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Communication: It’s One of the Essentials, Not Only in Personal Relationships, But in Good Attorney-Client Relationships, Too

Like many personal relationships, the best attorney-clients relationships are based on trust and communication. If you’re not being honest with your attorney or not communicating with your attorney, it could lead to problems that will harm your case. That’s why it is important to recognize that your employment discrimination or harassment case requires, not just a skilled New Jersey employment attorney, but the right attorney with whom you can forge a strong relationship in order to get the best outcome for you.

A recent case from Union County is an unfortunate example. L.A., the employee, was a worker at a health insurance entity’s office. In 2017, she sued her employer for discrimination and sexual harassment. Attorneys for the employer and employee discussed possibly settling the case in late 2018, with employer initially offering $25,000. L.A.’s position started at $95,000 but she eventually lowered that to $90,000.

L.A. and her legal team communicated on Oct. 31. As the employer increased its offers, L.A.’s legal team reached out on Nov.2, Nov. 3, Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, with each message expressing an increasing degree of urgency that the client contact the law office immediately. L.A. didn’t respond to any of those November messages, and that created a problem, as the judge was on the verge of entering a ruling.

Eventually, the employer offered $90,000 and L.A.’s attorney accepted the offer. The employee tried to get that settlement thrown out and her case revived, arguing that the settlement agreement was not enforceable. She acknowledged at a hearing that she had explicitly OK’ed the $90,000 amount, but claimed that her attorney was only authorized to negotiate a settlement, not accept a settlement. The court, however, found L.A. to be less than credible and ruled against her effort to revive the case.

How knowledge about the ‘value’ of your case can help you

In order for your attorney to get you the best possible outcome in your discrimination or sexual harassment case, you need to assess what you want from the attorney-client relationship and what you want from your case. For example, do you want to consider a negotiated settlement, or do you absolutely want your day in court?

If you are one of those clients who is open to settling your case, then there is another piece of information that is essential – which is determining what your case is “worth.” That is one area where an experienced attorney can help a lot, as he/she can use his/her years of handling previous cases to give you an educated assessment of what cases with facts like yours have received in settlements and judgment in the past. Being armed with this kind of quality information is vital in helping you avoid pitfalls like accepting a lowball settlement offer from your employer (or making a settlement offer to your employer that is too low,) or rejecting a genuinely fair offer from the other side.

The skilled New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to give you exactly that sort of personal, reliable representation. Our attorneys offer many years of experience in successfully litigating and settling discrimination cases. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss how we can best use the power of this office to work for you.

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