Filing a lawsuit against an employer or former employer can be an intimidating experience, which leaves many workers wondering if standing up for their rights is truly worth the trouble. Here at Perrin Law Group, we have over a quarter century’s experience defending the rights of employees and employment discrimination in the state of California, so we know a thing or two about the topic. We have worked with employees of all ages and from diverse industries and distinct walks of life — and we have seen, first hand, the positive and negative effects of employee/employer lawsuits.
Whether or not such legal action is right for you is ultimately a personal decision that only you can make — however, in this article, we have compiled a brief overview of the most important pros and cons to consider when choosing what to do.
The Downside of an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit
Let’s start by taking a brief look at a few of the challenges that you should be prepared for when embarking on a lawsuit against your employer or former employer.
1. Opportunity Costs.
Your case is sure to occupy your time, energy, and focus for as long as two years, which could reduce your ability to work on other projects, like finding and maintaining a new source of employment.
2. Emotional Drain.
Some employees avoid filing discrimination lawsuits because they do not wish to focus their emotional energy on the painful experience of being treated unfairly. Unfortunately, your former employer will often fabricate performance or behavioral issues which, although untrue, are still hurtful and difficult to hear. Similarly, the aggressive tactics and strategies of your employer’s attorney are often specifically designed to induce both you and your attorney to not proceed with the lawsuit.
3. The Expenses of Winning.
No amount of money can truly compensate you for discrimination or retaliation in the workplace. After suffering through an often exhausting litigation process, employees often feel that the monetary compensation ultimately received by way of a settlement or at trial was not worth the effort.
4. The Risk of Losing.
Last but not least, another potential risk of a lawsuit is that you do not prevail in your case. The legal system, particularly in cases involving employment discrimination, can be both complex and unpredictable. Furthermore, you may be responsible for your former employer’s costs and attorneys’ fees if you lose.
The Benefits to Filing an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit
Having acknowledged the challenges and roadblocks that do exist in employment litigation, here are a few reasons why employees should defend their legal rights and seek compensation for discriminatory and unfair treatment:
1. The Settlement.
Clearly, being financially compensated for the financial losses and emotional pain associated with workplace discrimination is an important reason to pursue legal action. Frankly, a monetary settlement from your former employer is the only form of apology that you will receive from your former employer for discrimination or retaliation. However, it is not the only thing that motivates employees to speak out…
2. Defending Yourself and Your Coworkers.
Apart from the financial remuneration that you stand to gain through litigation, you may also be driven by a sense of justice and solidarity with your fellow workers and community as a whole. By saying “no” to discrimination and standing up against those who blatantly disregard the statutory protections designed to prevent workplace discrimination, litigation should ultimately make the work environment a safer and more enjoyable place to work for all employees irrespective of race, sex, disability or religion.
Lastly, there are many statutes, such as California Labor Code Section 1102.5, that were specifically enacted to prevent your employer from retaliating against you for lodging a complaint with any governmental organization relating to any form of workplace discrimination, retaliation or safety issues. The whistleblower statutes often entitle an employee to significant penalties and additional damages. This means that you are free to undertake an employment discrimination lawsuit without fear of employer retaliation.
Think you may have grounds for a workplace discrimination lawsuit? Contact Perrin Law Group online today for a free case evaluation.