By L.M. Sixel
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Check out these four legal phrases you can use for common problems. According to columnist L.M. Sixel, deploying the right in-the-know phrase signals that you know your rights and you’re not afraid to get a lawyer involved
Sometimes you want your boss, airline or landlord to know you mean business. Maybe it’s because being nice isn’t working. Maybe you want to draw a line in the sand. Or you just want what you have coming under the law.
Whatever the motivation, the language you use can make all the difference.
Deploying the right in-the-know phrase signals that you know your rights and that you’ve probably got a lawyer on speed dial.
Below are four legal phrases to use for common problems, including how to ask for help with your disability at work, what to do if you get unexpectedly stuck at an airport or come home to find your air conditioning broken.
With a little practice they should roll off your tongue.
— Similarly situated employees: It is a fancy way of saying it’s not just you. Are you not getting paid overtime and you should? Are men getting raises but the women aren’t? If you complain to your boss –or file complaints with federal regulators –you can say it is affecting you and similarly situated employees. That odd legal phrasing –commonly used by employment lawyers but not many others–will likely cause the folks in human resources to wonder if you’re taking to a lawyer.
— Contract of carriage: This is the document that controls your air travel and determines whether you’ll get a free meal if your flight is delayed, what you can check in your baggage and what you’re owed if the flight is oversold. Every airline has one. If you are stuck at the airport because your flight has been cancelled and you can’t get rebooked for another three days, ask the gate agent for a copy of the airline’s contract of carriage. Or pull up a copy on your phone. Then read it carefully to see how it applies to your situation.