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How Can After-Acquired Evidence Affect a Discrimination Claim?

Published on Nov 24, 2020 at 12:23 pm in Employment Law.

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If an employee files a discrimination claim, there will be an investigation into what happened that caused them to make their claim. That employee shouldn’t have been discriminated against, but what happens to their case if the investigation finds that particular employee had instances of misconduct before their claim? This is known as after-acquired evidence, and courts have a difficult time deciding how much the previous misconduct plays into their case.

When you hire an employment lawyer from McMath Woods, P.A. you can feel confident in your workplace discrimination claim. We’ll make sure that your rights are protected, and that you get justice for the mistreatment that you endured in your workplace.

After-Acquired Evidence Rule

Workplace discrimination and wrongful termination claims can be difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s useful to have the help of an employment lawyer on your side. They’ll be able to tell you what’s happening if the defense brings up the After-Acquired Evidence Rule (AAER). According to this rule, the amount you can recover in damages might be reduced based on evidence that previous actions might have warranted a lawful firing.

This idea might be confusing, so let’s look at an example. If an employer fires an employee because of their age, then that is age discrimination, and is a wrongful termination. While the employer will be facing a workplace discrimination claim, they might find that the employee they fired was also stealing from them. This unlawful action from the employee would be after-acquired evidence that could change the outcome of the case.

Even though the employer was unlawful in firing the employee based on their age, it turns out the employee was stealing from them, which is a fireable offense. This changes the course of the case and can reduce the damages that the employee is able to recover for their discrimination claim.

The Effects AAER Could Have on Your Claim

Now that we’ve looked into what the AAER is, let’s take a look at how it could specifically affect your claim. There were guidelines published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about how to enforce the AAER in a fair manner. One example of the effect this could have on your claim, is if you are trying to recover backpay after your wrongful termination.

Prior to finding the after-acquired evidence, you might have been eligible for backpay from the date you were unlawfully fired until an unforeseen date, as decided what’s fair by your employment lawyer. However, when after-acquired evidence is presented that proves you made a wrongful action, that backpay could be limited. The new window would likely be from the date you were unlawfully fired until the date they found out about the wrongful action.

The key to this rule is that there needs to be balance. An employee does not deserve to be discriminated against and fired for an unlawful reason. However, the employee also should not be acting wrongfully either, like stealing from their employer. Both sides need to be punished, which is why it’s helpful to have an employment attorney on your side—they will be able to defend your rights and ensure that a fair compromise is found.

McMath Woods, P.A. Is Here to Help You

Employment law can be confusing and stressful. When you’re dealing with wrongfully losing your job, worrying about where your income will come from, and supporting yourself and your family, you might think you don’t have time to file a claim against your employer. That’s where we come in.

Our experienced employment attorney will fully investigate your claim and get to the bottom of why you were fired. When you hire one of our lawyers, you can feel confident that we will fight for what’s best for you. We understand that you have a lot going on in your life, and we’re here to take care of the legal side of things for you so you can focus on what really matters—supporting yourself.

Reach out to us today so we can discuss your potential claim and get started.

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