Are you in the process of filing an employment claim and have questions about what to expect after filing a wrongful termination? Call us now.
1) Choosing a Wrongful Termination Attorney
We recently had a case that went all the way through trial. We spent two years with the person, getting to know her claims and getting to know her case, getting to know her child, getting to know her family, and then spending three weeks with her at trial, and getting a verdict that made her whole. We received a nice letter. I received a handwritten thank you note from her about what the firm meant to her. When I look back at the case, it reminds me how important it is that you look for a firm that can take care of you from the day that they pick up the phone call, all the way through to the end.
Not all cases end in a verdict. Not all cases go to a jury. A lot of cases settle. If you’re looking to hire a law firm, I encourage you to look, at least, at these factors. One, do they focus on California labor and employment law? Is that what they focus in? Is that what they focus in? Is that what they spend researching, and is that their expertise? It can include both workers’ compensation and wrongful termination. It can include retaliation. It can include labor law issues. Is what the purpose of the firm there to exist is to represent employees and only employees?
The next issue is, in addition to having that expertise, do they have the resources? Does the firm have the ability to go the entire way? Do they have the attorneys that can be put on a case to match the fire power of the defense? If we need attorneys in two, three different places, or two or three different states at one time, do they have the ability to do that? If they need depositions in Florida, does it stretch the firm to get out to Florida to go do the deposition? If you want ten people deposed, does the law firm have the ability to fund that litigation so it’s not a burden on you?
The last issue is whether or not they’re actually trial attorneys. You’d be surprised how many times people hire an attorney only to find out, or maybe never to find out, that the attorney never tried the case. Make sure that you have the expertise that can take the case the minute it walks in, all the way to the end.
If you have any questions about the process, about the selection of an attorney, I’m always happy to discuss those issues. Feel free to give us a call. I’ll answer any questions that you may have.
2) Looking for Another Job
Last month we were trying a case in San Bernardino Superior Court, and in that case we were seeking specific damages. The reality is, for most of our cases, we’re seeking very similar, if not the same, damages. In a wrongful termination case, those damages are typically characterized in these categories. One, emotional distress. What was the emotional distress of losing the job? What impact did it have on your daily life, your monthly life? The sleepless nights, the anger, the frustration, the self-doubt – all of those issues are part of your emotional distress, and we ask a jury to compensate you for that. It’s not exactly clear as to what that is, but we do ask the jury to put a dollar figure on that. That includes both past emotional distress, and we also ask them about future emotional distress. The impact that the termination had on you or will have on you in the future is called future emotional distress.
In the same way that we ask for emotional distress, we also ask for back wages and front wages. This economic award basically says that you used to make X, and now you make Y, and that the difference is what you’re entitled to. You used to have healthcare or health insurance, you used to have vacation, you used to have all these other benefits that you no longer have. Maybe by the grace of God, you found a new position that pays better, but it took you six months to find that job. You’re entitled to that wage loss of those six months. Again, you’re entitled to that emotional distress for not having that job for the six months and the uncertainty that caused.
Depending on the type of employer, we also seek punitive damages, an award to punish the employer to make sure that they don’t do that again. Lastly, if we’re successful at trial, we’ll also bring a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs, basically saying that you shouldn’t have to pay for attorneys’ fees and costs, that that should be borne by the employer. If you’ve been wrongfully terminated and you want to have a conversation as to what damages are available if you bring a lawsuit, I’m always happy to discuss those issues with you. If you have any questions, feel free to give the firm a call and we can discuss.
3) Available Damages
A lot of times when I meet with a new client after they’ve been terminated and we’re going to take their case, the question is, “Now what? Where do I go from here?” One of the things that we discuss is you needing to take care of yourself and your family. I encourage people to file for unemployment. The fact that your employer has terminated you doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to unemployment. In fact, if you were wrongfully terminated, the employer shouldn’t be able to wrongfully terminate and claim that you’re not entitled to unemployment.
After you file for unemployment, the next step is to start looking for work, assuming you’re able to look for work. If they’re terminating you while you’re out on medical leave, continue with your medical care. Take care of yourself. Get healthy. Once you’re healthy enough to work, or if you were never out because of medical issues, start looking for work. The law expects you to find comparable work. Comparable work is work that’s similar in wage, similar in benefits, and similar in location. While you theoretically don’t have to take any job that comes along, most of my clients want to work, they need to work, and they’ll look for work. While your case is pending, look for work and document that work that you did.
If you are able to find work and it’s not perfect, it pays less or the benefits are less, those are one of the remedies that we’ll seek – at your old job, you made X; now you make a little bit less. Your old job had health benefits and this new job doesn’t. It took you six months to find a job that was comparable. For those six months, you’re entitled to that compensation to make you whole.
If you get wrongfully terminated, the expectation that you do go find comparable work, to the degree that comparable work isn’t comparable, we’ll find an attorney that will fight for you. Hopefully you can find a better job, one that pays better, has better benefits, so that could be at least one bright issue after being terminated from a job that you didn’t want to be terminated from. If I can answer any of those questions, feel free to give me a call.
Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim and have questions about what to expect after filing a wrongful termination? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
We can help get your life back on track.
Like Us on Facebook