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Court refuses to help pro se litigant after EEOC, attorneys reject her case

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in Firing,Human Resources

Here’s some good news for em­ployers frustrated with former employees who file groundless discrimination lawsuits. Judges are increasingly unwilling to bend over backward to enable lawsuits that look like sure losers by assigning court-appointed attorneys.

If employers win an EEOC dismissal and the former employee can’t find an attorney to take her case on a contingency basis, chances are the court will toss the claim out. And the court certainly won’t assign a free attorney, instead forcing plaintiffs to represent themselves.

Recent case: Christianah, who is black and of Nigerian national origin, was fired from her nursing job. She filed an EEOC complaint alleging that her supervisor, who is from Sierra Leone, was biased against Nigerians and wanted Christianah fired.

The EEOC dismissed the complaint. Christianah tried to hire an attorney but could not find one willing to take her case. She then filed her own federal lawsuit, asking the court to assign her a free attorney.

The court refused, concluding that the EEOC dismissal and her inability to find an attorney showed Christianah’s case was weak at best. She must continue representing herself. Chances are, her case will fold. (Adefila v. Select Specialty Hospital, No. 1:13-CV-68, MD NC, 2013)

Final note: Don’t take this case as an excuse to ignore a case in which an employee acts as her own lawyer. Always pass on any legal documents you receive and have your attorneys handle the matter.

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