Discovery Tools in Employment Disputes
When engaged in an employment dispute, there are many pieces of evidence that an employee will need to obtain in order to succeed. While it is never a good idea to start a working relationship specifically contemplating a lawsuit, employees should take steps to protect themselves should a dispute arise.
This includes some fairly basic measures. Every employee should read and keep a copy of their employee handbook, and any documents which they signed before being hired. The employee handbook is often treated as a contract, binding on both the employer and the employee. It usually lays out many of the rights and responsibilities held by both. In many employment disputes, it will be the starting point.
Employees should also keep copies of all of their timesheets. These will be very useful in a wage or hour dispute.
They should also request copies of all performance reviews and disciplinary records, if they exist. In a discrimination case, employers will sometimes claim that an employee was fired or disciplined because of poor performance. If all or most of the employee’s performance reviews are positive, this will be strong evidence that the employer has an ulterior motive.
If an employee has filed any formal complaints against supervisors or co-workers, they should keep copies, as well, especially if they feel that the employer is not acting on their behalf. In a sexual harassment claim, for example, the employee’s case will be bolstered if they have a record of complaints which have not been addressed.
Of course, a lawyer is best equipped to handle any type of lawsuit, and employment disputes are certainly no exception. An attorney should be able to determine exactly what evidence is needed, how best to obtain it, and how to use it effectively.
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Last Modified: 05-06-2013 04:35 PM PDT
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