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Wrongful Termination -- Employee Law

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How Much Is a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Worth?

You got fired. Now you’re wondering how much you can win if you sue. The answer depends on several factors, including the reason your employer fired you and your wages.

This article reviews typical damages in a wrongful termination claim. Wrongful termination laws vary by state. Consider speaking with a wrongful termination lawyer in your area. An experienced attorney can explain your legal rights and help you file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Most United States employees are at-will. At-will employment means you or your boss can end your job for any reason. But state and federal laws limit the reasons your employer can fire you. Wrongful termination is when your boss fires you for a reason not allowed by the law.

Illegal reasons to fire an employee include the following:

  • Discrimination based on protected characteristics, including race, color, national origin, sex, and disability
  • Breach of a written or implied employment contract
  • Retaliation for participating in a protected activity like reporting unsafe working conditions or being a whistleblower

What Types of Damages Are Available?

Damages vary depending on the unique facts of your case. Generally, you can win compensatory damages. These damages include lost pay and benefits. In some cases, you can also win punitive damages. Federal and state laws may put a cap on the amount of money you can win.

How much your case is worth can also depend on whether you reach an out-of-court settlement or win in court.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are to reimburse you for your actual financial losses. They include:

  • Backpay for your lost wages and lost benefits, such as health insurance
  • Front pay is wages and benefits like backpay that covers the time from the end of your case to when you go back to work
  • Medical expenses resulting from your boss firing you
  • Reimbursement for job search costs from looking for new employment
  • Attorney fees and other court costs

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages cover losses that are hard to place a dollar value on, like emotional distress.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages punish the employer for egregious conduct. They also keep other companies from wrongfully firing their employees. You can only get punitive damages in some instances, and they are often capped.


A court could order your former employer to give you back your job. But reinstatement could create an uncomfortable situation, so it’s not always the best choice.

What Is the Average Wrongful Termination Settlement?

The amount depends on the specific facts of your case. It’s difficult to predict what you can expect. Even coming up with the average settlement amount is tricky. The reason the employer fired the employee impacts the settlement. Whether the employer acted egregiously also makes a big difference. Generally, settlement amounts can range from $5,000 to $100,000 or more.

Contact a Wrongful Termination Lawyer for Help With Your Case

How much you can win if you win your wrongful termination case can vary. These cases can be complex and depend on your specific circumstances. Your former employer will also have a team of employment attorneys to represent them. A good wrongful termination attorney will protect your legal rights. They can guide you in your wrongful termination case and help you get a higher settlement.

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