How to File a Lawsuit Against My Employer (2023)

If you want to find out, “How do I file a lawsuit against my employer?” Morgan & Morgan can help. Cases our employment lawyers handle include, among others:

  • Workplace harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Wage theft
  • Wrongful termination
  • Workplace injury

As an employee, you have various rights and protections under federal and state laws. Unfortunately, some unethical corporations and employers try to deny workers their legal rights, pay, and benefits. However, you do not have to put up with this and could recover compensation.

Morgan & Morgan is here to help America’s workers. Our committed labor lawyers can fight for your best interests and hold employers accountable.

Common Lawsuits Filed Against Employers

There can be many different instances where employees could have a case against their employer. Some examples of common employment litigation include:

Discrimination and Harassment

Employees are protected from discrimination and harassment at work by several federal and state laws, such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and theAmericans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In general, employers must not discriminate against workers based on their:

  • Age
  • Color
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Genetic information

Examples of unlawful discrimination can include denial of a promotion or raise, wrongful termination, harassment, refusing benefits that other employees receive, and others. Retaliation by an employer for filing a complaint or assisting with another employee’s claim is also unlawful.

(Video) Before You File A Case Against Your Employer...

Discrimination at work is upsetting and frustrating for victims and can have a devastating impact on their careers, income, and family lives. If you were discriminated against at your workplace, you could potentially sue your employer and receive compensation.

Workplace-Related Injury

Generally, you cannot sue your employer for a workplace-related injury if they have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees covered by workers’ comp waive their right to file a lawsuit in most circumstances. However, there are two notable exceptions to this rule:

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Unavailable

Some employers fail to pay for workers’ compensation insurance despite it being a mandatory requirement in all states except Texas. If you get hurt at work and are unable to claim workers’ compensation benefits, you could file a personal injury lawsuit and receive damages for your work injuries. You could also sue if your employer hinders your workers’ compensation claim, for example, by withholding evidence or maliciously delaying your claim.

An Employer’s Actions Were Egregious or Malicious

If you suffered an injury due to your employer or manager’s intentional actions, you could hold them liable and pursue compensation. Likewise, if an employer willingly put you in a situation where an injury was inevitable, you could also have grounds for filing a lawsuit against them.

Importantly, with a personal injury lawsuit, you could claim damages that are unavailable with workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering, loss of life quality, and other so-called non-economic damages.

(Video) HOW TO SUE A COMPANY OR AN INDIVIDUAL? Watch this before you file a lawsuit.⚖️

Wage and Hour Violations

Some employers cheat workers out of their pay and benefits. Shockingly, some of America’s largest corporations, such as Walmart, Tyson Foods, UPS, and others, have found themselves defending lawsuits alleging wage theft, off-the-clock work, and other violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some of the most common wage and hour violation lawsuits against employers include:

Off-the-Clock Work

Working off the clock is not only unpaid labor, but the time is also not contributing to overtime. Common types of off-the-clock work can include:

  • Assisting coworkers after the end of your shift
  • Warming up and loading a truck
  • Stocking shelves before your workday starts
  • Checking emails or answering work phone calls at home
  • Cleaning up your workspace after your shift

Failure to Pay Overtime

According to the FLSA, employees working over 40 hours per week must be paid overtime at one and a half times their normal hourly pay. If your employer underpays you for your overtime hours or fails to pay you at all for working extra hours, you could sue and recover up to three years of unpaid overtime.

Misclassifying Employees

Employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors to save on benefits and payroll taxes. However, this is a violation of wage and hour laws. Being misclassified denies employees their benefits and protections such as workers’ compensation. If an employer misclassified you, you could sue them and receive damages.

Illegal Wage Deductions

(Video) How to Sue Your Employer

Employers should generally not deduct any amounts from paychecks except for taxes, health insurance benefits, and court-ordered garnishments. However, deductions for an employer’s overheads, and others, can be illegal depending on state and federal laws.

Since there can be numerous other wage and hour violations that could allow you to sue your employer, consider seeking legal advice. Our experienced employment lawyers know the labor laws and can determine whether you have a case against an employer.

Before Considering Litigation

Before filing legal action against your employer, consider taking the following steps, depending on your circumstances:

  1. Talk to your employer or HR department to try and resolve the issue internally.
  2. Identify the state agency dealing with your type of dispute.
  3. File a complaint with the responsible agency, such as your local Department of Labor (DOL) office or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  4. Gather evidence for your claim.
  5. Contact an employment lawyer to determine your legal options.

How to File a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

Going it alone against an employer can be stressful and frustrating. However, with a determined attorney in your corner, you can rest assured that your best interests and legal rights are protected.

Finding and Hiring a Great Employment Attorney

Handling a lawsuit against your employer can be exhausting and time-consuming. Moreover, if your employer is a large or perhaps even global corporation, they might have unlimited resources and teams of lawyers on retainer ready to fight lawsuits.

Finding a seasoned employment lawyer can be critical for the outcome of your case. Some of the best ways to find a lawyer include:

  • Asking friends and coworkers for referrals
  • Searching online for employment lawyers near you
  • Scheduling free consultations with prospective lawyers

How Morgan & Morgan Can Help Sue Your Employer

Our tenacious employment attorneys can help you with all aspects of your case, including:

(Video) Suing Your Employer? You Just Need One Good Claim

Explain Your Legal Rights

Knowing your employment rights is crucial for making informed decisions. Our attorneys can explain your rights and clarify your options for getting justice, which could include negotiation, mediation, and litigation. We can fully explain all the advantages and disadvantages of your options and determine your next best steps to get justice.

File a Complaint

In most employment disputes, employees must first file a claim with a government agency, such as the EEOC, before being allowed to file an individual lawsuit. Our employment lawyers can direct you to the appropriate agency and help you file a claim.

Fight a Lawsuit on Your Behalf

Morgan & Morgan’s employment lawyers can assist you with litigation against an employer or former employer. We represent employees in a variety of lawsuits, such as discrimination, wage and hour claims, wrongful termination, and others. Some of the tasks your lawyer will work on can include:

  • Gathering evidence to prove your case
  • Calculating your damages accurately
  • Negotiating a fair settlement
  • Fighting vigorously for what you deserve at trial

Get in Touch With Us Today for Help and Advice

(Video) How to File A lawsuit against your employer PACT

We want to help workers assert their legal rights and get what they deserve. If you are mistreated at work, unable to receive the workers’ comp benefits, or experience wage and hour violations, Morgan & Morgan is here for you. When we take your case, you have access to an army of experienced attorneys and legal team members ready to fight on your behalf. The fee is free unless and until we win. If you need legal advice regarding your specific employment situation, contact us now for a free case review.


What is an example of unfair treatment at work? ›

Here are just a few examples of unfair treatment at work:

Demoting, transferring, or dismissing an employee without a fair, disciplinary process. Paying women lower wages for doing the same job, because of their sex. Firing or laying off older workers so the company can hire younger, cheaper workers to do their jobs.

How do you document unfair treatment at work? ›

You should document anything and everything related to you being harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against—emails, Slack conversations, voicemails, texts, social media posts, internal memos—and the dates and times that they occurred. If there were any witnesses to the event, write down their names as well.

What is an example of an adverse employment action? ›

The following are examples of adverse actions employers might take: discharging the worker; demoting the worker; reprimanding the worker; committing harassment; creating a hostile work environment; laying the worker off; failing to hire or promote a worker; blacklisting the worker; transferring the worker to another ...

How do you win an employment discrimination lawsuit? ›

Here are some tips for winning your discrimination lawsuit:
  1. Talk to the Offender Before You Move Forward with the Case. If you go straight to a lawyer with your case, this will probably backfire once it goes to court. ...
  2. File a Formal Complaint with Your Company. ...
  3. File an Administrative Charge. ...
  4. Hire a Lawyer.
Feb 27, 2023

What are 4 examples of unfair discrimination? ›

Unfair discrimination: is dealt with under the Employment Equity Act. Examples of this are – race, gender, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age and disability, etc. Discrimination can be direct or indirect. These disputes go to the Labour Court and the Employment Equity Act applies.

What are the civil rights violations in the workplace? ›

You cannot be denied employment, harassed, demoted, terminated, paid less, or treated less favorably because of your race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

How to write a strongly worded letter of complaint to employer? ›

Basic rules
  1. keep your letter to the point. You need to give enough detail for your employer to be able to investigate your complaint properly. ...
  2. keep to the facts. ...
  3. never use abusive or offensive language. ...
  4. explain how you felt about the behaviour you are complaining about but don't use emotive language.

How do you start a letter to HR about unfair treatment? ›

Be direct in your request for a response or action to resolve unfair treatment. Example: I trust that the company will take my complaint seriously and look into this matter promptly. This situation is affecting my self-esteem and ability to concentrate at work.

What is inhumane treatment at work? ›

Unfair treatment in the workplace examples

Overlooking someone for a promotion for no good reason. Making offensive comments, emails, or social media posts to or about someone. Excusing such comments in the name of 'banter'. Making someone's life difficult with unfair criticism and menial tasks.

What is retaliatory behavior? ›

Retaliatory actions are broadly defined to harassing behavior, significant changes to job duties or working conditions, and even threats to take personnel actions.

What is considered a negative employment action? ›

California law states that an adverse employment action is anything the employer does that “materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions or privileges” of a worker's employment. The most serious adverse employment actions are firing the employee, or refusing to hire an applicant.

What is quid pro quo harassment? ›

For sex discrimination purposes, quid pro quo is a type of sexual harassment under Title IX. Quid pro quo sexual harassment arises when a subordinate suffers a tangible adverse action as a result of the subordinate's refusal to submit to a higher-up's sexual demands.

How much money do you get for discrimination lawsuit? ›

For companies with up to 100 employees, the limit of compensatory damages is $50,000. For those that have between 101 and 200 employees, the limit for damages is $100,000, while companies with between 201 and 500 employees have a limit of $200,000.

What proof do you need for a discrimination lawsuit? ›

Evidence takes several forms. It includes your testimony, which is the very first evidence gathered by EEOC. It also includes written materials such as evaluations, notes by your employer, letters, memos, and the like. You will be asked to provide any documents you may have that relate to your case.

What are the odds of winning the EEOC case? ›

95% of EEOC district court cases are successful, though this number can be misleading. The reality is that only 17.4% of the EEOC's closed workplace discrimination charges result in a resolution for a client. That's because as little as 2% of charges result in action.

What is a real life example of discrimination? ›

The dentist says she is not prepared to treat her anymore because of her behaviour. The dentist is refusing Jeannette a service because of behaviour related to her disability. This may be discrimination arising from disability.

What are the 5 examples of discrimination? ›

I am aware that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), and national origin.

What does discrimination in the workplace look like? ›

Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace, because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

What are the most common rights violations? ›

The most common complaint involves allegations of color of law violations. Another common complaint involves racial violence, such as physical assaults, homicides, verbal or written threats, or desecration of property.

What are examples of illegal discrimination in the workplace? ›

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

What happens when you complain to HR about your manager? ›

What happens after you file a complaint with HR. The exact procedures will vary from employer to employer, but generally speaking, after you file a complaint, HR will investigate the issue, which involves questioning those who are involved and examining your evidence, as well as taking additional steps as necessary.

What is the most effective form of a complaint letter? ›

How to write an effective complaint letter
  • Be clear and concise. ...
  • State exactly what you want done and how long you're willing to wait for a response. ...
  • Don't write an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. ...
  • Include copies of relevant documents, like receipts, work orders, and warranties.
Sep 4, 2015

How do I complain about unprofessional behavior? ›

How to write a formal complaint letter about a coworker
  1. Try to resolve the conflict on your own. ...
  2. Make sure you have an issue to report. ...
  3. State the purpose of the letter. ...
  4. Include a lot of details. ...
  5. Explain your involvement in the situation. ...
  6. Propose a resolution. ...
  7. Make a copy of your letter.
Mar 10, 2023

How do I write a hostile work environment letter? ›

If this problem is happening to you, write down verbatim what was said to threaten or disrespect you -- even if the words are offensive. Explain in explicit detail the hostility you have been dealing with while also trying to do your job. Follow the proper procedures when writing and submitting your grievance.

How do I approach my boss about unfairness? ›

Reporting an Employer for Unfair Treatment
  1. Keep it focused. Don't list every problem you've ever had with the company; focus on the illegal conduct. ...
  2. No legal buzzwords. Don't use legal terminology you don't fully understand. ...
  3. Be constructive. Identify what you would like to see changed. ...
  4. Avoid threats.
Dec 28, 2020

What do you say to HR when filing a complaint? ›

Your HR complaint should include detailed, accurate information regarding the situation. Including specific information can make it clear to the HR department what they need to address or investigate. For example, a complaint that says your manager made you uncomfortable does not provide sufficient information.

What counts as employee mistreatment? ›

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment can include “offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.”

What is a hostile and intimidating work environment? ›

Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

What is prohibited behavior at work? ›

Prohibited conduct is the collective term for discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment) and abuse of authority.

What is emotional retaliation? ›

Retaliation can be described as persecuting your partner from the victim position. There is often a feeling that you want your partner to feel the pain you experience then, maybe, they won't hurt you again.

What are the three types of hostile work environment? ›

The three types of hostile work environment in California are: verbal, non-verbal, and environmental. These three categories encompass every hostile work environment in California workplaces, and are prohibited under California law.

What behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment? ›

What behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment? Harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, victimization, violence, and many other kinds of offensive or inappropriate behavior qualify as unwelcome conduct.

What is negligent actions of their employees? ›

Workers can make mistakes at work that cause harm. Legally, the law refers to these as “employee negligence,” though it may not hold them personally liable if they made the errors as part of the regular scope of their work. Employee negligence does not include criminal acts that lead to harm.

What is negligent misrepresentation employment? ›

Unlike a fraudulent misrepresentation, which requires that the person making the representation know it is false or incorrect and intend to deceive or mislead, a negligent misrepresentation merely requires that one fail to exercise reasonable care or competence to obtain or communicate information that is true or ...

What is unsatisfactory employment? ›

Unsatisfactory job performance is work-related performance that fails to satisfactorily meet job requirements specified in the employee's job description or work plan or as directed by the employee's supervisor.

What is economic harassment? ›

The term “economic harassment” includes both quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment if the victim suffers a tangible economic detriment.

What is the meaning of hostile environment? ›

The legal definition of a hostile work environment

A 'hostile work environment' is a workplace where there are serious instances of harassment and discrimination against protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex and pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

What is hostile work environment harassment? ›

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

The use of microaggressions, or verbal and nonverbal insults, comments, or other unwelcome behavior, that may be intentionally or unintentionally offensive, demanding or degrading.

How much should I ask for settlement? ›

To get a general idea of settlement, add up the costs in medical bills, damages, and lost wages, and multiply the sum by three. This may be around the amount in the settlement you can receive after a car accident. Compensation for pain and suffering is only given to those who are injured in a car accident.

Does the EEOC get you money? ›

If the EEOC finds that I was discriminated against, what can I get? If the EEOC finds discrimination, we will work with your employer to fix the situation. You could receive money damages as part of that process. We also can seek promotions, reinstatement, and other workplace changes for you.

What are punitive damages for employment discrimination? ›

Punitive damages may be awarded to punish an employer who has committed an especially malicious or reckless act of discrimination.

Is a discrimination lawsuit worth it? ›

It will not only benefit you, but your co-workers as well because it will likely make your workplace safer by creating a better environment for all. When you sue, you can also obtain a legal remedy for the discrimination you have faced. Employers often offer a significant sum in these cases.

What is considered direct evidence of discrimination? ›

Direct evidence is evidence that, if true, directly proves a fact. For example, an email from the contractor's director instructing supervisors not to hire women into certain jobs or a statement by a manager that “we don't hire women here” would constitute direct evidence of discrimination against women.

How do you prove bias in the workplace? ›

Direct evidence is the best way to show that you experienced discrimination. Direct evidence of discrimination includes statements by managers or supervisors that directly relate the adverse action taken against you to your protected class status.

What is the most common EEOC claim? ›


How long does it take for the EEOC to make a decision? ›

On average, we take approximately 10 months to investigate a charge. We are often able to settle a charge faster through mediation (usually in less than 3 months). You can check the status of your charge by using EEOC's Online Charge Status System.

How hard is it to win an EEOC claim? ›

Filing a discrimination complaint is rarely easy. Proving your case can be difficult, and your employer will likely have its own legal team. Even if you know that your issues at work are the result of unlawful conduct, it can be hard to identify when the wrongful conduct occurred.

How do you tell if your boss is treating you unfairly? ›

So if you think your boss is being unfair to you, it might be worth it to observe and/or ask how she treats coworkers who are different than you. If you notice a pattern of treatment toward workers with a certain similarity (e.g., your boss in only a jerk to women) then you might be facing unlawful discrimination.

What are examples of being unfair? ›

A teacher giving good grades to his favorite students is one example of unfairness. When someone doesn't have to follow the rules, that's unfairness. You might accuse your parents of unfairness if they give your brother a larger allowance even though you do more chores.

How do you describe unfair treatment? ›

synonyms for unfair
  1. arbitrary.
  2. biased.
  3. cruel.
  4. discriminatory.
  5. dishonest.
  6. illegal.
  7. immoral.
  8. improper.

What are examples of unfair? ›

It's unfair for them to be allowed to leave early if we can't. It seems unfair to single her out for criticism. The company has been accused of unfair labor practices.

How do you prove a toxic boss? ›

6 Signs of a Toxic Boss
  • Increase in Unexplained or Surprising Resignations from Employees.
  • Doesn't Coach Others or Provide Feedback.
  • Unable to Regulate Their Emotions.
  • Lacks Empathy and Emotional Intelligence.
  • Doesn't Offer Appreciation or Praise.
  • Sets Unrealistic Expectations.

What is unacceptable behavior from a boss? ›

Calling employees stupid or idiotic, swearing and screaming, throwing staplers across the room, or other displays of exaggerated and unnecessary behaviors are inappropriate ways for a boss to deal with work quality and employee performance issues. Disparaging attitudes can extend well beyond job performance.

What is a toxic manager? ›

A toxic boss is a manager who demoralizes and damages the people underneath them. Their repeated, disruptive behavior drives employees to become disengaged, diminishes their sense of belonging, and takes away their autonomy and sense of purpose—all of which are vital for thriving at work.

What's a good sentence for unfair? ›

It's unfair for them to be allowed to leave early if we can't. It seems unfair to single her out for criticism. Don't you think you're being a little unfair (to her)?

What are some unfair or unjust situations? ›

  • Money Bail. ...
  • Private Bail Companies. ...
  • Suspended Drivers Licenses. ...
  • Excessive Mandatory Minimum Sentences. ...
  • Wealth-Based Banishment That Outlaws Low-Income Housing. ...
  • Private Probation Abuses. ...
  • Parking Tickets to Debtors' Prison. ...
  • Sex Offense Registration Laws.

What is an example of an unfair question? ›

A question lacking content, asked only to embarrass or disconcert a witness, i.e., A question not in accord with an attorney's professional standards. Actions used to surprise, deceive or outwit a witness E.g., Asking "rapid-fire" questions, subterfuge, etc.

How do I write a grievance letter for unfair treatment? ›

Basic rules
  1. keep your letter to the point. You need to give enough detail for your employer to be able to investigate your complaint properly. ...
  2. keep to the facts. ...
  3. never use abusive or offensive language. ...
  4. explain how you felt about the behaviour you are complaining about but don't use emotive language.

What should you report to HR? ›

If you feel you are being discriminated against by someone at work due to your race, religion, gender or another protected area, then you can file a formal complaint with your HR department. Similarly, you would file a formal complaint if you believe someone is harassing you.

What are unfair actions? ›

Unfair Acts or Practices

An act or practice is unfair when it (1) causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers, (2) cannot be reasonably avoided by consumers, and (3) is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition. Congress codified the three-part unfairness test in 1994.

What does truly unfair mean? ›

not treating people in an equal way, or not morally right: an unfair system.


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