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Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Can Plaintiffs be Anonymous in Employment Discrimination Lawsuits?


Complaining about employment discrimination, including filing a discrimination lawsuit against your employer, is a legally protected activity.  This means that it is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you once it finds out about the lawsuit.  Retaliation could include termination of employment, adverse actions such as demotion or denial of raises, or a hostile work environment characterized by harassment.  What happens if you fear that your family members will face harassment or retaliation as a result of your employment discrimination lawsuit?  A Los Angeles retaliation lawyer can help you prove that your employer’s recent adverse actions against you were the result of your discrimination complaint.

California Appeals Court Weighs Whether Employee Can Sue as “John Doe”

The use of the pseudonym “John Doe” is common enough in legal cases that even people who do not have direct experience with the legal profession recognize it as a generic pseudonym.  Several variations of the fictitious name “John Doe” exist in case law, such as “Jane Doe” for women.  In many cases, plaintiffs identify themselves by their real names in lawsuits, but they may identify some defendants as “John Doe” because they do not know the defendants’ real names.  The legal justification for doing this is that most legal actions have a statute of limitations.  When the case involves a lengthy investigation, the plaintiff might not have found out the names of all the people who played a role in the event over which the plaintiff is suing, even as the deadline approaches.  Therefore, the only way to meet the deadline is to identify some or all of the defendants by fictitious names.

An appeals court in California is currently considering whether to allow a plaintiff to use the fictitious name “John Doe” in a lawsuit against his employer because he fears that revealing his real name will expose his family members outside California to retaliation.  The plaintiff is an engineer who immigrated to California from India, where he belongs to a demographic group identified by the Indian Constitution as a “schedule caste,” which has historically been subjected to discrimination and economic disadvantage.  At his workplace in California, he faced discrimination from coworkers of Indian origin.  The plaintiff has asked the California court to identify him by a pseudonym, because he fears that, if he is publicly identified, his relatives in India will face harassment and retaliation, including but not limited to employment discrimination.  He fears that drawing attention to his family’s caste affiliation will cause his relatives to lose out on employment opportunities in India.  The court must weigh the plaintiff’s right to protection from retaliation against his family members outside California against the public’s right to transparency about legal proceedings.

Speak With a Los Angeles Employment Discrimination Lawyer

A Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer can help you if you fear that the harassment from your employer will only get worse if you file an employment discrimination lawsuit.  Contact Litigation, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call (424)284-2401.


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