People with employment law claims come to us from all over Northeast Ohio—from Lorain County to Ashtabula County, and from Cleveland to Medina. Most people want to know whether they “have a case” and how much it will “cost” them to pursue it. These are important questions. But Ohio employees who have been wrongfully terminated or otherwise mistreated in the workplace should ask several others before hiring an employment law attorney:
Have you handled my type of employment law case before?
- Employment law in Ohio is extremely complex. Many attorneys, and their clients, have gotten into trouble because they fell into one of the many traps awaiting those who handle employment law cases without the necessary experience. You wouldn’t hire a dentist to do your open-heart surgery. You shouldn’t hire just “any attorney” to represent you in an employment law case either.
What percentage of your practice is devoted to representing individuals in employment law?
- This is related to the first question. Some lawyers advertise that they handle employment law, but actually either handle only a very few cases, or spend a great deal of time representing employers instead of employees. When you have been fired or mistreated in the workplace, you need an attorney who spends their time representing people in your situation, not the type of company that violated your rights.
Do we have a choice of where to file, and what are the pros and cons of each?
- Some employment claims in Ohio can be filed in federal or state court. Depending on the type of case and the county you are in, there may be an advantage to one or the other. In addition, some claims can (or must) first go through an administrative agency before filing a lawsuit. If a lawyer cannot adequately explain your options, you might consider whether he or she lacks the knowledge you need.
How quickly do we have to act?
- Different Ohio and federal employment law claims have different time limits. Some require you to take action as quickly as ninety days, or even sooner. If your potential employment law attorney does not know these rules, he or she might wait too long to file and you could lose the chance to vindicate your rights altogether.
Are your professional “awards” earned or purchased?
- Some attorneys advertise professional “awards” on their websites without telling you that they are purchased not earned. There are several reputable organizations that rate lawyers based on objective criteria, peer reviews, and client feedback. But some simply sell recognition and awards. Before you put stock into the “awards” an attorney advertises, you should consider whether they were earned or bought. (Ours are all earned).
When you have been fired or harassed at work, you are going through a very difficult time, both emotionally and financially. That is all the more reason why you need to be careful in hiring the right employment attorney. While this list of questions is not exhaustive, we hope they will help you make an informed choice.