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Employee represents herself? Take lawsuit seriously, anyway

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who lose their jobs these days often have a tough time finding new positions. That’s leading to more discharge lawsuits, simply be­­cause former employees have so few options. Many of those lawsuits are filed pro se, or directly by the employee herself.

No matter how flimsy such a case seems, never ignore it. Instead, proceed as you would with any other case.

Also, expect the court to give the former employee great leeway since she doesn’t have (and often can’t find) an attorney.

Recent case: When Ngozi Umelo lost her job, she filed a pro se lawsuit, alleging discrimination. Her rambling complaint mentioned parking problems and not receiving paid sick days. Her former employer asked for the case to be dismissed. Instead, the court said Umelo could try again and explained that she needed more facts this time. (Umelo v. RHA Healthcare, No. 5:11-CV-440, ED NC, 2011)

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