When Do I Need a Discrimination Lawyer?
You need to talk to a discrimination lawyer if you have experienced discrimination and are either not sure if it was illegal or have tried and failed to resolve the situation. If you are unsure at all about what happened or what to do next, it’s best to talk to a lawyer specializing in these cases.
Some government agencies that handle discrimination complaints, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, suggest that you do not need a lawyer to file. This is true, but you also have a right to a lawyer to represent you, and there are many good reasons to have one.
How Can a Discrimination Lawyer Help Me?
In determining whether or not you need to talk to a lawyer, it helps to understand what they can do for you. Initially, the situation may seem simple and uncomplicated, but discrimination cases can be complex and difficult to settle.
Here are just some of the ways an experienced discrimination lawyer will be able to help you in this difficult situation:
- Determine if you have a case.
Not all discrimination is unlawful. It may be unfair, but your situation may be perfectly legal. A discrimination lawyer knows all the laws that apply and can tell you if you really have a case or not.
- Make sure you don’t miss deadlines.
The statutes of limitations governing discrimination cases can be confusing. There may be a short limit on when you must file a claim with a government agency, for instance. The statute on filing a lawsuit could vary depending on the laws that apply and the state or jurisdiction for the case.
- Investigate and gather evidence.
Discrimination lawyers are experts in assessing and investigating situations to prove discrimination. They will take a look at what happened to you, talk to witnesses, and put together documentation that proves your case.
- Estimate damages.
The amount of damages you may recover in a discrimination case can be more difficult to determine than cases with physical injuries and medical bills. The right lawyer knows what you are entitled to and will give you a reasonable estimate so you can decide if it makes sense to go forward with legal action.
- Advocate in settlements and court.
Lawyers specializing in discrimination cases can advocate for you in settlements, negotiating with an employer or agency to restore your rights and recover damages. They also have the experience to litigate, taking your case before a jury if it comes to that.
Where Can I Find a Discrimination Lawyer?
You can search to find lawyers specializing in discrimination cases. Many personal injury or trial attorneys claim to handle discrimination cases but may not have a lot of relevant experience. Choose a firm or individual with provable experience helping victims of discrimination.
It’s better if you can get a referral for a good lawyer who handles these cases. Someone you know may have been in a similar situation and can tell you who they worked with and trusted. Advocacy groups for discrimination, human rights, and civil rights may also have networks of lawyers for a referral. Check with organizations in your area.
Important Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
A single referral or a search for a discrimination lawyer is a good place to start, but take some time to narrow down options to the best lawyer for you. It’s important to act quickly when discrimination occurs, but it’s also essential to have the right lawyer. Interview a few firms or lawyers and ask questions to help you make your decision:
- What is your experience with cases like mine? What were the outcomes?
- Can you show me referrals from previous clients?
- How much of your caseload is related to discrimination?
- Is my situation a case of unlawful discrimination? Do I have a case?
- What would you recommend as the first step in my case?
- What is the evidence for discrimination in my case, and how will you prove it?
- What are my legal options?
- What can I recover in damages for this case?
- Who will handle my case most of the time?
- What are your fees?
How to Work with Your Discrimination Lawyer
Don’t take too long to hire a discrimination lawyer. Time limits can jeopardize your chances of a successful outcome and of recovering damages. Once you have selected a firm or lawyer to work with, provide them with everything you can that will help make the case:
- Any documentation related to the incident and follow up, including emails, letters, or reports
- Information about any communications or discussions you had with an employer or anyone else in management regarding the discrimination
- Any claims you have filed with government agencies
- Your recollections of the incident
- Recollections from witnesses along with their contact information
- Information about the perpetrator
- Any expenses you have incurred because of the incident, such as lost wages, promotions, or jobs
A discrimination lawyer is a great ally in your fight for your rights. Discrimination is wrong, damaging, and often illegal. A lawyer will help you make a case and recover damages if possible.