An employee who was unlawfully fired or laid off may be entitled to financial compensation and/or equitable relief through a wrongful termination lawsuit.
This is a complicated question; there is no true straightforward answer.
Some wrongful termination claims are settled for around $10,000, while others are eventually resolved for multi-million dollar awards. Every California wrongful termination claim must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you were unlawfully terminated, you deserve a settlement that accounts for the true value of your individual damages.
Know Your Damages: Wrongful Termination Settlements
Trying to calculate the average lawsuit settlement for wrongful termination is not the proper way to think about your case. If you were illegally fired, you deserve the maximum available financial award. The full extent of your damages should be covered.
As explained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the nature of damages available to a plaintiff in an employment law claim — including in a wrongful termination lawsuit — is determined “by the nature and severity of their proven injuries.” Your settlement will depend entirely on the nature of your case.
If you are bringing a wrongful termination lawsuit, you have the legal burden of proving that you were fired unlawfully and you have the burden of proving the extent of your damages. In California, the value of a wrongful termination case largely depends on the following factors:
- Back Pay/Front Pay: Employees may be entitled to both back pay and front pay in their wrongful termination settlement. Back pay is the amount of wages that the worker would have earned from the employer had they not been unlawfully fired. Front pay allows workers to seek additional financial relief, should it take time to transition into a new position. Be sure that you have carefully organized your financial documents and employment records.
- Loss of Benefits: Beyond covering lost wages, a wrongful termination settlement should also account for the loss of benefits. For example, if you were illegally fired and you lost your health insurance, you may have been forced to buy coverage out of your own pocket. You may also have incurred additional health care costs that would have otherwise been covered by your employer-based plan. Through a wrongful termination claim, you may be able to recover for those damages.
- Emotional Distress: In some cases, employees can seek compensation for emotional distress. Recovering for a non economic loss like emotional distress can be more challenging, so it is crucial that plaintiffs build a strong, well documented legal case.
- Attorneys’ Fees and Court Costs: Another factor that must be considered in a wrongful termination settlement is the plaintiff’s legal costs. If you were wrongfully terminated in California, your settlement should account for any court costs and for reasonable attorneys’ fees. Simply put, you should not have to pay a lawyer out of your own pocket.
- Punitive Damages: Finally, in especially egregious cases, punitive damages may be available to the plaintiff. As noted by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, punitive damages are awarded to punish the bad actions of the defendant. If your case involves an extreme, blatant wrongful termination, you may be able to get a settlement that provides some form of punitive compensation.
Maximize Your Wrongful Termination Settlement By Building a Strong Case
Employers have a strong financial incentive to settle wrongful termination cases for the lowest amount possible. To obtain a full and fair settlement offer, employees must present a thoroughly documented, compelling legal claim.
Similar to other employment law cases, defendants will only truly begin to offer a fair wrongful termination settlement when they recognize that they could be subject to substantial financial liability if the case were to go to trial.
If you were unlawfully fired, it is imperative that you seek representation from a top-rated employment lawyer who has the skills and legal experience needed to help you maximize your wrongful termination settlement.
Contact Our Los Angeles, CA Wrongful Termination Attorneys Today
At Workplace Rights Law Group LLP, our California wrongful termination lawyers are committed to helping our clients protect their legal rights and financial interests. If you or your loved one was wrongfully discharged, we will help you maximize your settlement offer.
To set up a free review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today.