An Irvine business lawyers is often asked how cases get started. After the main participants are identified, both sides need a case timeline and theory.
A chronology is an outline of the plaintiff’s career, with employer facts from the personnel file. These include date of hire, title, promotions, raises, performance evaluations, negative write-ups, etc. This detailed history delves into the events leading up to the plaintiff’s claims—was it a harassment case? If so, each alleged act needs documentation. Cases of accused discrimination, retaliation, or other matters are also spelled out with a timeline and details.
A challenging aspect of compiling case chronology is the legal definition of acts such as harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. The employee may not realize how broad the umbrella for possible acts is and yet how specifically they are defined. Attorneys need to know about any and all possible related events in order to determine appropriate legal action.
The plaintiff’s attorney will provide a cast of characters involved along with the chronology. The next report is the theory of the case—what liabilities are presented in the case? What are the possible defenses?
Here again, the plaintiff’s attorney and your Irvine business lawyer may discover theories that differ from the plaintiff’s expectations. Liability may be greater or different than seen at first review. For example, the plaintiff may be pursuing a sexual harassment case that proves weak but reveals a strong case for defamation. A failure-to-accommodate case for a disabled plaintiff may fall short but be reconstituted as a wage and hour claim. With so many angles to pursue, the theory of the case could transform into a proceeding on federal statutes such as ADA, FMLA, or Title VII, or common law such as defamation, fraud, breach of contract, etc.
As an employer, you are busy running your business, not practicing law. Be sure to work with an experienced Irvine business lawyer who is aware of liabilities and how to combat them. Call Daily Aljian, LLP at 949-861-2524.