Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Hello again. Yes, I'm available. What would you like to know?
Thank you. There is really only one answer to that question and it is to immediately get an attorney. If she has evidence to suggest she was fired for her race, she should not even be messing around with trying to negotiate something on her own. She's not going to get the kind of settlement she wants that way, and it's possible that she can harm her case. Hiring an attorney immediately and having all further communication go through the attorney sends a strong message to her employer that they should be taking her claim seriously.
I hope this helps.
You may want to do hourly for pre-litigation settlement discussions. That way you don't wind up paying a large contingency fee if the attorney only has to put in a few hours negotiating a severance package. Once you proceed with a legal claim, most people can't afford hourly fees at that point (which can quickly escalate into the tens of thousands of dollars) and the lawyer will want a large retainer. So in that case contingency usually makes more sense. Yes, it's possible that you may wind up paying more in the long run on contingency, but that is usually worth the peace of mind of knowing that you won't get stuck with a large legal bill you can't pay. Plus, there's always a chance that the case will take 100+ attorney hours to resolve and contingency representation is actually cheaper.
An attorney can't convey a settlement offer without the client's consent. If you are paying hourly, you can have the lawyer convey whatever offer you want, even if the offer is far too large and only likely to polarize the situation rather than resolve the dispute. If you are looking for contingency representation, most lawyers will refuse to represent a client that has unreasonable settlement expectations, so you and the attorney really need to be on the same page otherwise you will have a hard time attracting and keeping contingency counsel.
I think it would be a waste of your girlfriend's money to ask for an unrealistic settlement figure while paying hourly. I would listen to the attorney's advice. The attorney knows what to expect and what cases like your girlfriend's are realistically worth. Sure, you don't have to, but it's an exercise in futility to ask for a larger amount that the employer would ever pay. It may actually damage future settlement discussions.
As for contingency fee agreements, they are always in writing. The agreement will just specify that payment is a percentage of the recovery and there are no hourly fees.
I will be stepping away from my computer for a while, but I hope this addresses your concerns for the time being.
My pleasure. If you would please kindly take a moment to enter a positive rating I would truly appreciate it.