One of the things I love most about being an employment law litigator is being an advocate for the underdog. As a society, right from the inception of our nation, we identified ourselves as underdogs, as we defeated the British, the greatest empire builders of the time. Growing up and into adulthood, I was fascinated with underdog lawyer movies like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Verdict”. The central theme of these movies is that they are about the lawyer as defender and advocate of the oppressed or powerless.
And even though I am almost always outnumbered and have a fraction of the resources available to try the case, it is still exhilarating “to fight the good fight.” I get to civilly prosecute perverts who sexually harass or assault women, overt racists, and bullies who still perceive the world in terms of the character Archie Bunker of the television show “All in the Family.”
By way of example, I filed one case last week where an Archie Bunker type was harassing, discriminating and retaliating against his workers. The complaint alleges that he committed acts of sexual harassment (extra long group hugs), gender harassment/discrimination (“I don’t think this is a job for women to do.”), religious discrimination/harassment/retaliation (chastising employees for failing to go to office bible study sessions) and race discrimination (described an African American person whom he liked as one of the “good ones.”)
As a plaintiff’s employment attorney, I have litigated against the most powerful entities in our state including fortune 50 pharma companies, the State of NJ, several County Governments, a sitting NJ Governor and the Roman Catholic Church. As my fellow employment litigators will tell you, it is not a rare occurrence to see one plaintiff’s attorney doing battle against three or four attorneys representing the corporate entity at depositions or at trial.
I anticipate a tough fight, but I will be doing something I love and something that I was placed on this earth to do.