This is the next post in our series on the handling of disability discrimination cases involving Santa Ana, California employees. Our last post discussed using discovery to prove disability discrimination. It is important to understand that acquiring the evidence needed to prove your case can be a lengthy process. In this article we will discuss what an employee should expect at trial in such case. Trial is a complicated process. The rules of evidence are strict and the Judge will enforce them. It is crucial that you contact an experienced employment law attorney to assist you.
Trial begins with the selection of a jury. A group of potential jurors will be selected from Orange County public records. Each attorney will get to ask questions of the potential jurors. The purpose of these questions is to determine whether the jurors possess a bias which may prevent them from being fair and impartial at trial. If necessary the Judge will also ask questions of a candidate. If it is clear from a potential juror’s answer that they cannot be impartial then the Judge may remove them from the pool “for cause.” If a juror is not removed for cause then the lawyers from each side will be able to use a “challenge” to remove the candidate. Each side is only given a limited number of challenges and they may not be used to strike a juror for protected reasons such as race, religion, gender, etc. Once the final jury has been selected then opening statements will begin.
Opening statements are not a time for argument. This is when each side’s counsel will provide an overview of the evidence they will be presenting and what they will be asking the jury for at the end of the case. In a matter involving workplace discrimination, on the basis of a disability, the Plaintiff’s lawyer will allude to evidence showing that the employer did not make reasonable accommodations on behalf of the employee and that the worker was not treated fairly on the basis of their disability. If either sides strays from simply giving an overview, to actually arguing why the other side is wrong, then the opposing attorney will be permitted to object.
The Plaintiff will present their case first. The defense will then present their side of the story and the Plaintiff will then be able to present “rebuttal” evidence. This rebuttal may only deal with facts raised by the defense; the Plaintiff may not bring up new facts during rebuttal. At the close of evidence each lawyer will give a closing argument. The Jury will then deliberate and issue a verdict. If the Jury rules in favor of the Plaintiff then they will also rule on the amount of compensation and damages the Plaintiff is to receive.
The rules of procedure are strict when it comes to selecting a jury and presenting evidence. If proper Court procedures are not followed then a discrimination victim may find themselves not being able to present evidence which is critical to their case. Our Santa Ana disability discrimination attorneys are experienced in taking such cases to trial. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the Orange County areas of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.