I am a plaintiff’s employment law attorney and represent those that are the victims of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. So how much does it cost a company to defend a claim of sexual harassment? There is no bright line answer to that question. First, the facts and circumstances of each case will dictate how much attorney fees may be. Second, the venue chosen by the plaintiff and her attorney will also impact attorney fees. So for example if you chose federal court there is a better chance attorney fees will be higher than say at the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC”). There are several reasons for this. In federal court, you must be a member of the trial bar along with the general bar in order to take the case to trial. What this translates to is a more senior attorney will probably have to handle the case. This translates to higher hourly rates. Generally speaking, lower level lawyers can take cases to trial at the IHRC whereas a more experienced attorney is needed in federal court.
Another reason for high legal fees in Chicago defending sexual harassment cases is the system defense lawyers have in place. For the most part they charge by the hour. What this means is if they settle the case very quickly, the cut off their own nose so to speak because they end their payday. It is actually to their advantage to have prolonged litigation. They may not like hearing that but it is factually correct. So there isn’t much incentive for defense lawyers to settle sexual harassment cases early in the process. On the other hand it makes them rich by dragging cases on for a long period of time. I am claiming they intentionally drag cases on for a long time, but I am just stating the obvious.