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If EEOC shuns case, worker isn’t entitled to free lawyer

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Here’s a bit of good news for employers facing an angry former employee who wants to sue but can’t find an attorney willing to take the case. Courts are unlikely to appoint an attorney to help with the litigation if the EEOC has already concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant taking up the case itself.

Recent case: Brenda Henderson was fired from her retail job because she made announcements over the loudspeaker that were deemed to be unprofessional and demeaning to fellow employees.

She filed an EEOC complaint, but the agency declined to pursue her case and told her she would have to either get an attorney or represent herself. Henderson filed her own lawsuit and then asked the court to pay for a court-appointed lawyer.

The court refused, based largely on the EEOC decision. (Henderson v. Wal-Mart, No. 10-0317, SD TX, 2010)

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