WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU MIGHT HAVE A CASE AGAINST YOUR EMPLOYER
DO NOT TAPE RECORD YOUR EMPLOYER - Both state and federal laws provide penalties against anybody who secretly records another’s voice. Secret recordings of your coworkers, supervisors, human resources, or any other persons connected with your employer is a criminal act. Any surreptitious tape recordings cannot be used in a court proceeding, and it is very unlikely an arbitrator would allow the tape to be used. Illegal tape recordings made at work may also result in your employer suing you. Tape recording does not just mean using audio or digital tape. It means using your cellular/smart phone to record.
DO NOT THREATEN YOUR EMPLOYER - Threats that you will sue will only be used against you. Threats you will report your employer’s unlawful conduct to a branch of the government, however, is protected whistle blowing.
DO NOT REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN A DISCRIMINATION INVESTIGATION - If you complained about a form of discrimination or harassment and your employer is investigating the matter, you must participate in the investigation. Refusing to participate in a workplace investigation because your attorney of choice is not present is not legitimate. Many employers will claim your outside attorney will interfere with their investigation.
DO NOT PESTER WITNESSES TO SIGN STATEMENTS – If your coworker does not want to sign a statement, affidavit, or declaration in support your claims let it go. Claims that you forced somebody to sign a declaration they did not agree with are harmful to a potential employment lawsuit. You may also end up impeaching your own witness by getting them to sign something they do not agree with, or is not completely accurate.
DO NOT CLAIM PEOPLE ARE WITNESSES WHO ARE NOT – Many times employees are over-anxious to claim a coworker or supervisor is a witness. It only discredits your position if you claim somebody is a witness who knows nothing about the relevant matter.
DO NOT AMASS YOUR EMPLOYER’S PAPERS OR ELECTRONIC FILES AT HOME OR ON YOUR OWN COMPUTER – Most employers assert their policies are confidential and proprietary. Financial information, health information, or personal information about other employees is generally thought to be private and is protected by privacy laws. Keeping copies of your work product is not legitimate. As an employee, your work belongs to your employer. You do not have a right to take your work product and use it at another employer. Amassing your employer’s papers and your work product at home is not a good idea unless you have a written agreement you may do so. If you have a valid employment case due to the loss of your job, you may find yourself the subject of a cross-complaint (lawsuit against you) if you keep your employers documents at your house.
BE HONEST AND DO NO EXAGERRATE – In general, employees involved in wrongful termination and sexual harassment cases need to be careful not to exaggerate anything. The same is true for cases involving unpaid wages. Exaggerating the number of hours you are owed in overtime, or the amount of commissions you are owed will only ruin your credibility.
DO NOT POST THINGS ABOUT WORK – Most people are part of a great number of different social networking sites some private and some public. All too often, one forgets who has access to their posts. You would not believe the kind of things our clients have posted on the internet we have seen employers use against them. Maintain your privacy and dignity by not posting about your workplace, or all of the happy and great things you are doing when you are claiming to suffer emotional distress because of harassment, discrimination, or the loss of your job.
DON’T WILLY NILLY GET UP AND QUIT YOUR JOB – Resigning from your job and being able to sue and/or collect unemployment is not automatic. To go about things right, consult with an experienced labor lawyer before quitting your job.
SLOW DOWN AND LET YOUR EMPLOYMENT LAWYER TALK – Employment law is exceedingly complicated. There are tens of thousands of published cases and statutes that define the boundaries of workplace law. Research attorneys at the courthouse who read motions in employment cases refer to them as, “Heavy lifting.” Don’t try to outsmart your lawyer, or tell them what is important. You will be caught in a sea of irrelevancy. A seasoned employment lawyer who has followed the ever evolving laws in the workplace knows what is important and what is not. Everything that happened to you at work from the day you started is not.