The late George Carlin famously spoke about seven words you can’t say on TV.
Not one to miss a chance to co-opt, I will offer you three words you should NEVER utter in an employment dispute.
Many employees file discrimination complaints with Wisconsin’s Equal Rights Division (ERD) without retaining an attorney. If you are an ERD complainant without an attorney, and you just received a “probable cause” determination, you may be wondering “now what?” Or at least you should be. In the time following a probable cause determination, things will get more formal and legalistic. You should get the most information you can about what’s to come.
Below, I’ll discuss what a “probable cause” (PC) determination means, what a “no probable cause” (NPC) determination means, and what each determination may mean for you. Bad news first.
If an employer has offered you a severance agreement, you should consider the following things.
Note: this post does not give legal advice. For legal advice about your severance situation, please contact an attorney. To reach me, click here:
The moment you are given a severance agreement, check it for a deadline. Chances are, your employer gave you a deadline in which you must agree to, or decline, the severance. For workers 40 years old or older, federal law requires employers give at least a 21-day period to review the severance agreement.
Employers- are you looking for an employment defense attorney who will unquestioningly agree with every word you allege, gladly smear your opponent employee as “ridiculous” and a “liar” and the like, and write letters to your opponent (although more so written to you) proclaiming your organization will be “vindicated?”
Employees- are you looking for an employee rights attorney who will unquestioningly take your “slam dunk case” as you call it, who gladly promises to be more “aggressive” than the prior two attorneys you retained, and who nods and agrees that your case may well go to the Supreme Court because you’ll “never settle with those people?”
If you search long enough, and if you bring a big wallet along, you will eventually find the right attorneys to Pump (PAUSE, CLAP) You Up.
And at some point (well short of the Supreme Court or “vindication”) you will realize that you have spent a lot more money on legal fees than you needed to, and you probably WILL “settle with those people” (or, at least you’d BETTER). And the settlement will be a disappointment to you as compared to what you had believed back when your attorney was vocal about pumping you up, and silent about the multiple risks of deflation. But at some point you’ll see it’s better to cut your losses than continue to pay Hans and Franz’s membership fee.