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Average Wrongful Termination Settlement Amounts

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Apr 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you've been fired unfairly, you're probably wondering what the average wrongful termination settlement is in California. I get it. Losing your job is tough enough without the added stress of legal battles and uncertainty about your financial future.

The truth is, every case is unique, and settlement amounts can vary widely. No need to stress. Let me help break down how different factors might impact your settlement and what realistically you should brace yourself for.

Table of Contents:

Average Settlements for Wrongful Termination in California

Case Damages

Average Settlement Received


Between $5,000 and $30,000


Between $30,000 and $100,000


Between $100,000 and $1,000,000+

So, what can you expect in terms of a settlement for your wrongful termination case? The truth is, it's difficult to pinpoint an "average" settlement amount, as every case is unique. However, in most cases the average wrongful termination settlement in California ranges from $5,000 to $80,000. Some high-profile cases have resulted in settlements of $1 million or more. Factors that can influence settlement amounts include the strength of the evidence, the severity of the employer's misconduct, and the skill of the attorneys involved. It's important to remember that no two cases are alike, and what someone else received in their settlement may not be indicative of what you can expect in yours. The best way to get a sense of your case's potential value is to consult with an experienced employment law attorney.

Employer Violation Type

Typical Settlements Received


Between $20,000 and $40,000

Racial Discrimination

Between $25,000 and $100,000

Pregnancy Discrimination

Between $10,000 and $50,000

Disability Discrimination

Between $25,000 and $500,000

Religious Discrimination

Between $20,000 and $50,000

Age Discrimination

Between $150,000 and $1,000,000


About $450,000

Breach of Contract

Between $5,000 and $80,000

FMLA Violations

Approximately: $80,000

Public Policy Violation

Approximately: $10,000 – $100,000+


Understanding Wrongful Termination in California

If you've been fired from your job in California, you might be wondering if it was legal. in the eyes of the law, not all terminations are created equal. Some are downright wrongful. But what exactly constitutes wrongful termination under California law? Let's dive in and explore the basics of this complex area of employment law.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?

In California, wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason. This could include discrimination based on protected characteristics like race, gender, age, or disability. Retaliation against an employee for engaging in legally protected activities, such as reporting harassment or filing a workers' compensation claim, is also considered wrongful termination. Other examples of wrongful termination include firing an employee for refusing to engage in illegal activities or for taking protected leave, such as family or medical leave.

The Role of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a powerful law that protects employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Under FEHA, it's illegal for employers to terminate employees based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or medical condition. FEHA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report violations of the law, such as discrimination or harassment. This means that if you complain about unlawful treatment at work and are subsequently fired, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. It's important to note that FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees. If you work for a smaller company, you may still be protected by other state and federal laws.

The Process of Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim

If you believe you've been wrongfully terminated, you may be wondering what to do next. Filing a wrongful termination claim can be a complex process, but with the right approach, you can protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

Gathering Evidence for Your Case

To build a strong wrongful termination case, you'll need evidence to support your claim. This may include: - Performance reviews and other employment records - Emails or other written communication related to your termination - Witness statements from coworkers or supervisors - Documentation of any complaints you made about discrimination, harassment, or other illegal treatment It's important to gather this evidence as soon as possible, as it can become more difficult to obtain over time. If you have any doubts about what evidence may be relevant, consult with an experienced employment law attorney.

Seeking Legal Representation

Navigating a wrongful termination claim can be challenging, especially if you're up against a large employer with significant resources. That's why it's crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced wrongful termination lawyer. A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and build a strong case. They can also negotiate with your employer on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary. When choosing a wrongful termination lawyer, look for someone with a track record of success in handling cases like yours. Don't be afraid to ask questions about their experience and approach to client representation.

Key Factors Influencing Wrongful Termination Settlements

If you're considering filing a wrongful termination claim, you may be wondering what kind of settlement you can expect. The truth is, settlement amounts can vary widely depending on a number of factors. Some of the key factors that can influence wrongful termination settlements include: - The strength of your evidence - The severity of your employer's misconduct - The amount of lost wages and benefits you've suffered - The emotional distress and other damages you've experienced - The skill and experience of your attorney In general, cases with strong evidence and egregious employer misconduct tend to result in higher settlements. However, every case is unique, and it's important to discuss your specific situation with a qualified employment law attorney.

Types of Damages Awarded in Wrongful Termination Cases

If you win your wrongful termination case, you may be entitled to various types of damages. These can include both economic and non-economic damages, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Economic Damages Explained

Economic damages are designed to compensate you for the tangible financial losses you've suffered as a result of your wrongful termination. These may include: - Lost wages and benefits - Job search expenses - Costs of medical treatment related to the emotional distress caused by your termination In some cases, you may also be entitled to front pay, which compensates you for future lost wages if reinstatement to your job is not possible.

Non-Economic Damages for Emotional Distress

In addition to economic damages, you may also be able to recover non-economic damages for the emotional distress caused by your wrongful termination. This can include compensation for: - Pain and suffering - Anxiety and depression - Damage to your professional reputation - Loss of enjoyment of life These damages can be more difficult to quantify than economic losses, but they are no less real. An experienced wrongful termination attorney can help you assess the value of your non-economic damages and fight for the compensation you deserve.

The Role of Punitive Damages in Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

In some cases, courts may award punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish employers for particularly egregious or malicious conduct and deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the employer acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. For example, if an employer intentionally discriminated against an employee or retaliated against them for reporting illegal conduct, punitive damages may be appropriate. It's important to note that punitive damages are relatively rare in employment cases. Courts typically reserve them for the most serious cases of employer misconduct.

If you've been wrongfully terminated, it's essential to have an experienced employment law attorney on your side. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence to support your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Free Consultation Offers

Our law firm represents employees with employment cases exclusively and offers free initial consultations to potential clients. This can be a great opportunity to discuss your case with an attorney and get a sense of your legal options. During a free consultation, you can expect the attorney to listen to your story, ask questions about your situation, and provide some initial guidance on the strength of your case. They may also discuss their fees and representation process. Take advantage of these free consultation offers to find an attorney who is a good fit for you and your case. Look for someone with experience handling wrongful termination claims and a track record of success.

Preventing Future Wrongful Terminations

As an employee, it's important to know your rights and take steps to protect yourself from wrongful termination. This may include: - Documenting any instances of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace - Reporting illegal conduct to your employer or the appropriate government agency - Keeping copies of performance reviews, emails, and other employment records - Consulting with an employment law attorney if you believe your rights have been violated Employers also have a role to play in preventing wrongful terminations. This may include: - Providing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training to all employees - Establishing clear policies and procedures for handling complaints and disciplinary actions - Consulting with legal counsel before making termination decisions - Keeping detailed records of employee performance and misconduct By working together to create a fair and respectful workplace, employees and employers can help prevent wrongful terminations and promote a positive work environment for all.

Key Takeaway: 

Wrongful termination in California can happen for illegal reasons like discrimination or retaliation. If you're fired unfairly, gathering evidence and seeking legal help is key to building a strong case. Settlements vary widely but could range from $5,000 to over $1 million based on your situation's specifics.

Get Help Today

So, what's the bottom line when it comes to the average wrongful termination settlement in California? It's hard to pin down an exact number because every case is different. But by understanding the factors that influence settlements and working with an experienced attorney, you can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Remember, if you've been wrongfully terminated, you have rights. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and seek justice. With the right support and guidance, you can navigate this challenging time and come out stronger on the other side.

If you are in need of a free case evaluation from experienced wrongful termination attorneys, give Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers a call or fill out our form. Our experienced employment law attorneys are available to evaluate your case with you for free. We've helped employees recover more than $300 Million in California alone, and we'd be happy to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Take advantage of our no win, no fee promise.

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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