Defending Employment Discrimination Cases Resembles A Snipe Hunt

Defending Employment Discrimination Cases Resembles A Snipe Hunt

My summer reading list includes Joel Stein's Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity. The book recounts the self-proclaimed effete Stein's journey to become more masculine in the wake of the birth of his son. In one chapter, Stein spends a weekend with a boy scout troop to learn how to camp. The troop's hazing includes sending Stein on a snipe hunt. For the uninitiated, a snipe hunt is a practical joke played on inexperienced campers, who are sent to hunt an imaginary bird or animal (the snipe).

Believe it or not, snipe hunts have something to do with defending discrimination cases. Often, I hear this outrage from clients: "I can't believe we're being sued for this. I want to counter-sue to collect our attorneys' fees!" Yes, there are statutes and rules in place that permit a defendant, in certain and extreme circumstances, to collect their attorneys' fees from the plaintiff. But, there are few cases that will meet this high threshold for recovery. In reality, the likelihood of a judge ordering that a plaintiff-employee pay the defendant-employer's attorneys' fees under one of these fee-shifting mechanisms is on par with winning the lottery.

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