The average wrongful termination settlement is $40,000, according to the EEOC. Up to 10% of wrongful termination cases result in a $1 million settlement.
However, because each wrongful discharge case is so unique, there is no guaranteed settlement amount. Many factors determine how much your wrongful termination case is worth.
What Damages Can I Get in a Wrongful Termination Case?
You can recover economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful termination case. Economic damages are easily quantified by actual monetary losses. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to value, as they are not directly linked to financial loss.
You can get the following types of damages in a wrongful termination case:
- Back pay or lost wages
- Front pay
- Lost benefits
- Lost retirement contributions
- Unpaid bonuses
- Emotional distress
- Stress and suffering
- Loss of professional reputation
Maximizing Your Wrongful Termination Settlement
You can get the most out of your wrongful termination settlement if you have good documentation about your damages.
You need to have clear information about your lost wages and unearned benefits. That might include:
- Check stubs
- Tax documents
- Statements about expected promotions
- Retirement account summaries
- Accrued paid time off (PTO), sick leave, and vacation time
You should also keep detailed records about how your employer’s conduct affected you to boost your non-economic damages. This might include a journal or testimony from friends and family about your emotional state.
Can I Get Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Termination Case?
Punitive damages are meant to punish the employer for knowingly disregarding your rights. They do not compensate you for losses. Wrongful termination settlements would not include punitive damages because that would involve the employer admitting to egregious wrongs. However, if you do sue your employer and get a wrongful termination verdict in court, you might be awarded punitive damages.
For example, if your employer has a history of terminating employees who file workers’ compensation claims, they know they are violating your rights. The jury or judge might assess punitive damages in such a case.
Can I Get Attorneys’ Fees and Costs in a Wrongful Termination Case?
Yes, you can get an award for your attorneys’ fees and litigation costs in a wrongful termination case. However, if you opt to take a settlement, your attorney will likely take these expenses out of your compensation. If you file a lawsuit and get a verdict, the court may award you a separate amount for these costs.
How Much Is My Wrongful Termination Case Worth?
Your employment lawyer will look at several factors to determine the value of your wrongful termination case. Some of those include:
- The amount of damages you suffered
- Your salary or hourly wage prior to termination
- Expected promotions or bonuses
- Annual bonuses or raises
- Unused benefits (paid time off (PTO), vacation time, sick time)
- Retirement accounts and expected contributions
- Health insurance contributions and costs
- Damage to your professional reputation
- Emotional distress you have suffered
These items directly relate to the amount of money you can get in a wrongful termination settlement. When your attorney calculates the value of your claim, they will review the total of your economic damages and apply an estimate to the value of your non-economic damages.
Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Termination Case
Some of your economic damages will be easy to value. For example, your back pay may be obvious when reviewing your prior salary and how much time you’ve missed of work since you were fired. However, there are some damages that are more difficult to value.
Financial expert opinions may be obtained to determine the value of your future pay, lost benefits, and other less obvious amounts.
Is There a Limit on Wrongful Termination Settlement Damages?
Your wrongful termination settlement may be limited by several factors, including:
- The strength of your proof against your employer
- The extent of your damages
- Whether your employer’s actions were knowing or egregious
- If your employer has a history of similar wrongful activity
- Whether your employer has insurance to cover your case
- Whether your employer has the money to pay a judgment or settlement
You must be willing to take your case as far as possible in order to get the most amount of money possible. If your employer does not think you will follow through with a lawsuit, they will be less likely to settle your case out of court. They may delay or deny your claim altogether.
Get the Most Out of Your Wrongful Termination Settlement
If you think your employer fired you for illegal reasons, you deserve to get the maximum amount of compensation possible. You need an employment lawyer in Los Angeles who will fight for your rights and ensure your employer does not take advantage of you. Call attorney Sam Setyan at Setyan Law at (213)-618-3655 for a consultation.