What Will My Lawyer Require From Me When Suing My Employer In Manhattan?
First, your Manhattan employment lawyer will interview you at length about the circumstances of your employment and your termination. Your attorney will also request relevant documents from you.
Typically, I ask my clients for the business’s employee handbook; the employee’s performance evaluations; other claims of discrimination or retaliation brought by the employee; a list of all questionable conduct on the part of the employer; and all corroborating emails, witness statements, and memoranda. Further, I ask my clients for IRS Forms W-2 to identify the corporate employer, any available information on the company website, the client’s resume, and all conduct that the client relies on in order to establish the claim.
Once I’ve reviewed those materials, I draft a complaint. A complaint is a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph recitation of the facts that give rise to the employment-related claim. If the employee was unlawfully fired, the complaint will discuss the circumstances of that termination and will set forth causes of action by the employee for discriminatory discharge or retaliatory discharge.
If the worker is bringing a wage-and-hour claim, the claim will set forth what the worker was paid and what the worker was entitled to be paid. Further, the complaint will set forth the employee’s causes of action, for example, unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime, unpaid commissions, or unpaid salary.
Once I prepare the complaint, I give it to the client for review.
Once we have a final document, I file it in Court, along with the filing fee that initiates the case. The complaint also must be personally served upon the defendant’s employer.
Within a relatively brief period of time, the employer will serve an answer to the complaint. The employer’s answer to the complaint is a detailed written pleading that goes through the allegations of the complaint and either admits them, denies them, or denies having knowledge and information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the allegation. The answer may also contain one or more counterclaims. Counterclaims are causes of action brought by the employer against the employee.
A judge will be assigned to the case. There will be a scheduling conference at which a written discovery schedule is set.
When I represent the employee, I serve written document requests on the employer. These written requests demand that the employer produce categories of documents relevant to the employee’s claim. I may also ask written questions, called interrogatories, which the employer must answer.
Further, I may serve, for the employee, what is called a notice to admit. A notice to admit is a pleading that seeks to get the employer to admit certain undisputed facts. The penalty, if the employer does not admit those facts, is that the employer will pay the cost of me, on the employee’s behalf, proving those facts at trial.
The employer, too, will serve, on the plaintiff employee, written requests for documents and interrogatories. With my employee client’s assistance, I will answer these discovery requests by the employer.
Depositions will take place. At a deposition, a witness gives testimony before a court reporter. Typically, the deposition takes place in a conference room at the examining attorney’s offices. In some cases, the deposition may take place in an assigned conference room at the Courthouse.
At a deposition, the opposing attorney asks the witness questions under oath. When the employee is being deposed, I am there, as his or her counsel, to object to questions that call for irrelevant or privileged information.
On the employee’s behalf, I depose representatives of the employer.
At the end of discovery, the employer likely will make a motion for summary judgment. A motion by the employer for summary judgment is an application to the Court stating that based on the undisputed material facts that have come out in discovery, the employer is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, without a trial.
The employer supports its motion for summary judgment with an affidavit of representatives of the employer, with a declaration by the employer’s counsel, with excerpts from transcripts of witnesses’ depositions, and with documents that, during the discovery process, parties or non-parties produced.
On behalf of the employee, I draft and file papers opposing the employer’s summary judgment motion. Like the employer’s moving papers, the employee’s opposition papers are supported by affidavits, by documentary evidence, and by excerpts from deposition transcripts. The employee’s opposition papers explain that there are material issues of facts that prelude summary judgment for the employer, and that requires a trial. In certain cases, I cross-move for summary judgment, in whole or in part, in the employee’s favor.
The judge considers the parties’ respective submissions moving for and opposing summary judgment. If the judge grants the employer’s motion for summary judgment, then the employee loses his case. Conversely, provided that the judge denies the employer’s motion for summary judgment, the employee’s lawsuit goes to trial.
The employee has the right to a trial before a jury of his peers. However, the employee can waive that right and seek a bench trial, which is a trial before the judge.
Provided that the employee’s lawsuit is tried, it is my burden, as the employee’s lawyer, to prove the employee’s case. In order to meet that burden, and on the employee’s behalf, I examine and cross-examine witnesses, and I introduce documents into evidence.
We will make an opening statement to the jury and, after the testimony and evidence are complete, a closing statement to the jury. The jury will find the employer either liable or not liable. If the jury finds the employer liable, the jury will proceed to determine what the money damages are, and will make a monetary award to the employee.
In the vast majority of cases in both federal court and state court in which summary judgment is denied, the case does not reach trial. In most cases not decided on dispositive motions, the employer and the employee settle before trial.
If you are an executive or a professional in the Manhattan metro area and you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, call Manhattan Wrongful Termination Lawyer David S. Rich at (347) 970-5550 today.