to ask and answer questions about your case. During this conversation, a lawyer or assistant will assess the validity of your case. Once a lawyer tells you there is a valid claim, they will then schedule your first in-person meeting. Be on time or early for this appointment, go alone, and bring a list of questions to ask.
If you are curious about what will be discussed during this meeting and what documents to bring with you, read on.
Questions Your Employment Lawyer Will Ask You
An employment lawyer will ask questions designed to learn the facts of your case. Be as honest, clear, and direct in your answers as you can.
These questions may include:
- How long have you worked in your current place of employment?
- What is the employer’s name? What are the names of people involved in your case?
- When did the events of your case occur?
- What happened?
- What policy or law do you believe was violated? How did this harm you?
- Have you reported this situation to an organization such as OSHA or other authority?
- What written evidence or record do you have of your claim?
- Are there any witnesses?
If it feels like the lawyer is challenging your story, do not take it personally. It is their job to understand exactly what happened and when.
Questions You Should Ask Your Employment Lawyer
During this first meeting, your goal is to determine if this particular employment lawyer will do a good job for you. You also want to learn what you can expect if you move forward. Write down what you want to be sure to ask ahead of time. You can also print out this article for easy reference. Here is a sampling of questions:
- How many cases like mine have you handled in total? How many cases like mine do you usually handle each year?
- What are my rights?
- What is a realistic timeframe for resolving my case? How often do employers offer to settle claims like mine out of court instead of going to trial? What result do you feel is most likely?
- What is your standard fee agreement for handling my case? Are there situations in which the fee could be higher or lower?
- Will I have to testify or appear in court? What other options do I have to resolve this claim?
- What happens next if I decide to retain you as my employment lawyer? How will we communicate?
- Are you in any legal or professional associations?
Remember, a lawyer cannot promise you a certain result. Employment cases can be tough to win. That is why it is ideal to hire a lawyer with experience. Look for an employment attorney who regularly handles your type of claim.
Documents You Should Bring to Your Attorney Consultation: A Checklist
To prepare for your first in-person meeting with an employment lawyer, it is smart to gather all relevant documents. Think in terms of what materials will state:
- Your record as an employee
- The policies of your employer
- Written evidence of your claim
Here is an employment consultation checklist that you can download. The employment lawyer will ask for several key items. To start, please present a written record of the events of your case. Next, a copy of your resume and up-to-date job description will be helpful. Bring the documents you received when you began work. A lawyer will be particularly interested in documents containing your employer’s policies and rules. You should also bring any training manuals.
Please also bring any written records of your job performance, such as annual reviews or bonus letters. Then, print out emails or texts relevant to your claim and include them in your packet. Finally, collect and bring pay stubs or direct deposit statements from the previous year, and any other written records relevant to your case.
With careful preparation and a good employment lawyer, you will be more likely to get the outcome you seek.
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Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.