So, you took the important step of hiring an attorney and sending your employer a demand letter outlining the ways your employer wronged you. After a while of waiting, you receive the employer’s response – or rebuttal – and it is not nice. Your former employer has called you, among other things, incompetent, wrong and a liar for daring to insist you have been mistreated. They outline several reasons for how they treated you well and shift all blame of wrongdoing onto you. This can feel horrible, especially if you have just lost your job due to your former employer mistreating you. So, what should you do?
First, don’t panic! Here is an explanation of what a rebuttal is and what your employer is trying to accomplish as well as the concrete next steps you can take after receiving the response.
What is a Rebuttal?
The response to your demand letter is your employer’s attempt to absolve them of any wrongdoing. You have just accused them of illegally mistreating you and their response means that they don’t want to appear to take such allegations lightly. They are trying to paint themselves in the best possible light while also attempting to discredit your statement however they can. This can include citing irrelevant information, misrepresenting you or your actions and in the worst cases can even include the deliberate use of false information to make you look bad. Basically, they are sending this response to try to get out of giving you whatever it is you are arguing that you deserve.
The first step to responding to this kind of response is to remain calm. There will most likely be information that you feel is inaccurate and offensive, and you may feel personally attacked. Please know that this is normal, and your attorneys are prepared for this. Avoid sending a response based mostly on your gut reaction to the points raised in the rebuttal. Understand that even if responding requires a change in strategy, your case is not necessarily over.
Second, your attorney may have some questions for you based on the allegations raised in the rebuttal. This does not mean your attorney is taking your employer’s side. Often, this information is needed from you to form a better defense. Remember that all communications with your attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege. If there is something unflattering that is true raised by your employer in the rebuttal, let your attorney know. It will be more helpful for putting you on the front-side of the issue and the attorney does not have to tell your employer anything that you told them.
Finally, it is a good idea to prepare a point-by-point response to each topic that the rebuttal addresses. We understand that this can be emotional and difficult, but know that the clearer and more concise you are, the better your attorney will be able to represent you and the more time and money you will save with your representation. When you are ready, send it to your attorney and don’t feel hesitant to reach out with questions if you aren’t sure what some of the points mean. Remember that your attorney is experienced, knows how to respond, and above all, is on your side.