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ARTICLES:

What is a worthwhile
employment law case?

“Worthwhile” circumstances are as varied as they can be. Anybody might have a worthwhile case. I have written an article describing some of the Things that I especially like to see in cases. In that article, I list just some of the aspects that help make cases worthwhile in my opinion. But there are many, many more worthwhile circumstances than I have time to write about. Any case can turn out to be worthwhile, despite what it seems in the earliest stages. You and your lawyer will make the decision together, after reviewing your particular situation.

Any potential case could be worthwhile depending on the circumstances. If you are realistic about your chances, and willing to be reasonable if a settlement opportunity arises, and you have a good faith claim to make, and you have the financial resources required under the circumstances, then you may have a worthwhile case from a lawyer’s perspective. But if your goal is to win a million dollars, and you have a weak case, and you don’t have any money to prosecute the case, then you might not have a worthwhile case from the perspective of a lawyer. Everything is case-by-case.

You can prosecute some types of cases all by yourself, such as Small Claims Court cases arising from Wage problems or Unpaid Vacation and Sick Pay (but if you have been denied Overtime pay then please consider calling a lawyer). You can make charges of Employment Discrimination to the EEOC or MCHR all by yourself. I also have some info on “pro se” filing of lawsuits, which means you are filing a lawsuit without having a lawyer. So even if a lawyer won’t help you, you can still do a lot to try to get some justice.

Most of the time cases are on the edge, in the sense that it’s not clear one way or the other whether it’s worthwhile to proceed. These are difficult and important decisions. You may think your case is worthwhile, but after obtaining legal advice you may change your mind. You may have the resources to fight but maybe the chances are too slim even though you have a good faith claim to make. You may have a very strong case, but can’t win much damages, so you may decide it’s not worth it to trigger the legal system. The variables are innumerable.

Many people think they should not prosecute their claims because they want to make it more likely that they’ll get a good reference. But it’s often illegal for the employer to give bad references (see Resume Problems and Defamation) just because an employee made a claim against them – it’s a form of
Retaliation.

In summary, the decision as to whether a “case” is worthwhile is quite difficult to make. You and your lawyer will work together to make the decision that seems best for you under the circumstances.

See also my separate article Should I sue?, which gives you an overview of the steps that lawyers will probably follow in helping you decide what to do about your situation. There’s usually an awful lot to consider and talk about.

Can I tell whether or not I have a worthwhile case by reading the info on this website?

You might learn enough to cause you to suspect that your rights may have been violated, and cause you to take some steps to protect your rights. But that’s different from determining whether you ultimately have a worthwhile case to be prosecuted in court.

You will probably not be able to determine whether you have a worthwhile case to be filed in court, unless you talk to a lawyer. Some people will be able to accurately predict that a lawyer will see certain strengths in their cases, based on the things they learn on the web. Some people will be able to accurately predict that a lawyer will see some weaknesses in their cases, based on the things they learn on the web. But every case has its strengths and weaknesses, and whether you actually have a worthwhile case is a complicated and difficult decision for you and your lawyer to make together.

The law is so complex that it’s quite difficult for laymen to tell whether they do or do not have a worthwhile case. Lawyers carry around in their heads many times more info than appears on this website, and they can often tell after a few minutes of conversation whether you have a worthwhile case (from the lawyer’s perspective), but no amount of studying of websites will give you that kind of ability – you need a legal education and some experience.

You might read some legal material on the web and say “Yes, that happened to me, I’ve got a good case!” But then when you talk to a lawyer, the lawyer will bring up lots of other considerations that you didn’t think of. The lawyer might rain on your parade.

Don’t let the web be a substitute for talking to a lawyer. For example, even if it appears that you have Missed a Deadline, there are legal doctrines that can sometimes be invoked to save your case. However, not all potential cases are worth going to heroics to try to salvage.

CONCLUSION

Do not try to use this or any other website to make an ultimate decision about whether you have a worthwhile case. Instead, use the web to learn a little about the kinds of laws that might apply, and try to get a feel for how the legal system works, and consider contacting a lawyer and looking into the matter further.

See also my separate article Should I sue?, which gives you an overview of the steps that lawyers will probably follow in helping you decide what to do about your situation. There’s usually an awful lot to consider and talk about.

Article written by | Tim Willoughby


***** END OF ARTICLE *****

Timslaw.com Missouri Employment Law

Maintained by Attorney Phil Willoughby
Founded by Tim Willoughby, Esq. (1959-2013)

Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association. Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City. He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.

Missouri Bar Website (To view the directory of lawyers).

Phil Willoughby, Attorney
Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Kansas City Office:
GUNN, SHANK & STOVER, P.C.
9800 NW Polo, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64153
Google Map of 9800 NW Polo, Kansas City, MO 64053

St. Louis, MO Office:
Appointment Only

Phone:
St. Louis: 314-729-7750
Kansas City: 816-454-5600
Fax: 816-454-3678

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