Recovering Damages in an Employment Law Claim
Watch this video to learn about recovering damages in an employment law claim. Contact our California employment law attorneys today.
What damages can I recover against my employer in an employment law claim?
I was talking to a client for whom we’d already filed an action, and we were sitting down, and I was having her go through a lot of questions as to what attorneys would refer to as damages. She asked a question: “Actually, I’ve never thought about it, but what damages am I entitled to as a result of bringing an employment claim in California?” We sat down and I talked to her about how she’s entitled to the damages that determination had on her, and I discussed with her that one of the big damages that we look at is emotional distress.
She had been working for this company for years. She had been working for the company for 17 years, and she had gotten injured and told her employer that she had an upcoming surgery. After 17 years, within four weeks, about two weeks before the surgery, they had written her up three times and then terminated her. I talked to her about the emotional stress of losing a job that she really, really enjoyed. She really enjoyed doing the work that she was doing. Also, in addition to having that loss of actually something that you enjoyed, we talked about the stress of not being able to pay rent on the apartment that she was at.
She talked about the fact that her son was going into junior high football, and that they would have a fundraiser where each family was expected to raise $250 per kid. She talked about the stress of going back to her family and trying to fund-raise that money because she had already gone to her family the month before to pay for rent. We talked about that embarrassment. She talked about waking up at two o’clock in the morning and feeling inadequate as a mom, and being a breadwinner for 17 years and that stress. We talked about the stress of going forward and what kind of stress she will have in looking for a job and the fact that she was on track to actually get a job about a week later, but would be making less, but she was just happy to have a job. That’s all she ever really wanted.
We talked about that stress of not having that kind of money to do small things and that impact. We talked about that emotional stress of losing a job. We also talked about the wages and that she would be entitled to back wages between the termination up through a jury trial, as well as economic damages going forward. She would be making about four dollars less an hour in her job that she’s about to take versus what she used to make. Four dollars an hour, roughly, is $8,000 a year and that’s going to play out for a good number of years as she tries to be compensated and to receive the same compensation that she used to receive.
Those are the two main factors involved: you have emotional stress, both back and front emotional stress, and you have benefits – wage loss, loss of medical benefits – both in the past and going forward. Depending on the employer, you also might be entitled to punitive damages, which is literally a number to punish the employer to say that their behavior was despicable and, as a result of that, they should be punished by having to pay money. Our system isn’t perfect. All we can ask of a jury is that they compensate you for the stress and anxiety of not having a job, and for feeling inadequate and angry. All we can do is ask for money to punish them, to get their attention that something went wrong.
Lastly, we’d also seek attorneys’ fees and costs. If it goes all the way to trial, we ask the court that you, as the injured party, shouldn’t have to pay for the attorneys’ fees and costs. Most of our cases do so. We do try cases, and in those cases that we try we do ask the court that the other side pay attorneys’ fees and costs. Most of our cases settle, and from that we would take our attorneys’ fees from a lump sum. That lump sum is to compensate you for your back wages and your front wages, and for your emotional stress, and for you to hopefully be made whole.
If you have a question as to what type of damages you should be able to seek against your employer for what they’ve caused to you, feel free to give us a call. I’m more than happy to discuss any questions you may have regarding your underlying claim and also to include any damages that you would be entitled to. I look forward to hopefully talking to you. If you have questions, always feel free to give us a call. Thanks.
Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California and have questions about recovering damages in an employment law claim? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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