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Employee acting as own attorney only gets some leeway

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Courts don’t want an employee to lose a legitimate discrimination case just because she couldn’t afford an attorney. That’s why courts often allow jury trials for cases in which an employee represents herself.

However, once a jury has heard the case, chances are that’s the end of the matter.

Recent case: Deborth Haziz alleged that the Federal Bureau of Prisons discriminated against her when it terminated her after she was injured at work. The trial judge let Haziz represent herself, and she got on the stand twice to testify.

She lost the case after the jury con­­cluded that she had not been a discrimination victim.

Haziz appealed, claiming she should have been allowed to testify a third time. But the 4th Circuit Court of Ap­­peals said she would not get another try. (Haziz v. Holder, et al., No. 09-2343, 4th Cir., 2011)

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