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How Much Can You Get from a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?
You may be reading this article because you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, and you want to know what you can get out of a wrongful termination lawsuit. Given that the main thing you can get out of a wrongful termination lawsuit is monetary compensation, the question becomes how much monetary compensation you can get from a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Determining how much you can get from a wrongful termination lawsuit can only be done on a case-by-case basis. While cases may share certain similarities, every case is different. Contact the wrongful termination attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC, who understand how wrongful termination lawsuits work and can guide you through the process.
Monetary compensation for wrongful termination cases is based on many factors including the following:
Past and future lost earnings. In appropriate cases, a plaintiff in a wrongful termination case may be entitled to past lost earnings, which is the amount of wages, including any benefits and pay increases, the plaintiff would have earned up to the present if the plaintiff had not been wrongfully terminated but instead had remained employed with her former employer. A plaintiff may also be entitled to future earnings, which is the present cash value of wage and benefits she would have earned for the time her employment would have reasonably continued had she not been wrongfully terminated. In estimating how long the plaintiff’s employment would have reasonably continued, factors such as the plaintiff’s age, health, and work performance may be taken in account.
Emotional Distress Damages. In appropriate cases, a plaintiff in a wrongful termination case may be entitled to damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, and other emotional or mental injuries she suffered because of the wrongdoing of her former employer. While emotional distress damages cannot be quantified as readily as past and future lost earnings, they are no less worthy. In fact, in wrongful termination cases, emotional distress damages can be significant.
When you are wrongfully terminated, you are not being fired because of the quality or quantity your work. Rather, you may very well have been fired because of who you are, often based on a trait you were born with and have no ability to change even if you wanted to. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California Government Code sections 12900 – 12996, prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, including termination, based on an employee’s race; religious creed; color; national origin and ancestry; physical disability; mental disability; medical condition and genetic information; marital status; sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression; age (at least 40 years old); or veteran or military status.
Another type of wrongful termination occurs when you speak out because the employer has engaged in a practice you believe violates the law. This commonly occurs when an employee complains of unlawful pay or work safety practices, or practices that endanger patients or staff in a healthcare setting. You sought to do the right thing. You sought to protect the welfare or assert the legal rights of fellow coworkers, patients, customers, or other members of the public and you were unfairly singled out and fired for it. See Healthcare Worker Retaliation Lawyer and Whistleblower Lawyer for more information.
As a victim of wrongful termination, understandably you may feel stressed, depressed, suffer a loss of enjoyment of life or sleep disturbance. You may have headaches, or lose weight, suffer difficulties with your relationships, or bouts of vomiting or crying spells. All of these are potential grounds for recovering emotional distress damages in a wrongful termination case.
While some wrongful termination cases go to trial and are decided by a jury, many more resolve through a settlement. While some cases settle through informal discussions between the parties; many others resolve through mediation. Mediation is a process by which the parties resolve the case outside of court through use of a mediator, usually a retired judge or an attorney experienced in helping resolve employment cases. The advantage of resolving a case outside of court is that the terms of the settlement are entirely under the control of the parties. The plaintiff makes the ultimate decision on whether to accept any monetary compensation offered to resolve the case.Factors that Can Influence How Much You Might Get From a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
- Organize the facts of your claim. The better you chronicle the events leading up to your termination, including identifying all persons involved and collecting relevant documents, the better equipped your attorney will be to pursue your claim.
- The Outrageousness of Your Former Employer’s Conduct. Evidence that your former employer made fairly direct comments concerning your protected status (such as “when are you thinking of retiring,” “we should get better acquainted because I can get you a promotion,” or “you shouldn’t have made a complaint to the Labor Commissioner”) may affect the amount of any monetary recovery.
- Your Rate of Pay. Higher paid employees sometimes receive greater monetary recovery, as the amount of earnings they lose when wrongfully terminated tends to be greater.
- The Length of Your Employment. Long-term employees generally tend to receive greater monetary recovery, as they are generally perceived as losing employment which they value highly, and thus suffer greater emotional distress from being wrongfully terminated than short-term employees.
- Your Former Employer’s Defenses. An employer will usually defend a wrongful termination lawsuit by offering a lawful reason for your termination, such as attendance or poor work performance. If the reason given comes off as a blatant sham reason, it may affect the amount of monetary recovery.
These are just a few of the factors that can affect how much you can get from a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Thus, while there is no clear way to gauge how much you can get from a wrongful termination lawsuit, hiring an experienced and dedicated wrongful termination attorney is essential.Contact Us
If you have been wrongfully terminated, or if you believe your employer or former employer has otherwise violated your rights, call the experienced employment law attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form.