Labor and employment issues are top-of-mind for employers as they come to terms with the realities of our changed economy and workplaces. Over the last few months, we have all seen small and large businesses go above and beyond to ensure employee safety and productivity amid COVID-19. However, we are also seeing an uptick in lawsuits in labor and employment law, many of which allege negligence and wrongful deaths stemming from shortcomings in companies’ COVID-19 policies and procedures (and lack thereof).
For those cases that make it to trial, they will undoubtedly be heard by jurors with COVID-19 concerns of their own. As we all know, keeping jurors engaged and attentive can be a tough proposition during the best of circumstances, let alone during a pandemic. Inattentive jurors are a major concern for all parties, so you will need to make sure the jury consistently hears and sees your client’s actions from voir dire through closing arguments. After all, trials are a re-creation of reality. For example, if your client dismissed an employee after repeated attendance issues, you will want to use a timeline or calendar exhibit to illustrate each occasion the plaintiff was late or absent from work. Playing deposition video clips of the plaintiff’s manager attesting to the facts outlined in your demonstrative is a great way to strengthen those facts.
Example of a Calendar Demonstrative Showing the Number of Times Employee was Absent
Example of a Timeline Demonstrative Showing Each Time Employee was Reprimanded
Conversely, if the discovery process does not yield compelling documentation or video, Trial Exhibits, Inc. can still assist you in effective storytelling. One solution is the use of infographics and animations that will hold jurors' attention, keep mental imagery to the facts in the case, and enhance the jury’s ability to see patterns and trends. In the end, the only facts that matter are the ones accepted by the jury, because those facts will control the jury’s verdict.