You’ve just received a letter from a lawyer informing you that your business is being sued in an employment dispute.
If you have never been sued before, this can be unsettling. You’re not sure about the next move. All you can think of is the old saying “the only winners in lawsuits are the lawyers.” This is true in long, drawn-out civil proceedings.
Most employment disputes should be settled out of court to save employers on legal costs.
“I will never give that employee one thin dime! I will never settle!” you say to yourself. But if you fight to the bitter end, you will probably face wallet-busting costs. Only your lawyer will be happy and satisfied!
The truth is, most employment dispute cases should be settled out of court. The longer a case runs on, the higher the legal costs. Take this as an incentive to reach a settlement as soon as possible.
Advantages of Settling Employee Disputes
For many companies, the cost of attorneys’ fees alone is important to consider in the face of employee litigation.
In addition to legal fees, there’s the chance that you will be ordered to make a huge payout to the employee at the end of an employment dispute trial. Plus, employers can be forced to pay more damages when they fight and lose employment litigation. These damages are considered as “hassle factors.”
When To Settle an Employment Dispute
Resolving an employment claim before it’s even been filed in court is often a wise move for companies.
An early settlement will limit legal costs and your own time on the case. Going to court means making yourself available for meetings, depositions, and time inside a courtroom. Plus, settling a case before it’s been heard inside a court room takes the emotion out of the battle. This is a bigger benefit than you may realize.
Lawsuits wear on both sides of a trial. That’s the “hassle factor.” When you are personally involved in a lawsuit, it’s a distressing distraction for you that takes you attention from your business. Employee morale can also be damaged when a company fights an employee’s action. The negative publicity that can follow an employment dispute can damage a company’s reputation.
With today’s social media, it’s not a reporter from a local Call 12 For Action you have to worry about. Your business reputation can be harmed throughFacebook, Twitter, Yelp, Angie’s List, and RipOff Report, just to name a few,
An Employment Attorney Can Quickly Resolve Employment Disputes
An employment lawyer brings certain skills to employee litigation that go beyond what your human resources can provide. Here are a few reasons why involving an employment attorney early on can actually keep your costs lower and settle a case sooner.
- Knowledge of Employment Law. A experienced employment attorney knows the laws that apply to you and your business. Not all businesses have the same options available to them. An employment lawyer will know which path is right for your business and ensure that your company is following all employment laws. In addition to resolving your legal case, s/he can advise you on business practices that might be compromising your ability to defend yourself if you are sued again in the future.
- Negotiation Experience. A lawyer with experience in negotiating and settling employment disputes can usually predict the outcome for your particular situation. Employment attorneys have dealt with a variety of employee complaints and understand what works and what doesn’t work in negotiating with them. They can also accurately assess your business’s liability and make sure settlement offers aren’t too much or too little.
- Emotional Control. Finally, lawyers don’t bring an emotional investment to a case. This lets them properly analyze each case and give honest advice and counsel. They won’t lose their cool during negotiation and can help you maintain your composure.
- Less Expense. Most people view hiring a lawyer as a serious step that indicates just how deeply invested someone is in bring a lawsuit or defending against one. The truth is, hiring a lawyer to handle negotiations saves money. As an employer, this means that you don’t have to spend time to prepare for a case. A lawyer will handle:
- Document preparation and filing
- Research on past cases
- Filing motions
- Handling discovery
- Ensuring deadlines are met for every step of a lawsuit
These are just a few examples of details that must be met in all legal disputes. They can take up a serious amount of time for people who don’t know the process inside and out. Let an experienced employment lawyer handle this business so you can spend your time running your business.
There are alternatives to resolving a dispute with an employee besides going to court. Many cases can be resolved quickly through skillful negotiation to reach a satisfactory conclusion—without the wallet-busting expense of an ongoing lawsuit.
If you are facing a decision concerning this issue, please contact our office for a consultation.