Employment litigation can be a complicated process, and each case contains its own unique facts and circumstances. However, despite this complexity, there are a number of factors that are common to the majority of employment litigation cases. Below is an overview of these factors.
The employment litigation process beings with the filing of a complaint. After the complaint is filed, it must then be served on the employer within a specified period of time. An employer who is properly served may then either:
- File a motion with the court requesting dismissal of the complaint if he or she believes that it is defective in its allegations or the court lacks jurisdiction; or
- File an answer to the complaint. If the employer decides to answer the complaint, then the case proceeds to the discovery process.
The Discovery Process
Discovery is the formal process that parties to a lawsuit use to obtain information from one another prior to trial. During discovery, both parties typically serve written questions, known as interrogatories, on the opposing parties. Each party may also serve the other with discovery requests seeking all the documents and materials relevant to the case. The discovery process also allows the parties to question a certain number of individuals under oath. The discovery process can be extremely complicated, and it is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of employment litigation.
Once discovery is complete, courts in some states require the parties to engage in mandatory mediation. During mediation, the court assigns an impartial mediator who attempts to persuade the parties to voluntarily settle their dispute. Parties also sometimes use mediation as an opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the other side’s case. If mediation does not result in a settlement, then the case proceeds to the summary judgment stage.
Summary judgment is a procedural stage in which a party seeks to persuade the judge that the case does not warrant a trial. In employment litigation cases, summary judgment is typically sought by the employer being sued. If the employer’s motion for summary judgment is successful, then the case is either wholly or partially dismissed. However, if summary judgment is not granted, then the case proceeds to trial.
When a case proceeds to trial, the parties use the information compiled during discovery and mediation to prepare factual and legal arguments for presentation before either a judge, jury, or both. After each side has presented its case, the judge or jury deliberates and renders a verdict.
Texas Legal Representation
If you are engaged in an employment dispute of any kind, please contact an experienced employment litigation attorney to discuss your issue. At Ajamie LLP, our experienced Texas attorneys represent employers and employees across a wide range of industries. We offer preventive counseling, litigate all facets of employment disputes, and advise clients in a number of industries. Please contact us for a consultation.