1. What kind of cases do you handle?
We handle employment cases on behalf of employees, most of whom are or were employed in and around the Detroit metropolitan area. We have handled cases against large and small employers, against private companies as well as public employers, and on behalf of individuals and groups of employees in many different lines of work. We have also represented individuals in non-employment related civil rights matters, such as discrimination in public accommodations and equal rights violations.
2. I was terminated by my employer for no good reason. Can I sue for wrongful discharge?
If you are a non-union employee in Michigan, with no written employment contract, your employment is most likely “at-will.” This means that your employer does not have to have a good reason, or any reason, to terminate you. This also means that even if you have been treated unfairly by your employer, you may not necessarily have been treated illegally. In order to have a lawsuit for wrongful termination, the employer’s action in terminating you must violate state or federal law. Illegal reasons for terminating employees fall into a very limited number of categories, and if your situation does not fall within one of these categories, you will not have a case. When you call us for an initial phone consultation, you should be ready to discuss what you believe the employer’s motives were in terminating you so that we can assess whether or not legal action might be warranted.
3. I am being harassed on the job. Can I bring a lawsuit?
Whether on-the-job harassment is illegal depends on the underlying motive(s) for the harassment. Illegal reasons for harassing an employee fall into a very limited number of categories, and if your situation does not fall within one of these categories, you will not have a case. When you call us for an initial phone consultation, you should be ready to discuss why you believe you are being targeted with harassing behavior (in addition to how you have been harassed), so that we can assess whether or not legal action might be warranted.
4. How do I make an appointment to speak with an attorney about my situation?
We do not set up face-to-face appointments until after you have had an initial phone consultation with an attorney from our office. During this initial consultation, we will ask questions to determine if there might be a potential case that we can handle for you. If there is, we will then set up a meeting and continue our evaluation of your case. Most callers do not end up meeting with us in person because we are able to determine over the phone that there is no basis for a legal claim.
5. How do I become a client?
During our initial phone consultation, we will advise you either that we cannot assist you with your matter, or that we would like to further evaluate the possibility of representing you. Before setting up an appointment, we often ask for and review documents supporting your potential case. At our initial face-to-face meeting, we will discuss the facts of your case in depth, and often we will ask you to obtain further information so that we can complete our legal analysis of your claim. You do not become a “client” until we have agreed to represent you and you have signed a retainer agreement with us.
6. Is the information I provide to your office kept confidential, whether or not I become a client?
The attorney-client privilege applies to both clients and to individuals seeking legal representation.
7. Is there a charge for my initial consultation?
Generally, we do not charge for your initial phone consultation, and if we are evaluating a case for possible litigation, we do not typically charge for our initial face-to-face meeting. From time to time we will meet with individuals for consultations on a pre-arranged, hourly basis, at an hourly rate. (Usually these hourly consultations relate to situations where litigation is not necessarily contemplated).
8. Are there any time limits I need to be concerned about?
Legal actions are subject to statutes of limitations which limit the amount of time you have to file a case. These statutes of limitation will vary, depending upon the type of claim you are alleging. Some of them are very short. You will lose your rights if you do not act within these time periods. In addition, it is possible you have signed an “agreement” with your employer which shortens the normally applicable time limits for pursuing a legal claim.
It is very important that you do not delay in finding out what time limits may apply to your claims, and what you need to do to preserve your legal rights. If you are already aware of a possible statute of limitations, do not wait until it has almost run before contacting us. Evaluating a potential case can be a time-consuming process, especially while managing a busy caseload. Keep in mind that you alone are responsible for any applicable time limits unless and until you have retained an attorney to represent you. For more information , please see our section on Information on Time Limits.
9. Can I send you my paperwork before speaking with you?
We prefer that you do not send, fax, or e-mail any paperwork until after an attorney from our office has spoken to you over the phone and has requested that you do so.
10. What can I do to help with the evaluation process?
During our initial phone consultation, we may tell you that we would be interested in further evaluating the possibility of representing you. At that point we typically ask you to obtain a copy of your personnel file from the company (see our home page for more information on how to obtain your file), and to provide us with your employee manual, any other relevant policies, and copies of any documentation (correspondence, e-mails, notes, etc.) you may have which relates to your situation. It is often helpful for a potential client to provide us with a brief, written overview of what has happened to them in time-line form. We suggest that you make and submit photocopies of all the records you provide to our office.
11. Do I have a right to see my personnel records?
Michigan workers have access to their personnel records under the Bullard-Plawecki Employee-Right-to-Know Act. For information about what should be included in your file, and how to request it from your employer, click here.