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Average Disability Discrimination Settlement in California

Posted by Eric Kingsley | May 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

As an employee in California, you have the right to a fair and discrimination-free workplace. But what happens when those rights are violated? That's when knowing how much the average disability discrimination settlement is could help. Putting your references at risk for nothing isn't worth $1,000.

disability discrimination illustration

Brace yourself, because the numbers might surprise you. While every case is unique, settlements can range from $25,000 to over $500,000. It's pretty impressive and goes to show, California doesn't play around when it comes to looking out for its workforce. We know because we have successfully fought and won several of these cases.

Beyond the cold hard stats, there's another layer to uncover here. Let's take a closer look at what goes into these settlements and how you can fight for what you deserve.

Table of Contents:

Average Disability Discrimination Settlements in California

Case Damages

Average Settlement Received


Between $25,000 and $100,000


Between $100,000 and $500,000


Between $500,000 – $1,000,000+

If you've faced disability discrimination at work, you're probably wondering what kind of settlement you could be looking at. I've seen firsthand how these cases can vary widely in California. The average settlement for a disability discrimination case can range from around $25,000 to $500,000. Less complex cases often settle for about $100,000 or less, while more involved cases can exceed $1,000,000. But these are just ballpark figures. Every case is unique, and settlements can fall outside these ranges. Factors like the severity of the discrimination, the strength of your evidence, and the skill of your legal team all play a role in determining your specific settlement amount.

Key Factors Affecting Settlement Amounts

So what goes into calculating a disability discrimination settlement? Several key elements can sway the outcome of your case - and the size of your settlement.

Importance of Legal Representation

First off, having a skilled disability discrimination lawyer in your corner can make a world of difference. Experienced attorneys know how to build strong cases, negotiate effectively, and fight for maximum compensation. I've represented numerous disability discrimination clients at Kingsley Szamet & Ly, and our team's expertise has helped secure more than $20M in settlement for these types of cases. That's well above the average for similar cases. Don't underestimate the power of quality legal representation.

Timeliness and Documentation

Timeliness is also crucial. You need to file your discrimination claim within the statute of limitations - usually 180 days from the discriminatory incident. Miss that deadline, and you could lose your right to sue. Thorough documentation is equally vital. Keep detailed records of any discriminatory actions, requests for reasonable accommodations, and your employer's responses. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case. Witness testimony can also bolster your claim. Coworkers who have seen the discrimination firsthand can provide powerful corroborating evidence. An experienced law firm will know how to gather and leverage this kind of documentation in your favor.

Types of Compensation in Discrimination Cases

Discrimination settlements can include different types of compensation. It's important to understand what you can seek damages for.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages cover tangible financial losses like lost wages, benefits, and out-of-pocket expenses. If the discrimination cost you your job or a promotion, these damages can add up quickly. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify but equally important. These include things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. California law allows victims to seek substantial compensation for these more personal hardships.

The Role of Punitive Damages

In some cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. These are designed to punish the employer for particularly severe or malicious discrimination. Punitive damages can significantly increase the total settlement amount. However, they are only awarded in around 5% of cases. Your lawyer will need to demonstrate that the discrimination was especially egregious and that your employer acted with oppression, fraud, or malice.

Proving Disability Discrimination in Court

Of course, to secure any kind of settlement, you'll need to prove that disability discrimination occurred. This can be challenging, but strong evidence and legal arguments can help you prevail.

Documenting Disability and Discrimination

Medical records are essential for documenting your disability. You'll need to show that you have a condition that substantially limits a major life activity and that your employer was aware of it. Detailed logs of discriminatory incidents are equally crucial. Write down each instance of harassment, unfair treatment, or failure to accommodate, along with the date, time, location, and any witnesses. The more specific, the better.

Employer's Response to Accommodation Requests

How your employer handled requests for reasonable accommodations can also strengthen your case. Under the ADA, employers must provide accommodations that don't pose an undue hardship. If your employer denied a reasonable accommodation or retaliated against you for requesting one, that can be powerful evidence of discrimination. Be sure to document any accommodation requests and your employer's response.

The Role of Employment Lawyers in Securing Fair Settlements

Navigating a disability discrimination claim is complex. There are deadlines to meet, evidence to gather, and legal arguments to make. An experienced employment lawyer can handle all these details and fight for the best possible outcome.

Negotiation Skills at the Table

Skilled negotiators can be the difference between a lowball offer and a fair settlement. Attorneys who specialize in employment law know the tactics employers use to minimize payouts. They can counter these strategies and advocate fiercely for your interests. Many law firms, including ours, offer free initial consultations. This lets you get expert feedback on your case and learn about your legal options without risk. If you're considering a disability discrimination claim, I highly recommend scheduling a consultation with a reputable employment law firm.


Disability discrimination settlements in California can be a beacon of hope for those who've faced unfair treatment. This sends a strong signal - acting out like that just won't fly.

But more than that, they provide a path to justice. Imagine setting up rules that keep our bosses in check - making certain we all stand an equal chance for success on the job front.

So if you've experienced disability discrimination, don't lose heart. You have rights, and there are people ready to fight for them. When you team up with solid backing and keep pushing forward, landing a just settlement isn't just a dream—it's achievable.

The road ahead may be challenging, but you're not alone. Together, we can work towards a future where disability discrimination is a thing of the past and where every worker is valued for who they are.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

Eric B. Kingsley is a 2023 "Best In Law" Award winner and has litigated over 150 class actions. He is also an AV peer rated attorney and a prolific speaker at various seminars on employment law.


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