Whether it is at the workplace or in a private setting, sexual discrimination and harassment are never acceptable. For this reason, you can file a lawsuit against someone who has discriminated against you or excluded you from opportunities due to your gender or sexual orientation. In Missouri, such cases are sometimes resolved between the two parties, but they often go to court, where you have to prove that the opposing party acted in an illegal way.
The lawyer you hire will help you prepare for the trial so you know what you should and shouldn’t say to the judge. In general, anything that can make you appear unprofessional or untrustworthy must be avoided. This includes getting angry, using overly casual language, and exaggerating your statements. Let’s have a closer look at the types of things that can make a bad impression on a judge and jury and should therefore not be said.
7 Things You Should Never Say in Court During a Sexual Discrimination Case in Missouri
1. “Always, Never”: Exaggerations and Overly Broad Statements
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t lie in the courtroom. However, many people don’t realize that exaggerations and overly broad statements can ruin your credibility in a similar way. If the judge and jury find out that you have stretched the truth or exaggerated, for example by stating that something “always” happened when it only happened once or twice, you seem less trustworthy. Unless this is the full truth, you should temper your statement and make sure it is fully accurate.
Your lawyer will speak to you about how to make sure you don’t say something that will need to be corrected later on. In most cases, it’s best to take a deep breath and think about what you’re going to say before you begin speaking. That way, you can double-check that you aren’t about to make a mistake. Having to retract a statement can make you appear untrustworthy, leading the judge to question everything else you have said.
2. Agreeing to What the Other Side Says
At some point in the trial, you might be asked questions by the opposing counsel. Many of them could begin with “Wouldn’t you agree that …” Be careful of answering these with a simple “yes”, especially if they are not 100% accurate. The other lawyer might be engaging in exaggeration, and you shouldn’t agree to something that isn’t exactly right. It’s always better to make statements in your own words since you have much more control that way.
3. Volunteering Too Much Information
You shouldn’t be too curt in your answers because this gives the impression that you don’t want to speak or are afraid of making a mistake. However, volunteering information that wasn’t asked for or speaking too much is also not advisable. Anything that is relevant to your case will be mentioned by your lawyer or asked for at some point, so there’s no need for you to add things that aren’t directly relevant to the case.
In fact, this can detract from the message you are trying to convey and make you appear insecure. Stick to the facts and avoid mentioning your opinions, facts you have heard from others, and the conclusions you have come to. Instead, it’s much more effective to let the judge come to their own decision after having heard all the evidence.
4. Getting Angry, Swearing, and Shouting
Sexual discrimination is hurtful and unfair, and most people in Missouri feel strongly about the topic. But no matter how angry you are at the opposite party, you need to remain calm in the courtroom. Shouting at them, interrupting them, or swearing during your trial won’t have the desired effect. Instead, it will make you look unprofessional and negatively impact the judge’s opinion of you.
To make sure you can remain cool when in court, your lawyer will go through the process with you and help you understand what will happen. They might even practice various scenarios, so you can get used to responding to statements by the opposing side. If you’re able to remain cool and collected, no matter how you feel on the inside, you will make a positive impression on everyone present.
5. A Completely Memorized Text
Great preparation is the key to success when it comes to a court trial. For this reason, you and your lawyer will need to gather all the relevant evidence and decide how you want to lay it out. You might write down sample statements and make notes about what to include in your testimony.
However, you shouldn’t memorize everything you want to say because this might cause you to sound unconvincing and stilted. Instead, you simply need to prepare the main ideas you want to convey. On the day, you can then express them in your own words, which makes the statements seem much more credible.
6. “Uh-huh, Whatever”: Unprofessional Language
7. “I’m Going to Appeal”: Threats
8. Questioning the Judge’s Competence
Finally, you should never insult the judge or question their competence by saying things that imply they have not understood the situation. Far from making you seem stronger or more knowledgeable, it is likely to turn the courtroom against you.
Judges are highly experienced individuals and will most likely be able to evaluate the situation correctly. Instead of making statements about their competence, you should let the evidence speak for itself and trust that they will make the right choice. If there is a problem with the final decision, you can let your lawyer handle the situation in a calm and professional manner.
Be Prepared for Court
In Missouri, sexual discrimination is a serious crime, and you can take someone to court if you believe that you have been passed over for a job or promotion, or you’ve been let go from your job because of your gender or sexual orientation. The best way to fight for your rights is to hire an experienced lawyer who has worked on discrimination cases before and can therefore help you figure out how to best lay out your case.
When speaking to witnesses, the other party, and the judge, it’s important to always avoid unprofessional language, which includes swearing, shouting, exaggerations, and threats. However, you should also be careful about agreeing to what the other side says and make sure all statements are phrased in your own words. Get in touch with us now at Holman Schiavone to learn more and book your initial meeting with one of our discrimination lawyers.