Due to the hard work of thousands of Americans throughout history who fought for better working conditions and civil rights, we currently enjoy many protections in the workplace that previous generations did not. Laws that make it illegal to discriminate against race, gender/ sex, religious beliefs, and a host of other factors protect employee rights at the federal and state levels. Laws against harassment and other types of misconduct work to ensure that a workplace is a safe space for productivity and engagement, where employees are treated with dignity and respect.
Unfortunately, these measures are sometimes disregarded, which pushes some employees to pursue claims through arbitration, EEOC investigations, or litigation. If you are considering working with a Virginia Beach employment attorney to fight against discrimination, harassment, or to receive overdue overtime pay, you are probably curious about what may lie ahead.
Your Employer is (Probably) Not Afraid of your Lawsuit
Although a lawsuit is a serious setback to everyone involved, is it not a true threat to your employer. If it were, you would not feel the need to seek action because your place of work would have upheld the law. It may dishearten you to know that many times, high-level associates who break the law are not disciplined for their wrongful actions. At times, they may even come out on top by finding a lawful reason to fire you or turning your coworkers against you.
You may have coworkers who are treated more favorably by your employer who may be persuaded to testify against you. This can snowball into a reality in which the whole company is seemingly turned against you to protect their own interests, whether or not they condone the actions that caused you to seek legal action. Through gossip, rumors, and shunning, other employees who are not personally struck by the actions you faced bolster the position of whoever is actually breaking the law. When it comes down to a “he said, she said” scenario, this person ultimately holds more leverage and more reason to be presumed innocent while portraying you as the “difficult employee.”
A Lawsuit Will Not Protect you from Further Adversity
Because your employer is not personally threatened by a lawsuit, he or she will likely fight back against your allegations, and fight hard. It is all too common for employers to retaliate against employees who sue. Although retaliation is unlawful under certain circumstances, your employer may be able to terminate you for legitimate reasons.
Once your employer knows where you stand, he or she may find all kinds of ways to negatively depict you. Your coworkers may also join in with rumors and hearsay, which can balloon into flat-out accusations of inappropriate or criminal behavior. Expect your employer to unleash accusations of wrongdoing on your part, even if you generally strive to make your best effort and follow all the rules. If you show any emotion or verbally object, this may only strengthen their case that you are difficult to manage or a threat to the workplace.
Your Employer May Not Learn from their Mistakes
Employees don’t just pursue legal action to try to correct a workplace that is unfair to them; they typically do so with the best intentions to make their workplace better for everyone. The hope is that the employer will take a serious look from the employee’s perspective and change their ways; sadly, this doesn’t always work out.
More often than not, a potential lawsuit adds fuel to the fire. Your coworkers may be notified that legal action has been pursued and they may be asked to keep all records of communications and interactions with you. Management may consider and document every detail, no matter how small, to cast you in a negative light. They may cling to anything that may show instability, incompetence, or untrustworthiness. When the workforce sees what your employer will do to them if they ever speak out, they may be highly discouraged from fighting back. Long-term, your employer may continue their unlawful actions without repercussions. This, however, does not mean that you shouldn’t take action to protect your rights.
At Bertini Law, we are a boutique law firm dedicated to helping employees seek resolutions to employer misconduct. We understand the hardships associated with suing your employer, and that deciding to pursue legal recourse is a difficult decision to make. Our team of employment attorneys has years of experience serving Virginia Beach and surrounding areas, and has obtained successful outcomes. We also work with all kinds of companies to guide human relations. Call (757) 222-9165 or contact us to discuss your case.