My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: NY
I have just taken over a nightmare of a situation. Our inhouse counsel left 4 months ago and I feel that she gave improper guidance on handling an internal issue that has blown up. It is my task now to recruit for a new attorney and undo her poor advice. Brief Backstory. Mid size firm in NY. We had a part-time general counsel in house. One of our lower level employees made an internal complaint about another employee. A male employee told a female employee that "she needs to learn her place and that she should only speak when spoken too. She was not at all pleased by these comments and made a heavy stink about it. She sent numerous emails to our general counsel complaining that were very hostile. General Counsel recommended that we terminate her but to classify it as a lay-off to avoid angering her further. General Counsel prepared a one paragraph memo that only stated that her position was being eliminated and to apply for unemployment. Well she collected full unemployment benefits for about 6 months and then just 2 weeks ago, files a lawsuit against us for discrimination on sex and retaliation.
I interviewed today with a law firm but they want 50,000 retainer. They briefly mentioned laying a person off when you should really terminate them is the worst case scenerio. Are they calling our bluff and just trying to get us to fork over a huge retainer. If we are found to be liable can we sue our former general counsel for poor and false legal advice? thank you so much.