Employment disputes are serious matters requiring hard work by lawyers and clients alike. Employees who pursue employment cases need to be prepared—thoroughly prepared. The preparation starts well before filing of the lawsuit and even before hiring a lawyer. The first step is to pull together pertinent records and making preliminary case charts.
The following is a list of records which, if they exist, should be compiled:
- Payroll statements/paystubs, including the most recent one;
- Employee handbook or manual;
- Employment contract;
- Arbitration agreement;
- Non-compete agreement
- Job offer letter;
- Employee's resume;
- Employee's job application;
- Copy of employees personnel file;
- Copies of disciplinary records/write-ups and favorable reports;
- Copies of contemporaneously prepared records concerning the wrongful conduct (such as emails, letters, faxes, notes, diary entries, calendar entries, etc.);
- Copies of photographs concerning the wrongful conduct;
- Copies of audio recordings concerning the wrongful conduct;
- Copies of work schedules; and
- Any other document/record concerning the wrongful conduct.
In addition, it is helps to create charts of certain key information, such as:
- Chronology—Prepare a two-column chart stating what happened and when. The first column stating the date(s) and the second column stating a brief description of the key event(s); and
- Players List—Prepare a three-column chart for everyone involved. The first column stating the names, job titles, and contact information. The second column providing a description of the person's involvement/role. And the third column stating whether the person will be a favorable or unfavorable witness. Don't forget to include witnesses with knowledge about the harms suffered as a result of the wrongful conduct.
Clients who take the time to prepare before their first meeting with an employment lawyer show that they are serious about their cases and that they are ready to work hard to ensure that justice is done.