How to Research Lawsuits Involving a Prospective Employer

Is it important to know if a prospective employer is involved in pending lawsuits? It might, depending on the nature of the law suit and any factors that might impact your employment.

I conducted a brief search on one of the largest employers in the country and I found more lawsuits than I could count. Should that change my decision to accept an employment offer from this company? What about a small biomedical company involved in a patent battle over a key product? Each situation will be different.

Taking these steps to perform research using free resources is worth the effort to ensure you know as much as possible about a potential employer:

  1. Use Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) to search for pending court cases.
  2. Search for the target company on the Stanford University Securities Class Action Clearinghouse website.
  3. For companies that operate in the USA, source U.S. government websites, such the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice websites.
  4. If your target company is a public company in the USA, check Securities Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database for filings to identify lawsuits disclosed by the company.
  5. Many counties have online search resources. You can check with the appropriate municipal court where the company is located. Some companies have multiple locations. If so, check the county of the local branch you are targeting, as well as, the county of the company’s headquarters.
  6. Conduct a search using local, industry, or national media to find additional information about settled or potential cases.

These resources are excellent ways to uncover new information about a prospective employer. There may be gaps in the research. In other words, you may not find all of the pending legal action. Also, keep in mind that cases settled out of court may not be included in these resources. The information that you discover will be another valuable piece of information to determine if a company is a good match for you.