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What are the possible damages in a wrongful termination claim?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2022 | Employee Rights

Being fired from a job is never an enjoyable experience for people in Southern California. Sometimes people are fired due to their own actions or work performance. However, many others are fired for reasons that are beyond their control. It could be because there is a downturn within the business or their manager may not like them for one reason or another. It may also be because the employer is discriminating against them due to them being a part of a protected class.

Employers cannot make employment decisions based on people’s race, age, religion, disability, national origin, gender, gender identity and other protected classes. While most firings are perfectly legal even if they are not fair, if people are fired based on discrimination, they may have a wrongful termination claim against the employer.

Potential damages in a wrongful termination lawsuit

The main purpose of a wrongful termination claim is to receive compensation for being fired illegally. However, there are different types of damages that people can receive in a wrongful termination lawsuit.

  • The main compensation people can receive is back pay. This is the amount of money they would have earned if they had not been fired. Back pay can include lost benefits as well as potential raises they should have received between their firing and resolution of the lawsuit.
  • Compensation for mental anguish, emotional harm and loss of enjoyment of life from the wrongful termination.
  • Compensation for the costs of bringing the wrongful termination action such as attorney’s fees and other costs. There could also be medical costs depending on the situation.
  • There could also be punitive damages. These are damages specifically designed to punish the employer for their illegal actions.

Most employees are considered at-will employees. This means that for the most part, they have no guarantees on how long their employment will last. Just like they can quit at any time, they can be fired at any time. However, there is one big exception to this rule and that is that they cannot be fired based on discrimination.

Wrongful termination lawsuits in California can be effective ways of both ensuring that the employee is made whole after the firing, but also to ensure that the employer is held responsible for their illegal actions. These can be complicated matters though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.

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