Be careful when discussing your employment case

Do not use your employer’s communication devices at work to discuss your employment case

Many employees use their employer’s communication devices (telephones, fax machines, and even e-mail accounts) to discuss their cases.

This can often be disastrous.

Many employers are beginning to record all incoming and outgoing telephone calls, many fax machines store copies of incoming and outgoing faxes, and almost all employers store copies of incoming and outgoing e-mails in multiple locations.

No attorney wants his or her privileged communications revealed. Furthermore, the law is in flux as to whether the privilege applies if an employee uses his or her employer’s communication devices. Therefore, it is very important that you do not use the employer’s communication devices to discuss the case.

Do not communicate with anyone else about your employment case

Do not discuss your case with anyone other than an attorney.

Discussions with non-attorneys are not privileged and can only do harm to the case.

Moreover, by discussing the case with others, you will increase the amount of time you will be in deposition (because the other side will be entitled to go through each such conversation in detail) and involve more people as witnesses, thus increasing the cost of the case.

A simple mistake in talking to others can severely damage your case.

Example 1:

A plaintiff told his best friend the “bottom line” amount of money that he would take to settle his case. This amount was far lower than the plaintiff’s attorney’s conservative estimate of the value of the case. At mediation, the defendant employer made a last, best, and final offer in the exact amount as the plaintiff’s “bottom line.” Later, the plaintiff learned that his best friend had told someone about their conversation and that information eventually had made its way back to the employer.

Example 2:

A plaintiff spoke to her boyfriend about her attorney’s views of the strengths and weaknesses of the case including whom the plaintiff could use as witnesses and whom the plaintiff should hope the employer never locates. Subsequently, the boyfriend caught the plaintiff cheating on him and he told everything he knew to the employer.

Example 3:

A plaintiff informed her good friend and co-worker about the lawsuit. The friend promised to be a “star witness” for the plaintiff and then pumped the plaintiff for information about the lawsuit. Later, the friend received a large promotion at work and no longer was willing to cooperate.