When Should I See an Attorney?

 

How Do I Find an Attorney?

 

What Kind of Evidence Will Be Important for My Attorney?

 

Using An Attorney . . .

When Should I See An Attorney?

You should see an attorney if you want to protect yourself while negotiating any type of employment agreement.  You should also see an attorney if you are being treated unfairly and wish to protect yourself. 

If possible, you should see an attorney BEFORE you are terminated if possible because the attorney can help you assert your rights in a manner that best protects your legal rights.  For example, you can lose certain legal claims if you do not make a complaint to your employer BEFORE your termination.

An attorney can also help posture your case PRIOR to your departure in a way to increase the likelihood of getting a severance agreement.  Remember, too, you can consult with an attorney without your employer finding out.  

If you have been terminated, it is wise to consult an attorney before deciding to accept a severance agreement that will require you to release your legal claims.

It is also a good idea to see an attorney if you are thinking about filing a discrimination complaint with the EEOC or a state administrative agency, even though you are not required to be represented by an attorney to file a complaint.  An attorney can help increase your chances of a successful outcome and, if the complaint is not resolved by the EEOC, your attorney can advise you about whether to pursue a lawsuit.

 

How do I Find an Attorney?

Just like physicians, attorneys also have specialty areas. Look for an attorney who specializes in representing employees and who has an excellent reputation and significant experience.  Your attorney should make you feel that he or she really cares about your case and will do whatever is necessary to help you.  You should feel comfortable that the attorney understands your concerns.  Look for an attorney who is realistic and who does not make unrealistic promises.  It is also best to find an attorney who works in your geographical area.

How do you start looking for an attorney?  If you know attorneys who specializes in other areas of the law, often they can give you a referral to an employment law specialist who represents employees.   If you have a friend with human resources experience, ask them what lawyers make their companies most afraid.  You can also call the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and they can give you a specialist who practices near you.

 If you have a legal problem in Colorado, please contact us for an appointment. See Contact Us. If we cannot see you, we will give you the names of other Colorado attorneys who specialize in employment law.

 

What Kind of Evidence Will Be Important for My Attorney?

Your attorney will be looking for evidence that helps support your legal claim. Your attorney will also want to know about the evidence against your legal claim so that he or she can properly advise you.  The following type of evidence may be important depending on your claim:

Evidence of Promises

This may include:

  • Any written promises from your employer or offer letters;
  • Your company handbook and any memos or guidelines setting forth company policies you believe are not being followed by your employer; 
  • Any language by your employer in a handbook, employment application or elsewhere relating to your status as an “AT WILL” employee;
  • Any evidence of verbal promises by your employer;
  • Any confirming letters or memoranda between you and your employer referencing or restating promises made to you.

Evidence of Discrimination

This includes: 

  • Statements against interest that you or others employees may have heard which were made by management at your company showing discriminatory intent (we call these Smoking Guns).  
  • Statements by other employees and former employees about discrimination by your employer or manager; 
  • Statistics or evidence of numbers showing members of a protected group (i.e. females, older employees, minorities or disabled individuals) are being treated differently.  This might include numbers showing that older employees were targeted for a reduction in force, for example, or it could include numbers showing that females or minorities are not being promoted.

Evidence of your Work Performance

This includes:

  • Formal evaluations;
  • All disciplinary warnings and counseling memoranda;
  • Statements by other employees regarding your performance;
  • Performance statistics, if available.

CAVEAT:   If you are being terminated, you are not entitled to take documents that belong to the company, even if they are relevant to your legal claim.  If you wrongfully take documents, you can lose much (or all) of the damages arising from your claim.