What to Expect When Filing A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
By standing up for yourself, you will obtain the justice you deserve. You will also get the closure and validation you may need to heal and move on.
Choose an attorney specializing in sexual harassment cases. There are nuances and standards of proof as well as specific protections applicable only to victims of sexual harassment. In a sexual harassment case, Employee Rights Attorney Group effectively prosecutes your rights while protecting your privacy and ensuring that you are treated with dignity throughout the process.
The following is a general overview of what to expect when filing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
We view the relationship as a partnership and strive to provide a positive experience. Prosecuting a case will not be daunting if you have a good relationship with your counsel and you are in frequent communication about developments in the case and your goals. As the client, you are the fact holder. Although your lawyer does the legal work for you, your valuable insights can help steer the case. Hence, pursuing litigation requires you to commit time and dedication.
To initiate a sexual harassment lawsuit, your lawyer has to file a Complaint with the Court. Courts are not concerned with everything that happened over the course of employment. The Complaint provides an overview of legally relevant facts. You, the victim prosecuting the claims, is known as the Plaintiff in civil litigation. The employer is referred to as the Defendant.
After the Complaint is filed, a Judge will be assigned to your case. A conference with the Judge will follow during which the Judge will set an initial trial date. You neither have to attend hearings/conferences nor are you expected to be there. Judges generally want to hear from the lawyers. It is common for trial dates to be continued. Unfortunately, the wheels of justice move slowly due to lack of resources allocated to the Courts.
After a case is filed, both sides have a window of time to seek and obtain information necessary to support their claims/defenses before trial. This is one area where a client may have valuable insights into relevant documents and witnesses. During this phase, we will Subpoena and depose witnesses, and seek documents and information from Defense. We will also serve written questions to Defense. Throughout the case, Defense is prohibited from contacting you directly. At deposition, however, the parties in a lawsuit can question and obtain testimony from witnesses under oath before trial. You will likely be deposed. A deposition is essentially an interview about your claims and gives you an opportunity to tell your story. During your deposition, you will not be alone. Your lawyer will sit by your side and will object to improper questions to effectuate a fair process.
Relevant witnesses in a sexual harassment case may include “me too” witnesses, other men and women who experienced similar treatment.
Just because you are entitled to evidence, does not mean that Defense will always comply with their legal obligation to give it to you. It is not uncommon for Defense to drag their feet to try to delay and prolong the case hoping that you will give up or agree to an unfavorable settlement. Your lawyer may have to file papers with the Court asking the Court to compel Defense to produce documents and witnesses for deposition.
Often experts, who have specialized education, training, or experience, are retained to testify on a subject matter related to the case. As a victim of sexual harassment, you may be claiming emotional distress and seeking restitution for your pain and suffering. Your attorney may retain a clinical psychologist expert witness to testify about the trauma and emotional distress caused by sexual harassment and any adverse employment actions such as retaliation or wrongful termination. Defense may likely hire their own expert witness to try to contradict your expert’s independent assessment. Your testimony supported by a psychological analysis helps the jury determine the extent of pain and suffering you endured.
Rarely cases actually make it to trial. One reason is that Judges often require the parties to attend a mandatory settlement conference with a Judge or to participate in a mediation with a private neutral intended to resolve the case informally. The parties present evidence to a neutral, whose role is to assist the parties to find an acceptable compromise.
Sometimes a compromise is not feasible especially with an unreasonable Defendant and the matter proceeds to trial. There are two types of trials. During a jury trial, a case is presented to a jury of your peers and the factual questions and final judgment is made by a jury. Some litigants waive their right to a jury and prefer a bench trial, otherwise known as a court trial, where the Judge decides the factual questions and makes a final judgment. Depending on the circumstances of your case, one may be more advantageous over another.
We Will Be With You Every Step Of The Way
Litigation requires a lot of work and is a long drawn out process. But if you have a strong case, this work may be rewarding. It is to your advantage to invest the time and effort to hold Defendants accountable. California offers generous protections to victims of sexual harassment. We have represented many victims of sexual harassment to a successful conclusion and welcome the opportunity to tell your story and aggressively advocate on your behalf. Contact Employee Rights Attorney Group today to speak with a sexual harassment attorney.
The foregoing was a simplified overview. Please be advised that there are many more nuances and procedures that apply and come up in litigation and the developments in a case are dependent on individual issues.