Many critiques, especially those who represent employers, argue that statute which make the prevailing employees entitled to attorney’s fees should be amended as such laws promote litigation. I disagree!
Major corporations and most businesses have lawyers on staff or retainer and at the first indication of litigation they will unleash their legal team on the employee. Although most employee rights attorneys are capable, experienced and dedicated lawyers, there can be no doubt that employee’s rights attorneys don’t have the resources available to employers’ attorneys. As a result, attorneys who take employee cases are always fighting an uphill battle and face enormous odds. Attorneys representing employers however, get paid per hour (many times $500 per hour or more) and will get paid loose or win. Should an employee prevail in his/her case she will only receive what is rightfully hers and nothing more. Now, would it be fair to have her pay percentage if her rightful recovery to her attorneys? It would not. As a result legislators have inserted attorney’s fees clauses in most employee right statutes to ensure that capable, diligent and experienced attorneys take on sexual harassment, age discrimination, race discrimination, overtime non-payment cases and other cases affecting the workforce.
Without such provisions (attorney’s fees statutes) employees would never be able to hire qualified attorneys and will always be “out gunned” by employers. Removal of attorney’s fees clauses will have a “chilling effect” on employees seeking their rights. Of course, frivolous lawsuits and cases brought maliciously should always subject the party who brings it or the attorney who knowingly takes part in it to penalties and sanctions.