Some employees do a little Googling and think they are qualified to extract big settlements or severance packages from their employers without hiring an employment lawyer. Can it be done? Honestly, no, not really. Should it be attempted? Absolutely not. An employment lawyer is a specialist in handling employment law matters, just as a cardiac surgeon is a specialist in performing heart surgery. You wouldn’t perform heart surgery on yourself, would you?
This point is driven home by a recent decision of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. On May 1, 2012, the Appellate Division affirmed a lower court decision concluding that the plaintiff-employee failed to state a cognizable claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and the Conscientious Employment Protection Act (CEPA), and had not established a cause of action for either LAD or CEPA. The employee represented himself in the case. The appellate court agreed with the trial court’s decision that the employee had not stated his claims correctly, nor provided enough evidence to sustain them.
If you believe you have a valid claim against your employer, seek the guidance and counsel of a lawyer who specializes in employment law matters. The employee mentioned above made simple mistakes which caused him to lose his case. Hiring an employment lawyer, while not guaranteeing him victory, would have at least given him a fighting chance.