Settlement vs. Litigation in Discrimination Cases | Justice At Work

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Settlement vs. Litigation in Discrimination Cases: Weighing Your Legal Options

Settlement vs. Litigation in Discrimination Cases: Weighing Your Legal Options

How is Human Resources Supposed to Handle Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can be debilitating – affecting your mental health and well-being. In some cases, it can even negatively impact your career trajectory. Discrimination in the workplace is also illegal, and you have options to defend yourself if it has happened to you. For more information, contact the discrimination lawyers at Barrett & Farahany. We can help you negotiate a settlement or litigate the case in court.

Both settlement and litigation are effective ways to address discrimination in the workplace. But the right option for you will depend on your situation and what you’re most comfortable with. Here are the key differences between litigation and settlement to help you make this difficult decision.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination happens when an employee is treated unfairly at work due to a personal characteristic they cannot control, such as:

Several laws protect against discrimination in the workplace in the United States, and they are overseen by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers cannot legally retaliate against an employee for reporting discrimination or participating in an investigation.

Settlement vs. Litigation: What’s the Difference?

When an employer accused of discrimination reaches an agreement with the employee before the case goes to court, it is known as a settlement. A settlement agreement usually involves a financial payment as compensation.

With litigation, the conflict is not resolved through an out-of-court agreement and is taken to court. With both processes, the plaintiff should seek guidance from an employment discrimination attorney.

Pros of Settlement

Here are some advantages of settling a discrimination case out of court.

1. Quick and Low-Stress

In our experience, most employers and employees prefer to settle discrimination cases out of court instead of going to trial. This is because settlement negotiations are usually faster and less stressful than litigation. Presenting evidence before a jury and/or a judge can be far more intimidating than negotiating a settlement with a party you know.

2. Fewer Legal Fees

Since settlements happen faster and are less complex than litigation, they usually require fewer legal fees for both parties. Many employers will offer more money than originally proposed in a settlement offer to avoid the expensive costs of going to trial.

3. Confidentiality

Another benefit of the settlement process is that it can be kept private. Many discrimination victims prefer to keep the details of their cases out of the spotlight so they can move on without ongoing scrutiny.

Cons of Settlement

While settling has many benefits, there are also some downsides in certain situations. Your discrimination lawyers can help you weigh these negative aspects and determine whether a settlement will be right for you.

1. Non-Disclosure Agreement

The biggest downside is that many companies will require a non-disclosure agreement to get a fair settlement. This means you will not be able to discuss the details of your case with anyone.

2. No Admission of Guilt

There’s also no admission of guilt in a settlement. If you are looking to publicize your case or seek justice from your former employer, settling may not be the best option.

Pros of Litigation

While litigation is more time-consuming and expensive than a settlement, it does come with some added benefits.

1. Sense of Justice

Many people feel a stronger sense of justice when a case is decided in court rather than receiving a settlement from the other party. Having a third party involved helps the case feel fully resolved and validates the plaintiff’s experience.

2. Public Record

Litigation also means the case will be public record and set a precedent for similar cases in the future. Some clients prefer this because it can help prevent others from experiencing discrimination in the future.

3. Potential for Higher Payout

If you have a particularly strong case, a discrimination lawyer could help you get a higher payout with the litigation process. The results of litigation are decided by a judge or jury, and there’s no negotiation directly with the defendant.

Cons of Litigation

There are also some important downsides of litigation to be aware of.

1. Time-Consuming

The biggest downside of litigation is how time-consuming it can be. It may take months to receive a verdict, and there’s no guarantee that you will win. If the investigation doesn’t conclude in your favor, you can launch an appeal, but this will draw out the process even further.

2. Added Costs

The legal process can also be very expensive, which means that it may not be feasible in all cases. An employment discrimination attorney will help you make an informed decision before pursuing litigation.

The Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Settlement and Litigation

1. Strength of the Case

Evaluate the strength and availability of evidence. Strong, clear evidence of discrimination can support taking the case to court. Also, consider the number and reliability of witnesses who can support your claims.

2. Financial Considerations

Legal costs are one of the biggest considerations. A lengthy litigation process can be very expensive but could be worthwhile if your employment discrimination attorney believes you’re entitled to a large payout.

Consider the potential settlement amount you might win in court and then weigh the cost of prolonged litigation against the immediate financial relief of a settlement.

3. Time and Stress

You’ll also want to consider how a trial would fit into your current routine. If you’re currently juggling other responsibilities, going to trial could be too time-consuming and stressful. On top of that, you’ll want to consider how a public court case could affect your future career.

Let Barrett & Farahany Handle Your Discrimination Case

Whether you opt to settle or go to trial, you need an experienced employment discrimination lawyer on your side. Navigate the complexities of discrimination in the workplace with Barrett & Farahany, the largest and oldest in the Southeast dedicated exclusively to employee rights, with a national reputation of excellence.

Our discrimination lawyers will assess your situation and help you choose the best course of action. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.

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Barrett & Farahany

Georgia Office

3344 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30326

Alabama Office

2 20th St N, Suite 900,
Birmingham, AL 35203

Illinois Office

77 W. Wacker Dr. Suite 4500
Chicago, IL 60601


Existing Clients: 866-989-0120