29 May What Discovery Really Looks Like in an Employment Discrimination Case
In the past few years, the number of employment discrimination cases nationwide has been on the rise. This is likely due to an increased awareness of employment law and discrimination as well as increased support from third parties.
If you want to know how to win a lawsuit against an employer, it is important that you understand how the discovery process works. It is also important that you hire an employment attorney to handle your employment discrimination case.
During the discovery process, both sides seek out information to strengthen their case. If you’re not prepared, you may unwittingly reveal damaging information to the defendant.
Read on to learn what happens during the discovery process. That way, you can prepare yourself for your employment discrimination case proceedings.
What is the Discovery Process?
The discovery process is the period of time before the trial. Both sides of the case seek and exchange information that relates to the claim. In other words, this is the time when both the plaintiff and the defendant gather the information they need to build their respective cases.
What Methods Are Used During the Discovery Process?
There are three methods used during the discovery process. These are referred to as depositions, interrogatories, and requests for the production of documents.
During a deposition, your attorney will question witnesses under oath about the validity of your claim. These witnesses may include your supervisors, coworkers, and other individuals. Each side is usually allotted up to ten depositions and limited to seven hours total.
Interrogatories consist of specific written questions that must be answered under oath. During this process, you will be expected to answer these questions. Each side is typically allotted up to twenty-five interrogatories.
Requests for the production of documents allows your attorney to ask for documents that are in your employer’s possession. These may consist of paper or electronic documents and they must pertain to the case in a provable way.
On What Grounds Can You Be Blocked During the Discovery Process?
At times, the defendant’s team will try to block your attorney’s methods. They will do so on the grounds that the witness, lines of questioning, or request is not relevant to the case. They may also argue that they are not worth the time or money required to produce the answers.
For example, the defendant’s team may argue that the plaintiff is asking for more information than they need to prove their case. This tends to happen when the plaintiff requests digitized documents that are several years old and not readily accessible.
Proportionality may also come into play. Is the issue between employee and employer considered minor? The plaintiff’s requests may be blocked if they are considered disproportionately expensive or time-consuming compared to the issue at hand.
Throughout the discovery process, you will have to prove that your proceedings are both relevant and worthwhile. This is one of the factors that can slow down the discovery process and draw out the case.
What Kinds of Requests are Made When Filing a Lawsuit?
You’ve got an understanding of the terminology and proceedings of the discovery process. Now, let’s look at some examples that could come into play during your case. Of course, specifics will come down to the nature of the discrimination, but these examples will shed some light on what you should expect.
When looking for relevant witnesses, you should turn to other employees that were aware of the discrimination you faced. You should also call upon those who experienced discrimination at the hands of your employer. The latter helps to establish a pattern of behavior from your employer.
If there are other incidences of discrimination, you will want to receive any records of those complaints. You will also need to acquire any emails or memos that contain information that is relevant to your own complaint.
Finally, you will need to ask for the defense your employer’s team intends to bring into court. You are also entitled to a list of witnesses they will call to the stand.
It is important that you inform your attorney of any information you believe the defense will use against you. This is especially true if you are worried that it will hurt your case.
The defense is, of course, trying to poke holes in your argument against them.
They will seek information that contradicts your claims and they may look for inconsistencies in your story. Also, they may look for evidence that the damages you’ve suffered are not relevant to their behavior.
The defense tends to question witnesses who you’ve spoken with about your claim, including your friends and family. They will also ask you a series of in-depth questions about your experience and the claim that you’ve filed.
Finally, they will examine any documents related to the damages you’ve suffered. This could include medical records. It may even include information about medication and psychological treatment.
Note that they are not always entitled to this information and a qualified attorney can assist you in ensuring that inappropriate records are barred from discovery.
Hiring an Attorney for Your Employment Discrimination Case
If you have an employment discrimination case on your hands, it’s important that you work with a skilled and experienced employment attorney. The defense team will do everything in their power to undermine your claim. You need someone who will win your case and protect you from further harm.
If you’re in Los Angeles, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada, contact the Fernald & Zaffos. We will start with a consultation and head straight into the discovery process from there.