how to tell your employer that you’re bringing in a lawyer

If you’ve tried to resolve a labor law violation with your employer without success and are at the point where you’re bringing a lawyer to help advocate for you, you might wonder how to tell your employer that.

Do you say nothing and let them be blindsided when the lawyer contacts them? You could do it that way.

But if you’re hoping to minimize tension and preserve the relationship as much as possible, often it will make sense to give your employer some context for your decision to involve an attorney.

To use a specific example, someone in last week’s open thread wrote that her employer is flatly denying her medical accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I suggested using wording like this:

“I’m very sure the law does require this accommodation but my sense is that it won’t be helpful for me to continue pushing that on my own. Given that, I’m going to ask a lawyer to get in touch with you about this, so that someone other than me is able to speak with you about it and hopefully reach a solution.”

Commenter JSPA also suggested this wording, which is excellent:

“This isn’t working, I’m out of ideas, nothing we’ve tried has worked, so we need someone to help us generate more ideas, and find a workable solution. A friend suggested that a disability lawyer would have much more experience than either of us, have a lot of practical experience as far as what works and what doesn’t, and as a bonus, they’d presumably know what the law requires.”

And commenter Ginevra Farnshawe added the very good suggestion to speak with a lawyer before you say any of this, since you don’t want them to lawyer up before you do and a lawyer will be able to advise you on the right wording to use in your situation.

how to tell your employer that you’re bringing in a lawyer was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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