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Ask court to limit claims when employee acts as his or her own lawyer

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Good news for employers that are sued by pro se litigants—employees who act as their own lawyers. Courts really don’t want to waste time on cases that no attorney has seen fit to take on. However, they also don’t want to let lack of legal representation sink an otherwise solid claim.

The solution is for the court to conduct a preliminary assessment of whether the claim has merit or is frivolous or malicious.

Recent case: When Hayder was fired, he filed his own lawsuit against his former employer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and a host of other individuals, including supervisors and co-workers in his former department.

Hayder claimed that he had been hired as a probationary employee and then denied a permanent job because of discrimination and retaliation for complaining.

He also claimed that co-workers and supervisors harassed him because he was of Iraqi national origin. For example, Hayder alleged that his supervisor called him an “Iraqi insurgent or mercenary” and allegedly threatened to kill him if he complained. He made various other allegations against co-workers and supervisors, essentially arguing that they conspired to get rid of him by concocting false allegations of unsafe driving and other infractions.

The court quickly dismissed the charges against the individual supervisors and co-workers because they aren’t personally liable under Title VII. His other claims move to the next stage. (Abduljabbar v. MDOT, et al., No. 14-3583, DC MN, 2014)

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