Written by attorney Steven Mark Sweat

What Can I Claim As Damages In A California Wrongful Termination of Employment Claim?

If you file a wrongful termination claim in California, you may claim the following damages:

(1) All of your lost earnings from the date of the termination until you are able to obtain another job at or above the rate of pay you were earning;

(2) The value of any benefits you lose from the date of termination until you are able to get another job with the same or similar value benefits. This can include health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, life and other types of insurance;

(3) General Damages for emotional distress related to your loss of income and the disruption that this causes to your lifestyle.

(4) Loss of credit rating. This is an often forgotten damage but, there are consultants that can be hired to determine a money value for the reduction of your credit rating due to financial hardship from losing your job.

(5) If your claim involves a claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (includes racial, gender, medical and family leave, disability and other discrimination and harassment claims) or causes of action under the California Labor Code (e.g. claims to recover wrongfully withheld wages), then you may be entitled to your attorneys fees at a reasonable hourly rate based upon the experience of your attorney and the hourly rate customary for the community. It doesn't matter if your attorney takes your case on a "contingent fee" (i.e. no recovery no fee) basis. You are still entitled to these damages, which can many times be as much or more than your other damages. This provides a lot of leverage in settlement negotiations. You should also discuss with your attorney and make sure, like me, they will charge this as part of their "percentage of recovery" and not in addition to their "percentage of recovery" in the case of a "no fee, no recovery", contingent fee agreement.

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