Common Questions You May Have
Deciding to pick up the phone and call a lawyer after you’ve lost your job, experience problems at work, or go through some other trauma is not easy and takes courage. Perhaps you have a negative impression of lawyers or the legal system, or you think it would be a waste of time to speak to an attorney. However, promptly contacting an attorney to understand your rights is very important – it may be the only way to make sure that your employment and civil rights are not lost, and to achieve the justice you deserve.
In the hope that you are not deterred from calling an attorney to understand your rights, below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive from prospective clients, and the answers that normally apply:
Will I be charged for a consultation with Filippatos PLLC?
No – the firm will not charge you for reaching out and consulting with us about your legal matter.
I can’t afford to pay an attorney by the hour – how will I afford to hire Filippatos PLLC to handle my case?
We appreciate that our clients often reach out at a time of financial difficulty. Fortunately, since we handle almost all our cases on a contingency basis, a client will normally not have to pay any legal fees out-of-pocket. Instead, our clients agree that the firm will receive a certain percentage of any monetary recovery we are able to achieve.
Will my decision to bring claims become a matter of public record?
Generally no – we are able to confidentially resolve most of the matters we handle before having to file a case in court, meaning the claims never become a matter of public record. While some cases ultimately must be filed in court, we will exercise the utmost discretion and work diligently to ensure that our clients’ interests and concerns are addressed.
Will I have to appear or testify in court if I decide to bring claims?
Most likely no – only a very small fraction of employment and civil rights cases go to trial; most are resolved before they reach the trial stage. Only in exceptional circumstances will a client ever need to appear in court or testify before trial.
I already spoke to an attorney and was told I don’t have a case– is it worth getting a second opinion?
Generally yes – believe it or not, lawyers are human and can sometimes misevaluate a case, such as by overlooking key facts or evidence, or by failing to ask you the right questions. Employment laws are complicated and full of nuances and exceptions; getting a second opinion about your case from an employment law expert is usually not a bad idea.
Can I bring claims against my employer even if I still work for them?
Yes you can – and while doing so may create a somewhat uncomfortable work atmosphere, we will help you navigate through this process and discuss all your options.
I am an “at-will” employee – can I still bring claims if I am fired?
Yes – employers are not allowed to make decisions motivated by unlawful reasons, irrespective of an employee’s “at-will” status.
I am an independent contractor – can I still bring legal claims against a company to which I provide services?
Yes – many employment laws protect independent contractors against unlawful treatment by companies they work for. You should consult with an employment lawyer to determine whether any of these laws may apply to you.
I have an employment contract – can I bring legal claims if my employer fails to renew my contract or demands that I agree to less favorable terms?
Yes – employers may be liable if they fail to renew an employee’s contract or demand new contract terms for unlawful reasons, such as in retaliation for complaining or being a whistleblower.
I agreed with my employer that they can pay me below the minimum wage and/or not pay me overtime – do I still have a right to claim lost wages?
Yes – employers are not allowed to violate the law merely because an employee agreed to be paid a certain way. To put it differently, agreements to break the law are usually not enforceable and do not trump the law.
I am an undocumented worker or am here on a temporary visa – do I still have employment rights?
Yes – employers must follow employment laws regardless of an employee’s immigration or visa status. In fact, many laws were created to protect vulnerable workers like undocumented workers from exploitation.
My job is based outside the U.S. – can I bring claims against my company in a U.S. court?
Depending on the facts of your case, yes. Many laws allow workers who perform their job outside the U.S. to file claims against their employer in a U.S. court.
My supervisor and I are in the same protected category – can I still have a claim against them for discrimination?
Yes – it is not uncommon for someone in a protected category to discriminate against others within that protected category, and the law recognizes and permits such claims.
I have a criminal record – do I still have employment rights?
Yes – with a few exceptions, most employment laws apply to people with criminal records, and, in most cases, it is against the law for an employer to not hire you because of your criminal record.
I am being harassed at work by a customer, client, vendor or some other non-employee third party – do I have any legal recourse against my employer?
Yes – generally, an employer may be liable for unlawful conduct perpetrated by a third party, particularly if they are on notice but fail to stop the behavior.
I no longer have access to my work emails which contain evidence to support my claims – do I still have a shot at winning my case?
Yes – employers are generally required to preserve and not delete any relevant material, such as emails, once they are put on notice of a legal claim, and must ultimately turn over this material during litigation.
I already filed a case in court pro se – could a lawyer still take on my case?
Yes – attorneys often agree to take over pro se cases, particularly if favorable evidence is uncovered in litigation. Employment cases are complicated and time consuming, so it is almost always advisable to have an experienced employment lawyer handle your case.
If you would like further elaboration on or to discuss any of these questions, please reach out to us.
* Nothing herein shall or is meant to constitute legal advice. Contact a qualified attorney if you have a legal question.