The Truth Will Not Set You Free In An Employment Dispute

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Many employees engaged in employment disputes believe that the truth will set them free. That once the employer, or the legal system, finds out the employee is factually correct or “in the right,” then everything will work out in the employee’s favor.

This view, while understandable, is flat wrong. More often than not, the truth does not set an employee free from their dispute.

Consider this. Say a given person is diagnosed with cancer. In most instances, such a person would probably (1) recognize he was in a severe situation; (2) seek the assistance of a professional (e.g. doctor, etc.); (3) undertake steps to best deal with the situation (e.g. treatment); and (4) recognize that those steps would improve the ODDS of a successful outcome, but would not be a guarantee. Accordingly, the person would recognize the situation to be one that involved risk, and that required careful attention to how it was managed.

All of the same factors apply in a legal dispute. The unfairness, or untruth, of your situation will not cause matters to resolve in your favor. There is risk involved with your situation, however right you may be, and how your situation works out depends in large part on the (careful) steps you take, and a number of factors involved.

The truth is just one factor, one variable, in a legal dispute. Other variables include, but are not limited to: what other witnesses will say (i.e. their “truths” asserted), what documentation supports your case, the employer’s level of wealth and leverage, the legal resources available (e.g. whether you can get an attorney, whether a legal claim exists or doesn’t exist for your situation, however unfair, etc.), the timing of your matter (e.g. whether you are beyond a deadline), the particular legal authority you’re dealing with (e.g. the particular unemployment claims adjudicator, judge, jury) and so on.

I don’t write all this to be pessimistic. Often, employees DO have good legal claims and successful outcomes in employment disputes.

However, if you hold the mistaken assumption that the truth will set you free, and you ACT based on that assumption- for example, if you give your employer or an unemployment adjudicator an earful about how “right” you are- you will find out the hard way how insufficient the truth is in the employment-law world.