Classifications of Employment |
December 31, 2021

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Termination Case?

A wrongful termination lawsuit in California is a case filed by a worker against their employer to seek justice for what they believe or can show was being laid off or fired for an illegal reason. At Minnis & Smallets, we have helped and continue to help many workers in the San Francisco area to successfully pursue wrongful termination cases like this.

The most common claims of wrongful termination involve allegations of being terminated in violation of both federal and state law as relates to the following circumstances, among others:

  • Whistleblowing. It is now more common than before for employees to disclose their employer’s wrongdoing to a supervisor, law enforcement, or state agencies. This is known as whistleblowing, and California law protects the employee from being retaliated against by their employer for being a whistleblower.
  • Exercising Rights. Both federal and California laws give employees various rights and protections that they must exercise freely, such as reporting unlawful harassment or requesting a disability accommodation. If an employer fires a worker for exercising any of these rights, they are in violation of law and can be held accountable.
  • Public Policy. An employer’s termination of an employee’s employment could be found to be in violation of public policy, and this typically is found to be the case when an employee is terminated for refusing to go along or to cooperate in the employer’s intention to commit illegal acts or acts that are considered against the public policy of the state of California. 

Damages for Wrongful Termination

Exactly how much you may recover as compensation for your wrongful termination, known as “damages,” will depend on your individual facts and circumstances.

However, the following are damages generally recovered by those employees who are successful in making a case for wrongful termination:

Lost wages and benefits. An employee who prevails in a wrongful termination lawsuit can earn lost wages for the amount of salary that they lost as a result of the termination. This compensation can also include the value of any benefits that the employee could have expected to receive in the same period.

Non-Economic Damages. If you can show that you suffered emotional distress or went through pain and suffering as a result of being wrongfully terminated, you can be compensated as part of the damages from a successful lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination.

Punitive Damages. If you can demonstrate that the employer engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud, then you may be able to recover additional damages in the form of a penalty the employer will be forced to pay for their malicious behavior. This penalty is also intended to act as a deterrence, so the employer does not do this again to anyone else.

If you have been wrongfully terminated, the legal team of Minnis & Smallets can help. Please contact our office, and we will guide and help you as to what you need to do to vindicate your rights.