A wrongful termination is defined as the discharge of an employee by an employer that results in a breach of contract or violation of a law. Many wrongful termination lawsuits stem from some kind of discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, however there are other forms of wrongful terminations like if an employer fires an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or if an employee is fired for refusing to engage in illegal activity from the request of the employer. Also, sometimes wrongful termination cases are a result of an employer’s illegal retaliation. Many employees are protected under the law from retaliation such as negative employment actions like firing. However, this does not stop employers from illegally firing employees as a response to employees trying to enact their rights. If you were wrongfully terminated for any reason, you need to speak with one of our wrongful termination lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group. If you were wrongfully terminated, a lawsuit may be able to recover you your job back, back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and any expenses related to the lawsuit itself.
A wrongful termination lawsuit can be worth a substantial amount of money. The money you may be able to receive is based on several different factors. Let’s look at how everything breaks down. The most common factors looked at when determining how much you will receive are: wage loss, lost benefits, and emotional distress. Wage loss is considered the amount of wages the employee lost from the date of the termination up to the present. However, if you were wrongfully terminated and decided to look for another job and were hired, then any wages earned from that job will be deducted from this. If you have not been able to find a new job by the time the trial has started, you may be able to college future wage loss, or front pay. Lost benefits are calculated when determining how much you may receive. For example, if you lost your health insurance as a result of your wrongful termination and had to purchase some on your own, your employer may be liable for these payments. If your discharge caused emotional distress like depression or anxiety, you may be able to be compensated for this as well. Most of the times, this last one applies to cases that involve harassment and discrimination.
Was I wrongfully terminated?
Wrongful terminations are the exception to at-will employment relationships between employees and employers. An at-will employment relationship means that the employee or employer is free to end their relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without reason. All employment relationships are assumed to be at-will in every state except for Montana. In California, there is a covenant of good faith exception to at-will employment relationships. This means that employer decisions are subject to a just cause standard and discharges motivated by malice are prohibited.
As it was mentioned before, a wrongful termination can also be from a breach of contract. If your discharge goes against a contract that is explicit or implicit, this is considered illegal and a case for a wrongful termination lawsuit. An implied contract can be an agreement that was made verbally between you and your employer, and which your employer is obligated to adhere to. In order to prove you and your employer had an implied contract which was then broken when wrongfully terminated, you have to prove it through your employer’s behavior. So California courts will usually take into account an employer’s general personnel policies and practices; the length of time you had worked with the employer; actions or communications from the employer that implied you were guaranteed continued work; and general practices within your industry. If you are unsure how to do this, one of our skilled attorneys can help you prove your implied contract was broken.
Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
There are many laws that may be broken through a wrongful termination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment based on someone’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Being terminated from your job because any of these factors is a type of unlawful employment practice and warrants a wrongful termination lawsuit. However, there are other types of unlawful employment practices besides being discharged that are also covered under this law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the entity that enforces TItle VII, defines unlawful employment practices as anytime an employer fails or refuses to discharge an employee or discriminates against someone in respect to their compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. It’s also unlawful for an employer to limit, segregate, or classify an employee in a way that deprives them from opportunities or negatively affects their employment status. Amended under this law is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which includes discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions as sex discrimination.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a state version of Title VII. The act prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on a protected category. The listed protected categories include: race/color, ancestry/national origin, religion/creed, age (over 40), mental and physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, and military or veteran status. It’s likely, if your employer violated your rights under Title VII, they also violated your rights under the FEHA.
How much can I get from a wrongful termination lawsuit?
While winning a wrongful termination lawsuit may gain you emotional and psychological redemption, we also understand monetary payments are important to. Many people want to pursue a case to seek peace of mind, closure, or punishment for an employee’s wrongdoing. We understand the importance of emotional stability. But with that being said, let’s take a look at the limits for how much actual money you be be able to recover for a wrongful termination case. For compensatory damages, meaning out-of-pocket expenses combined with pain and suffering, Federal law establishes a limit based on the size of the company. For a company with 15-100 employees, the most one can receive in compensatory damages is $50,000; for a company with 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000; the cap for companies with 201-500 employees is $200,000; and companies with more than 500 employees can pay a maximum of $300,000 in compensatory damages. How much can you receive?
Free Consultation and Zero Fee Guarantee
While California does adhere to the at-will employment agreement, there are many exceptions that may result in a wrongful termination case. It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against you, retaliate against you for exercising your rights; break contracts, and more. If any of these cases apply to you, or you’re not sure if you have a case, do not hesitate to speak with one of our attorneys. There are no repercussions for just sitting down with one of our experience wrongful termination lawyers and finding out more about what you are protected from under state and federal laws. There are also no financial repercussions in doing this because we offer everyone a free consultation. We also offer a zero-fee guarantee, where you will not be charged any up front fees, and there is only a small fee if we win your case. We are essentially risk free; don’t gamble with your rights, come in to our firm instead!