Employment lawsuits are a long and often drawn-out process. It can be extremely slow and frustrating to sue your employer. The legal system is frustratingly inefficient, and it can take months to even get a court date, let alone win a case.
How long does it take to settle an employment case?
The length of time an employment lawsuit will take differs greatly from case to case. In most cases, it will take at least a year to litigate; however, higher-value cases can take two years or more! In these cases, there is more motivation for the employer to fight and decrease the value of the case. There will often be multiple appeals.
It is hard to know how long a case will take to conclude when the case begins. There are many factors that can affect the length of the case. If the opposing counsel is difficult to work with, the case can drag on much longer. Similarly, if there are any delays in information being communicated between any of the parties, the case can take an unnecessarily long time.
Why Do Employment Cases Take Such a Long Time?
There are multiple reasons why an employment case may take a long time. Here are some of the most common:
- The personalities of all parties involved are the biggest determining factor of the length of the case. If any of the lawyers, the employee, or the employer refuse to cooperate, it can slow the progress significantly.
- The experience, integrity, and skill level of the lawyers involved can affect the length of your case. The more skilled your lawyer is, the more likely he is to convince your employer that it is best if they settle. An honest employment lawyer will give you a realistic timeline and try their best to stick to it. A dishonest lawyer will try and drag out the case so they can get paid more in legal fees.
- If the court as a backlog, it can slow down progress a lot. If the court does not have a backlog, your case will be set for months away. If it does have a backlog, it may be a year or two before your trial date.
- The value of your case may play a part in how long the case takes to resolve. The more money there is at stake, the more both parties will fight for their desired outcome.
- Discovery rules give each side enough time to review your evidence and prepare a response.
- Scheduling medical exams, mediations, and depositions can eat into the case time. Some mediators are booked for several months.
- Both sides have a right to appeal a judgement; this means that once your case is resolved, you may have to go through the whole process again.
The above list is not comprehensive, there are many factors that determine the length of your case. However, it covers the most common reasons your case may have delays.
Case Length For DFEF, EEOC, and Labor Board
It is possible to use administrative agencies in California to handle your case rather than a private lawyer. The DFEF, EEOC, and Labor Board are such agencies you can call on depending on the nature of your claim. In most cases, these agencies will try to mediate the issue and come to a satisfactory resolution rather than taking your case to court.
All of the above agencies have a deadline which is much tighter than the statute of limitations. It is best to file your claim as soon as possible so your case can be seen quickly and your case can reach a good resolution.
Once your case is filed, all of the agencies have deadlines they must comply with. As they are agencies which handle claims free of charge, many will investigate claims, sometimes look to mediate the situation, and then issue a right to sue letter, telling the employee to seek the assistance of a lawyer. This is extremely frustrating for employees as it slows their case down; however, these agencies are inundated with thousands of claims.
How Long Does A Discrimination Employment Trial Take?
Every judge in California has a massive caseload, so they will often set time limits on cases. They try to give both sides sufficient time to gather evidence and present their cases, but often they cannot give more than a week or two. If the case is complex, the judge may give more time, in those cases, a trial can take a month.
How Long Will It Take If My Case Is Appealed?
If one party appeals a case, it will be extended for approximately a year. An appealing party has a good amount of time to submit an appeal, and the other party has a good amount of time to answer the appeal. An appeal goes to the appellate court for oral argument, with dates scheduled months in advance. In some cases, the case must be re-tried in front of a new jury.
Discrimination cases can take a long time; if it is a high-value case, it can take two years or longer. With a skilled lawyer and a medium-sized case, expect it to take at least a year. For a low-value case of less than $25,000, it will take less than a year. However, every case is different, and the length of your case will depend largely on the circumstances.
An employment lawyer will be able to give you an idea of how long your case will take based on the circumstances of your case and the lawyer representing your employer.