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Probable cause determination NYDHR

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#1
What is the name of your state? New York

I was wrongfully terminated from a Fortune 500 company and offered $40k in severance. This was less than 20% of my annual salary, and I filed a complaint for discrimination/retaliation with the EEOC that was transferred, via a workshare agreement to the NYDHR. I received a probable cause determination, but it's not a strong opinion and involved minimal investigation. My suspicion is it would not be admitted were I to sue in federal court. During our 1 hour mediation, the company wouldn't even offer me their original severance agreement. For various reasons, my income is now severely limited (apx 1/3 of what it was, with no short-range prospects at improving it, despite efforts at mitigating loss). I was asking for a mid six-figure settlement.

The question now, is whether it's ever better to stay in the NYDHR? My attorney is against it. He worries that there will be no punitive damages and that attorneys fees, if recoverable, will be difficult to get. My attorney also has limited experience before the NYDHR (but plenty before EEOC/court), which is another factor in favor of switching forums. He also thinks it's likely we won't get to trial- that merely filing might prompt a higher settlement. Meanwhile, I'm concerned that the company's lowball offer at mediation suggests they won't be ready for a significant settlement for some time. I'm attracted by the NYDHR's much faster timeline (I'm hurting financially, now) and less need for additional outlay in terms of discovery/attorneys fees. If it goes to court, I will have to enter into a separate retainer agreement with the attorney that has me paying a significant (discounted) hourly rate and all expenses, whereas if I stay at the NYDHR, the old fee agreement, which was a small flat fee + percentage will still be in effect.) It will literally cost thousands more if we go to trial, with no clear less risk. Frankly, the NYDHR seems like a favorable forum, since I already have the PC determination, and there's less investment to risk. The metrics of dispute resolution before the NYDHR don't seem ideal. Of the PC cases that don't settle 10-12% are dismissed and 2% are affirmed. Kind of bleak. I think my case is factually strong. And I'd be happy with back wages and estimated front wages.

All of which is to say- and I 100% get that you aren't my attorneys and this isn't legal advice, I have and will continue to consult my attorney, and I might be omitting a fact that would change everything. But based on this calculus... do you think there's at least a decent argument for our staying put?
 


#2
Frankly there is no way to answer that because I know nothing at all of the facts of the alleged discrimination that resulted in the job termination nor what evidence each side has to present on the matter. A lot depends on how strong a case you really have. You'll have to discuss the options with your lawyer and make your decision from that.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#3
attorney fees are sometimes a major major factor in the road to take and I'd lean towards the road the skilled traveler advises is one with better odds.....but ultimately the call is your call....and I follow that the new road would require a higher fee ....keep in mind that the employers cost meter is similarly likely to soar...the last input I had on a discrimination matter in northern NJ was $650 per hour for the employer
 
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