Different Types of Fee Arrangements for Employment Discrimination Lawsuits and Negotiations


An employment lawyer comes into play if you seek legal advice for discrimination against you at the workplace. Most people have no idea about how much an employment lawyer charges. Though fees vary from one lawyer to another and also depend on complexities involved, this write-up will give you an idea about how much an employment law attorney charges.


Under laws in most states as well as federal law, an employer cannot treat his employees differently on the basis of their protected status. Such a status is a category, trait or characteristic protected by state or federal anti-discrimination laws. Under federal anti-discrimination laws, any type of discrimination based on race, nationality, religion, age, color, gender, genetic information, and disability is strictly prohibited. State anti-discrimination laws include other protected statuses such as gender identity, marital status or sexual disorientation.

Antidiscrimination laws don’t cover all employees though Federal anti-discrimination laws are applicable only to employers who, depending on the protected status, have a minimum number of employees (typically 15 or 20). There are some exceptions to anti-discrimination laws. For example, in certain provinces, anti-discrimination laws don’t apply to religious institutions. Antidiscrimination laws also vary from one state to another. With many complexities involved in anti-discrimination laws, you should consult with an employment attorney to know if you have any potential discrimination claim.

Lawyer Fee Agreements

Employment lawyers usually offer a few kinds of fee arrangements to deal with an employment discrimination case. The fee agreement you and your employment attorney enter into partly depends on the type of legal service you are looking for.

Hourly Fees

An attorney may demand hourly fees for some types of services, particularly those having a limited scope or time. Some attorneys take an hourly fee for drafting a demand letter that is sent to the employer as an invitation to take part in informal settlement discussions. Such discussions often require multiple rounds of negotiations and therefore, a contingent fee is very common in such cases.

Contingent Fees

If you are convinced that a discrimination lawsuit is the only way to teach your employer a good lesson in the court, talk to your lawyer about contingent fee arrangement. It is ideal for those who are keen on suing their employers for any type of discrimination they have faced at the workplace but are unable to afford an hourly fee for services provided by the lawyers.

A contingent fee refers to a percentage of any sums agreed upon by both parties – lawyer and client –and the professional recovers on your behalf after successful negotiations and trials. Usually, contingent fees can be anything between one-third and 40% of a client’s recovery.

Other Agreements

You and your employment attorney can agree to a hybrid fee arrangement, which is actually a mix of all the above-stated agreements. Such type of fee arrangement leads to a reduced contingent fee or a reduced hourly fee. A hybrid fee arrangement works fine for a defined service and incentivizes an attorney that he/she will receive some fees whatever the outcome might be.