The dismissed employee’s handbook

Four tips published in my Metro workplace law article from this week that should ensure an appropriate severance package, or more.
Always negotiate
Companies realize that most people will just take what they are offered, happy to get anything at all. So they deliberately offer less than they are ultimately prepared to pay. There is usually some flexibility in the figures – so ask for more.
Since the majority of lawsuits settle well before trial, the key for dismissed employees is to appreciate when they have great facts on their side — and also when they don’t. As the costs associated with litigation act as a deterrent for employees, employers understand that most will accept a reduced settlement at the outset rather than waiting for more. However, if you have a good case, you can expect that many of your legal costs will be recovered – so be patient or be prepared to take a discount.
Select your lawyer wisely
The guidance of experienced counsel is imperative to ensure your case is properly advanced and persuasively argued and that critical mistakes are avoided. A lawyer’s Google rankings have nothing do with his or her legal skill. Similarly, there are no rules limiting lawyers without much experience in employment law from professing that they practise it, on their websites and in the media — and they often do. Avoid legal practitioners who brandish promises of extraordinary results. In law as in life, if something is too good to be true, it is often is. Also avoid lawyers, or paralegals, who merely dabble in employment law, since they may not keep abreast of the recent developments — and worse, employers’ counsel often knows who they are.
Understand an employer’s apprehensions
They have skeletons in their closets as well. In one of my cases, we are arguing that an employer’s standard form employment contract is illegal. The cost to the company of paying this claim is irrelevant. If it loses, all of its contracts will be void.
Daniel A. Lublin is an employment lawyer with Whitten & Lublin LLP, which provides practical legal advice and advocacy for workplace issues.