If you are talking to multiple attorneys in the correct subject area of legal practice and you cannot find any experienced attorney to take your case on contingency, then you need to consider whether that represents a consensus by knowledgeable experts that your case is not sound -- for whatever reason. An attorney does the potential client no favor by accepting an unsound case. Litigation is expensive in terms of time, money, effort, emotional stamina, consequences for future employment. A sound case with a meaningful potential for financial recovery will be worth all of that grief. A case that can be recognized at the outset as not likely to be successful is not worth all of those unfavorable consequences.
Make certain that you are connecting with several local attorneys who actively practice in the field of disability discrimination law. But if you get the same conclusion and declination from more than a few, it is time to recognize the value and wisdom of that expertise.
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I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma. Based on my experience with the Phoenix EEOC office, mediation is voluntary, which means both you as the Charging Party and the Employer as Respondent must agree to participate in mediation. Since the former employer declined to participate, the only thing the EEOC can do at this point is to investigate your charge. You do have the option of requesting a right to sue letter, but I would advise you NOT to do that until you have an opportunity to consult with a local employment attorney. If your local EEOC office operates differently, I would certainly defer to the advice of my Florida colleagues.
Try the Find A Lawyer tab here on Avvo, or on the websites of the Florida Employment Lawyers Association, or the National Employment Lawyers Association's webiste (links provided below). Don't be discouraged. Keep looking and good luck.
If the employer refuses mediation, then your charge will go to the investigation section of the EEOC. You should contact the EEOC's local office to find out which investigator has been assigned, or will be assigned, to your file. Contact that person so that you can share all of the information and documents that you believe support your charge.
My answers to questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information only, and are not intended to be legal advice. Employment law issues typically require a careful case-by-case analysis. Consequently, if you feel that you need legal advice, I would encourage you to consult in person with an employment attorney in your area.
The prior answers have it right. EEOC mediation is voluntary, and there is no requirement that the employer (or you, for that matter) participate in mediation. The matter will proceed to investigation. If that goes nowhere and is pending for 180 days, you may ask for a right to sue letter which allows you to file a lawsuit in federal court. There are important filing deadlines after receipt of a right to sue letter, so you should make sure to educate yourself about these. Most federal district courts have pro se (pro se representation is advocating on your own behalf) offices with a lot of resources for people. Get to work!
If you have discussed your case with several attorneys and none are willing to take your case, it might be a sign that you do not have a viable cause of action. Sorry. But keep looking - there are a lot of employment lawyers out there - find someone in SC who believes in you and your case.