If your employer has recently laid you off, you may be swimming in an ocean of thoughts concerning your legal claims. May be your employer doesn’t like the way you carry out your duties or any other reason; they can terminate you in California. Meaning, you can be fired at any time without notice. Nevertheless, as we will see later, there are ways in which an employer can be deemed to violate employees’ rights. If the employer violates the law, you may have a right to file a wrongful termination claim. One of the burning questions to most or all of the wrongful termination victims is the damages to be collected after a successful claim.
Reasons for Wrongful Termination In California
Most of the employees fired don’t have any legal recourse to take; for instance, if one has been hired for poor performance or misconduct, they may not have any legal claim. But if you believe to have been wrongfully terminated, top labor lawyers in Orange County Ca, can help you collect the benefits you deserve. Your employer can illegally fire you under the following reasons:
- Discrimination: It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against any protected class such as race, color, national origin, sex, among others. The law protects employees either through:
- Federal anti-discrimination that applies to employers with 15 or more employees or
- State anti-discrimination laws that apply to employers with 5 or more employees
- Exercising a legal right: If you have complained of workplace illegality and your employer seems to be against that, you may have a claim. For instance, if your employer requested you to lie about a certain investigation in your company, refusal to such a request may lead to your job termination. No one should be fired, refusing to participate in illegal activity.
- Retaliation: You may be fired for trying to enforce an employment right. For instance, you may have filed an OSHA claim, which triggered a healthy and safety inspection in your company.
There are many bases on which you can have a wrongful termination claim. However, you need an employment lawyer to know whether you may have a claim against your employer.
Damages Awarded For Wrongful Termination In California
Common damages awarded to an employee after a successful wrongful claim include:
- Lost wages and benefits: If you were wrongfully terminated, the chances are that you may be having financial difficulties. If your case is successful, you may be required to show the amount you would have earned were it not for the wrongful termination.
- Attorney’s fees and court costs: In some cases, the court awards settlement for attorney’s fees, court costs such as expert witness fees, filing fees, among other related court expenses.
- Emotional distress: A good number of employees experience pain and suffering after termination. It becomes worse if the wrongful termination follows an extended period. Since California State is lenient on employees regarding discrimination, one may recover a considerable amount of settlement for their pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are awarded to ensure the defendant doesn’t repeat the same mistake. Though such damages are rare, the court has been known to make sure employers pay for their egregious conduct.
You may have additional costs incurred due to discrimination. The cost could include temporary accommodation if you were residing in company houses, removal costs, or even medical costs you could have incurred while taking antidepressants due to emotional distress. You can even claim for future expenses. However, you will need to prove the relationship between the loss and the wrongful termination.
How Will My Wrongful Termination Damages Be Calculated?
Any amount you will receive will be based one:
- The facts underlying your case
- The legal basis for your wrongful termination claim
To calculate damages in wrongful termination case, the court will consider the wages or salary you would have earned were it not for the wrongful termination until the day of final judgment. The next thing would be to calculate any future lost wages. Though this is challenging, some factors, such as your age and work performance, will be used to come with a figure. Remember that the court will factor in the attempt you made to mitigate the damages after losing your job. Meaning, any damages you receive after settlement may be reduced by the amount you would have earned in a similar job to the one you lost.
For payments of emotional distress, it becomes hard to come with a definite figure. But with the help of an experienced labor lawyer, you can be assured of getting the right settlement, which will mostly depend on the size of your employer.
Working with An Experienced Labor Lawyer
Even if you have been wrongfully terminated, it’s not obvious that you will receive a higher settlement. Again, your employer may lure you into accepting an offer after learning you want to file a claim. In any way, you will need legal guidance to avoid making mistakes. One of the most significant moves you can make towards increasing your settlement is to work with an experienced labor lawyer. Wrongfully terminated employees who choose to have such attorneys on their side have increased compensation compared to those who have had self-representation.