Misconceived decisions to bring employment claims

I am often asked to bring employment cases on behalf of individuals which appear misconceived and will not provide a positive return for the wronged employee.

Even if the employee wins the case the cost of bringing it, unless the employee represents himself, will exceed the potential compensation that can be awarded. For example, an unfair dismissal case where the employee secures new employment within a matter of days or weeks of the dismissal.

In this case the employee can win, at most, 1 month’s salary. The cost of legal representation for a WRC case will vary depending on who the employee instructs and whether it is a fixed fee arrangement or a time-based arrangement.

If it was time based then it is quite possible that the case could run into two days if there are many witnesses, and if there are disputes about the facts.

Any win for the employee is likely to see his compensation award gobbled up by legal fees, and he may well have to make a further contribution to discharge the costs.

Yet many employees plough ahead and want to bring the case. It is as if they are nodding in agreement when you explain to them, but they still want to proceed.

This would be a small minority of employment claims that I encounter but it still baffles me.

Sometimes in life I believe you just have to accept that bad things happen and there may be no remedy. You just have to accept it, get on with it and do not decide to put rational thinking to one side in arriving at a decision.

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