Compensation in Wrongful Termination Lawsuits: How Much Can You Sue For?
If you feel blindsided by an unjust firing that compromised your career, understanding your legal rights is essential. Partnering with an experienced wrongful termination attorney can help objectively evaluate your situation, identify state or federal law violations, and pursue maximum financial damages through settlement or litigation.
With the right legal support, an unlawful termination can be transformed into fair compensation.
This article will explain what constitutes wrongful termination, the potential value of these claims, and how an employment law attorney at TONG LAW can maximize your recovery under California law. We aim to empower you to make informed decisions during a challenging crossroads in your career and life.
Defining Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination law aims to protect employees from abusive or discriminatory treatment. Also called wrongful discharge or wrongful firing, wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires you for an unlawful reason that violates your rights under state or federal law.
Common illegal grounds for termination include:
- Discrimination based on age (over 40 years old), race, sex, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or another protected class
- Retaliation for whistleblowing, complaints, or asserting other legal rights
- Refusing to commit an illegal act ordered by an employer
- Taking legally entitled leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- A breach of your employment contract
These actions contradict public policies meant to protect employees. If you were fired for an unlawful reason, you likely have a credible wrongful termination claim.
Damages Available in Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
If your attorney can prove you were fired for an unlawful reason, California law provides several types of monetary damages to compensate you for your losses.
Lost Income and Benefits
This includes reimbursement for back pay covering the wages you lost from the time of termination up until a settlement is reached or a court verdict is awarded. If finding comparable new employment takes an extended period, you may also recover “front pay” to compensate for projected future lost earnings.
Any bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, health insurance, retirement benefits, and other job perks you lost due to the termination are also included in your lost income claim. Recovering these tangible financial losses is typically the primary goal in wrongful termination cases.
Emotional Distress Damages
Beyond direct economic impacts, getting fired unjustly can inflict severe emotional and psychological injuries as well. These may include heightened anxiety, depression, damage to your professional reputation, harm to personal relationships, and other types of intangible trauma.
While not directly measurable in dollars, California law recognizes these as concrete injuries through emotional distress damages. Having documentation from a therapist, doctor, or other professional greatly strengthens these claims.
In exceptional cases where the employer’s actions were egregious, malicious, or reckless, you may recover punitive damages in addition to economic and emotional distress damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish employers who violate laws and public policy in an outrageous manner and to deter similar misconduct in the future.
Because the vast majority of wrongful termination suits are settled before trial, punitive damages are less common in wrongful discharge cases. However, the threat of punitive damages gives your attorney additional leverage when pursuing a favorable settlement.
Understanding the range of damages available empowers you to make informed decisions when evaluating the potential value of your wrongful termination case.
Maximizing the Value of Your Case
To maximize the potential value of your wrongful termination case, we recommend taking proactive steps from the outset.
Seek Legal Counsel
Consulting with an experienced attorney immediately allows us to start building leverage in your case right away through prompt investigation and assessment under the law. We can send spoliation letters to preserve relevant evidence and subpoena any documents related to your employment and termination. The sooner we can build a compelling timeline of events, identify potential legal violations, and calculate provable damages, the more pressure we can apply during settlement and severance negotiations.
Additionally, be sure to personally gather and organize any relevant documents and evidence you possess, such as employment contracts, office correspondence, performance reviews, emails, texts, and notes of interactions with supervisors or HR. We can provide a checklist of recommended documents to collect. Having these materials organized early on helps your employment attorney evaluate which laws were violated and construct a thorough case.
If a settlement cannot be reached directly with your employer, consider mediation as an alternative to trial. Settling through mediation typically yields higher financial compensation while avoiding the significant time commitment, stress, and uncertainty of litigation. Your attorney can advise if mediation appears suitable based on the employer and the specifics of your situation.
How a Wrongful Termination Attorney Can Help
Navigating complex employment laws on your own after an unjust firing can feel daunting. An experienced wrongful termination lawyer levels the playing field. With deep knowledge of California and federal law, an attorney can:
- Objectively evaluate the lawfulness of your termination
- Identify violations of state or federal law
- Thoroughly investigate and build a compelling legal case
- Calculate all recoverable damages related to income, benefits, reputation, emotional distress
- Negotiate the most favorable settlement from your employer
- Alleviate the substantial burden on you as the wronged employee
An unlawful termination can yield fair financial compensation with the right legal support.
Don’t Accept an Unlawful Termination – Contact TONG LAW Today
Losing your job unfairly can derail your career and compromise your sense of justice. Rest assured that with the right legal team guiding you, an unjust termination can be transformed into fair compensation.
TONG LAW has helped numerous California professionals like yourself recover damages after wrongful discharge. We utilize our in-depth knowledge of California wrongful termination law to build irrefutable cases and apply maximum pressure on employers.
If you believe your termination violated state or federal law, don’t wait to assert your rights. Contact us today for a confidential case evaluation. We’ll review your situation, offer invaluable insights, and chart the clearest path forward.