Published on March 24th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover
““The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer hear birds sing.”
- Eric Berne
ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES”: One of the questions most frequently asked of employment lawyers – and of this blog – is this: “Do I have a strong employment discrimination case?” The reason seems obvious: so many people feel aggrieved at work, and so many people feel that, just maybe, the cause of the problem is “something” about them. What “something?” Perhaps their (a) age, (b) race, (c) gender, (d) disability, (e) pregnancy, (f) religion, (g) sexual orientation, (h) national origin, (i) genetic background, or other “protected classification” under federal, state and local laws.
To answer that question takes familiarity with the facts of the possible claim. Just as a doctor can know all there is to know about medicine, he or she cannot make a good diagnosis without knowing the patient. That takes blood tests, ex-rays, and the like. So, too, it is with lawyers: the “facts” of the case make it a strong case or a weak case. But you may not be a lawyer. Do you need a lawyer to decide if your employment discrimination case is strong or weak? Not in my opinion. Why not?
You know best the facts, events and circumstances of what happened to you, and how it compares with what happened to others. You know best the individuals concerned, and have a good sense of their intentions toward you. You know best the demographic makeup of those you work for and work with. All you need is a way to put those facts, events and circumstances into a framework of understanding. You can, with the right tools, determine whether you have a strong discrimination case.
And, so, in this newsletter we provide you with the way to determine – yourself – whether you have a strong case of discrimination in the way you are treated in your workplace. Here are the tools you need.
LESSON TO LEARN: Employment discrimination cases are quite common in our society, and seemingly more common as time goes by. That seems to be a result of three phenomena: (i) a strong societal determination to make employment opportunity a “level playing field” so that no one is excluded or given less a chance than others; (ii) a rather wide-ranging set of federal, state and municipal laws that make it fairly easy to raise a discrimination claim or legal case; and (iii) increasingly tough competition among employees for a limited number of jobs.
In very general terms, the law is comprised of (a) a set of rules, (b) nearly always borne of common experience and common sense, (c) intended to encourage us all to be honest and fair to each other. What many lawyers would have you believe – namely, that the law is (i) hugely complicated, (ii) incapable of being understood by most people, and (iii) warrants being paid a lot of money for sharing how it works – is just not true. To the contrary, there is a lot you can do for yourself.
This is especially important regarding employment discrimination law, because so many people have daily concerns about it, and have a yearning to understand it. And, too, because so many people unwittingly bring forth weak employment discrimination claims and cases, often with the encouragement of lawyers. So, in this newsletter we do our best to help. It’s better to know you have a strong employment discrimination case – or a weak one – before you raise a claim or hire an attorney.
Here’s how you can do that.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you want a good idea of whether you have a strong employment discrimination case or claim, here is how you can help yourself make that determination:
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