Sometimes, when an employee files a frivolous suit, it’s tempting to seek payback. If you succeed in getting the litigation dismissed, why not insist the losing employee pay attorneys’ fees and court costs? After all, he just cost you unnecessary time and money.
The law allows employers that win to recover those kinds of fees if the case meets strict requirements. But even in seemingly egregious cases, courts generally hesitate to make employees pay. Before you throw good money after bad, consider whether you want your attorneys to spend even more time trying to get the employee to cough up.
Recent case: This case seemed like a slam-dunk. The Riverside Township School District had caught employee Charles Weisberg in what seemed like a bald-faced lie when he sued for disability discrimination. Weisberg sued after a wooden speaker cabinet fell on his head and caused what he alleged was “post-concussion syndrome.” Weisberg asked for accommodations, including being excused from chaperoning school events because he said the concussion made the noise intolerable.
School officials set out to learn whether Weisberg was truthful about his symptoms, which included severe fatigue and noise aversion. Imagine their surprise one Monday night when they trailed him to the Meadowlands—where he tailgated and attended a New York Giants football game before returning home well after midnight.
The school district’s attorneys asked Weisberg what he had done that Monday evening. Weisberg said he had watched the game at home. When confronted with the truth, he blamed neurological injuries for his faulty recollection. He said he sometimes experienced “false memories”—such as thinking he had watched the game on TV.
The trial court threw out Weisberg’s case. Then the school district asked for costs and attorneys’ fees. It argued Weisberg had brought the case in bad faith. But both the trial court and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals refused to award the fees. Both courts said there was enough dispute over whether Weisberg had memory problems to put his bad faith in question. The employer collected nothing. (Weisberg v. Riverside Township Board of Education, No. 06-4190, 3rd Cir., 2008)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/4423/congrats-on-winning-do-you-really-want-attorneys-fees "
- Fired for Cubicle Exorcism: Is That Religious Bias?
- ADA: You can deny jobs that threaten workers' own safety, health
- EEOC lawsuits are down, but is that good news?
- How you can be sued for bias even if you don't discriminate
- Can we recover the cost of a former employee's laptop by withholding from his final paycheck?