How Long Does It Take For a Discrimination Case to Settle?
By Corey Hanrahan
Discrimination cases can evolve from sexual harassment to racial discrimination, religious, age or gender-based discrimination. Unfortunately, the process of resolving such disputes through the legal system can be lengthy and complex, which is why you need a lawyer on your side. Depending on the facts and whether your claim is resolved in or out of court, a discrimination case can take anywhere from several months to several years to settle.
To help give you a better understanding there are a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the case, as well as the approach taken by both parties. In most cases, these five steps can be taken to help try to move things along faster.
Step 1: Collect Evidence
If you are taking your employer to court for discrimination, gathering evidence is the key to a successful discrimination case. Knowing what type of evidence to collect and how it should be presented in court can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the legal system. Working with an experienced employment law attorney who is experienced in employment law is the best way to ensure that all relevant evidence is collected and used correctly.
To prepare and collect evidence for your case, you must first identify all of the facts surrounding the incident or incidents that make up your claim of discrimination. This includes any related emails, texts, documents, or records that prove when, where, and how the discriminatory actions occurred. If there were witnesses who saw or heard anything related to these events, they should also be noted as potential sources of evidence.
Try to make sure you have these sources present when speaking with an attorney.
Step 2: Get an Understanding of Your Current State and Federal Employment Laws
Discrimination cases in the workplace are a serious matter, and it is important to know what laws may apply when filing your case. An experienced attorney can help determine which areas of law are relevant and should be considered in a discrimination court case.
Employment law covers many aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including areas such as hiring, firing, wages, hours, benefits and more. In addition to federal employment laws that may apply to a discrimination case, state laws may also be relevant depending on where the situation occurred. For example, California has its own anti-discrimination statutes that provide additional protections beyond those provided by federal law.
When filing a discrimination lawsuit in court or attempting to resolve an issue through mediation or negotiations outside of court, having an attorney familiar with both federal and state laws is beneficial for any employee involved in such proceedings.
Step 3: Exhaust Administrative Remedies and File a Complaint
Before filing a complaint for discrimination, you must be sure that all required administrative remedies have been exhausted (e.g., filing a charge with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing). Filing a complaint for a discrimination case can be an intimidating process, but it is important to take this step to protect your rights. Discrimination in the workplace is illegal and should not be tolerated. If you believe you have been discriminated against, the first step is to contact an attorney with experience in employment discrimination cases.
Your attorney will advise you on your options and explain the process for filing a discrimination complaint with the appropriate government agency and/or court of law. Depending on your situation, this may involve filing complaints with state and federal agencies such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and then taking legal action through the court by bringing a civil suit against those responsible for the discrimination. Your attorney will work with you throughout this process and guide you every step of the way.
“…If you are taking your employer to court for discrimination, gathering evidence is the key to a successful discrimination case…“
Step 4: Negotiate Settlement
Due to the damages to which employees are entitled, in addition to statutory prevailing party attorneys’ fees and costs, employers are often interested in avoiding the time and expense of defending a discrimination lawsuit. In those situations, there may be out-of-court negotiations that attempt to resolve the claim for a monetary payment. If negotiations break down, the case will likely be litigated through the court system.
Step 5: Sign Agreement
When discussing a potential settlement in discrimination cases, it is important for both sides of the case to agree on all details. If an agreement cannot be reached or if there are disputes over certain issues, such as damages or liability, then the process may take longer. Additionally, court proceedings may further delay any resolution if mediation or negotiation are unsuccessful.
The first step in any discrimination case is for an individual to consult with an attorney who specializes in civil rights law. The attorney will review the facts of the case and advise if there is legal recourse available under state or federal laws like the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, or other statutes that protect individuals against workplace discrimination.
If you live in San Diego county and you believe you were been wrongfully terminated by your employer, seek legal counsel with The Hanrahan Firm right away to help you.