Settlement of Discrimination cases

I was closing out a file last night, where my client sued for sex harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the federal civil rights act. As I was closing the file, I came across some early correspondence in the case.

The case was against a giant national company, and I had written to them before filing the lawsuit. I explained that they wrongfully fired my client and suggested that they give him a fair severance package. Their in-house company lawyer wrote back and told me my client’s case was worthless, and completely without merit, and they were within their rights to fire him. The company lawyer invited me to sue, refused mediation and offered zero to settle the case.

Fast forward about 9 months to the end of 2011, and they are writing a check for $60,000 following mediation, to settle the case. Of course , by then, they had wasted tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees, and probably could have settled for much less, had they paid a reasonable severance package earlier.

I often wonder why companies don’t do the right thing and offer to resolve employee grievances early-on. In most countries around the world, the law REQUIRES severance pay, but not in the United States. Many American companies, however, offer severance packages to terminated employees because it’s the right thing to do, and it probably serves to avoid lawsuits.

Coane and Associates is a law firm with office in Texas and Florida, and we represent employees in all matters of employment law.


Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at or his website at Coane and Associates.