Sorry, but there are too many variables here. I don't know that anyone could give you an answer as to the value (if any) of your case without more information. Really, the only competent advice that I think anyone could give based on this limited information is that you really should seek legal counsel.
David Cook is an Attorney and Mediator licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana. The response herein is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is intended only to provide general information about the question presented; but since the question often fails to include significant and important facts that, if known, might significantly change the response, Dave strongly advises the questioner to promptly confer with an attorney in his or her own state in order to ensure that appropriate legal advice is timely received.
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
No one can tell you how much your case is worth without knowing what happened, the employer's response, if and how you were harmed, your compensation package, and much, much more.
In nearly every case, you need your own attorney for an employment mediation. The state agency (Missouri Human Rights) is not your representative. A mediator for the agency has one client — Missouri. Some agency mediators are great and will do their best to protect you rights even though they are not your advocate. Some agency mediators stink and care more about closing the case than they do about the person who filed the charge.
Because the agency has a particular mission and because it is not representing you, if it turns out your interests and those of the agency clash, the agency mediator will first and foremost make sure the agency’s goals are carried out, not yours.
Also, the agency will only consider issues relevant to laws the agency enforces, such as discrimination laws. It will not consider such things as employer liability under state law (which in some states, like California, is substantially more than under federal law), wage and hour violations, mutuality in the settlement agreement, circumstances under which you might have to return the money, the language of the settlement agreement (which could have all kinds of "gotchas" that the agency doesn't notice or doesn't deal with), and more.
In addition, agecny mediators most often handle low-value cases because that is what ends up in their offices. They handle high-value cases far less frequently, and even less frequently handle high-value cases where the charging party doesn’t have an attorney. If you show up without an attorney, the mediator may interpret your case as low-value, even if it isn’t. Of course the mediator may learn the value of your case during the mediation, but why start off with such a large obstacle?
Similarly, without an attorney, the employer probably won't take you or your case seriously, and may be able to take advantage of you. No one is watching your back if you don't have your own attorney.
Consider that the employer most likely has an attorney or has consulted with its attorney. Even if the employer doesn't have an attorney, it usually has human resources personnel who have been down this route before and know far better than you do how to use the system to its own advantage.
It is nearly always the case that a charging party will do better overall with an attorney, even taking into consideration the attorney's fees portion of the recovery.
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
I would ask for reinstatement, the back wages, and a written acknowledgement of the conduct in case it occurs again. That makes everyone "whole," which is the goal of Justice. If they won't agree to bring you back, consider a year's salary as "whole" at the early Mediation phase. A Missouri attorney looking at all the facts, deeds, statements and responses would give you the best advice. I believe we all agree on that.
Attorneys are very competitive. Choose the Best Answer so we know who helped you the most.
These cases are extremely fact intensive and the value of such cases rests on the facts. You should get in touch with an attorney that has dealt with these cases in the past.
Normally the agencies themselves (EEOC and MCHR) give a suggested value for settlement but neither party must use that. In one case I had the EEOC suggested $134,000 and the employer responded with a $7,000 counter offer.
Because the employer will probably low-ball you, you should have counsel there to represent your best interests with knowledge of what these cases settle for.
If you need assistance in determining what it's worth, calls us at 816-283-3535. We're in Kansas City right down I-70.