Before you jump for joy when an employee acts as her own lawyer in a federal lawsuit, consider this: Courts give pro se litigants lots of leeway, as this case shows.
Recent case: Madeline filed a federal discrimination lawsuit based on alleged bias against her “learning delay disorder.” She didn’t provide many details so the court told her to come up with a new complaint. It was worse than the original complaint, never mentioning federal laws and instead citing California public policy. The court then provided a step-by-step guide, so Madeline’s case has new life. (Savage v. Hyatt, No. 2:12-CV-2872, ED CA, 2013)
Final note: Sometimes, the best approach is to encourage the employee to find a lawyer. The second best approach may be to offer a modest settlement before you rack up thousands in legal fees.
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