In these cases, internal mediation can be unproductive, and often uncomfortable. That’s where demand letters come into play. This article explains what they are and why you need to speak to an experienced lawyer when writing your demand letter.
Current or past employees can send demand letters to their current or former employers if they suspect they’ve been treated illegally by that employer. The examples mentioned earlier, such as indefinite suspensions without formal action and discrimination issues, both fall into the illegal treatment category. So too do issues like employers withholding payment for work completed or wrongfully dismissing an employee.
While you may believe that you need to sue your employer in these instances, a demand letter provides a different course of action. The letter allows you to outline what you believe your employer did wrong and request compensation for the wrongdoing. You may also request that an employer changes its record of employment related to your time with the company, especially if you suspect that the employer has unfairly disparaged you and your performance in that record.
Sending a demand letter doesn’t automatically entitle you to the compensation you request, and you’ll likely enter into negotiations with your employer once they receive the letter. Still, the letter serves as a notice of your intent to pursue legal action and provides the employer with the option to settle the issue you’ve raised out of court.
Given the important nature of a demand letter, it’s rarely a good idea to draft it yourself. Even if you work from a template, your case likely has specific issues relating solely to you that need to be included in your letter. Bringing an experienced lawyer on board to draft the letter on your behalf is a good idea for the following reasons.
In many cases, people sense that they’ve experienced an injustice but don’t know the legal specifics of that injustice. For example, the issue of being placed on indefinite suspension without being formally fired can be complex. The reason being, suspensions are often related to punishments, making an employee less likely to bring a claim. However, some employees may use suspensions to avoid releasing a talented employee so they can find work elsewhere, which violates that employee’s rights.
With a lawyer by your side, you have a direct source of information and legal backing for the claims you make. You’ll feel more confident in sending your letter, especially if your lawyer can quote specific laws to back up your demands.
As mentioned, receipt of a demand letter doesn’t automatically mean that the recipient with meet your demands. The letter essentially acts as proof of your intent to bring legal action, offering the evidence that will support your action and giving the recipient an alternative path to follow.
If the recipient wishes to contest the claims you make in the demand letter, you may have to prepare for a court battle. Having a lawyer on hand during the drafting process can be helpful here because they’ll prepare you for the possibility of going to court. Furthermore, that lawyer can continue to represent you at trial with full knowledge of what your demand letter contained and the claims you’re making.
Though a demand letter is a positive form of action taken on behalf of a wronged party, it’s also a legal document. As such, the information you share in your demand letter can be used against you in court. Proper wording is important. For instance, using insulting language or indirect threats against the recipient could create problems later on, as could requesting an unreasonable amount of money for your claim.
Lawyers help here by ensuring your letter is professional, polite, and focused solely on the facts of your case.
Drafting a demand letter doesn’t have to be a complicated process, as long as you have a legal professional in your corner. At Legalhood, we offer a demand letter drafting service that combines automation with direct oversight from a legal technician.
Discover how you can create your demand letter with the help of Legalhood for just $99 today.