It is never pleasant to receive notice of a legal proceeding against you, and employers often wait until the last minute to deal with it, or do worse by trying to eliminate relevant evidence. Employers are reluctant to hire lawyers early because they believe it will be expensive and complicated. So, what should an employer do after it receives notice of a legal action? Do the three Ps: hire a Professional, Preserve evidence, and conduct a Preliminary Investigation.
Hire a Professional
Should an employer hire an attorney if it receives a lawsuit complaint or other notice of a claim? Absolutely, and right away (though, if an employer has applicable liability insurance, then it should place its insurer on notice of the claim and work with the appointed defense lawyer; this article focuses on self-insured employers and employers with high deductibles or self-insured retentions) . In California, corporate employers must hire lawyers to defend lawsuits, so there is no choice. Individuals who are employers (e.g., sole proprietorships) may defend themselves in court, but this strategy won’t likely end well. Many employers usually don’t know whether or what information is harmful or helpful and sometimes don’t know what information should be confidential. Your innocent phone call with the opposing attorney (without your lawyer) could result in unnecessary or inadvertent disclosure of harmful information to the other side. Hiring an experienced employment lawyer will reduce or eliminate these risks.
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