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Case dismissed? You may be able to recover attorneys’ fees

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

You probably know that in many cases where the employee wins a discrimination lawsuit, the employer has to pay the employee’s attorney.

Fortunately, the reverse may also be true—if you manage to win dismissal of a clearly frivolous claim.

Recent case: Donna Henke sued her former employer for disability and age discrimination under both federal and Minnesota laws. But she hadn’t mentioned any age claims in her initial EEOC complaint. Therefore, the court dismissed the age bias claims, while letting her disability claims go forward.

Her former employer asked for attorneys’ fees to compensate it for the work it took to get the age claim tossed out. The court said it would have been willing to order attorneys’ fees from Henke if all her claims had been dismissed. (Henke v. Allina Health, No. 09-2999, DC MN, 2010)

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