Employer Strategies for Responding to Employee Demand Letters: Legal, Strategic and Ethical Considerations

Evaluating Whether to Settle or Take Preemptive Action; Determining What to Include or Exclude in Response

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, January 19, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to employers’ counsel for responding to demand letters sent by or on behalf of current or former employees prior to filing a lawsuit. The panel will discuss legal, strategic and ethical considerations for employers’ counsel in evaluating whether to pay the demand, make a counter offer, or take preemptive legal action in response to the demand. The panel will also discuss strategies and best practices for determining what to include or exclude in the response to avoid creating potential harm for the employer in future litigation.


An employer’s response to a demand letter received by or on behalf of current or former employees sets the tone for the litigation and ultimate resolution of the case. Upon receipt of an employee demand letter, employers’ counsel must carefully evaluate whether to pay the demand or provide a different response, taking into account legal, strategic and ethical considerations.

When crafting a response to a demand letter, employers’ counsel must ensure that they do not include facts, admissions or other statements that may have an adverse impact on the employer in future litigation. Truthfulness, accuracy, reasonableness and consistency are critical. In addition, counsel should consider whether to file a preemptive motion in lieu of a response to gain a position of control over the litigation and/or to curtail or weaken the employee’s future arguments.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses how employers’ counsel should proceed upon receipt of a demand letter sent by or on behalf of a current or former employee, including a discussion of legal, strategic and ethical considerations.


  1. Considerations in determining whether to respond to the demand letter
    1. Legal
    2. Strategic
    3. Ethical
  2. Deciding what to include in the demand letter response
  3. Effective preemptive strategies upon receipt of a demand letter


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the key considerations for employers’ counsel when evaluating whether and how to respond to employee demand letters?
  • What are some of the pitfalls employers’ counsel have confronted when responding to demand letters and how can they be avoided?
  • How can counsel use preemptive actions as leverage in response to employee demand letters?


Adrian Hoppes, Esq.
Holden Law Group, Auburn, Calif.

Ms. Hoppes represents employers and managers in state and federal litigation and in the defense of administrative complaints. Ms. Hoppes has a keen understanding of the employment relationship, and practical experience in handling matters involving harassment, retaliation and discrimination. She also has extensive experience in training and staff development. She is a former attorney for a plaintiff-side employment law firm, allowing her to fully understand the best way to prevent and to rebut any allegation which may arise for employers.

H. Scott Johnson, Member
PCT Law Group, Alexandria, Va.

Mr. Johnson routinely represents Fortune 500 clients in employer-employee disputes arising under Title VII, and the FLSA, ADA, FMLA and ADEA, as well as issues pertaining to employment contracts and restrictive covenants. His complex civil litigation experience includes representing businesses in a wide-variety of contract disputes and business torts including tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, defamation, fraud, and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Judith Bevis Langevin, Partner
Zelle, Minneapolis

Ms. Langevin focuses her practice on employment litigation. She has built a prominent career defending employers in discrimination and wrongful termination litigation, including sexual harassment cases, and providing advice and training on personnel issues. Ms. Langevin frequently lectures and writes on employment law topics for both legal and business audiences, and serves as a mediator of employment disputes. 


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