A dispute between an employer and an employee is the most common reason for an employment lawsuit. This could include harassment, discrimination at work, wage disputes, retaliatory actions, or wrongful termination.
The amount of monetary damages you can receive in an employment case depends on your legal basis and the facts and circumstances of your case. Here are some things a skilled employment attorney in Tampa considers in determining how much your case is worth.
Loss of Wages and Benefits
This is the most basic type of damages in most employment cases. If the plaintiff can prove discrimination, harassment, failure to pay fair wages, or proof of wrongful termination, they may be eligible to claim monetary damages for lost wages.
This is essentially based on the number of wages and salary, as well as any benefits provided by the employer (e.g., health insurance, pensions, or stock options). For example, wrongful termination compensation would include the wages and benefits that an employee would have received from their employer from the date they were terminated to the date of the settlement or verdict.
The employer will pay the employee the wages and benefits that they would have received starting at the date of the settlement or verdict and continuing if the employee is expected to work. This is also called “future loss wages”. An employee could also be entitled to any contract damages resulting from the employer’s conduct.
These values, particularly future wages, can be hard to calculate. It is difficult to predict how long an employee might have worked for the employer if she or he was not wrongfully terminated. These calculations typically consider the employee’s age and work performance, as well as future goals.
Different types of damages available in Employment Law cases
The most common award in an employment case is monetary relief. There are many types of monetary relief that you can get, including:
- Back pay – This is a payment for salary earned in the past but not paid. Back pay awards may include wages, salary, fringe benefits, and pre-judgment interest.
- Front pay – Front compensation may pay the victim for future discrimination effects.
Understanding Mitigation of Damages
Mitigating damages in an employment case means seeking a new job to compensate for some, if not all, of the loss caused by wrongful termination. A wrongful termination lawsuit in which the plaintiff seeks damages for lost wages or benefits will be highly likely to see to what extent the employee could mitigate the damages.
If you are awarded damages in a wrongful termination lawsuit, the damages will likely be reduced by how much you earned or could have earned in a job significantly similar to the one that you lost. However, wrongful termination cases will be less costly if the employer can show that you have obtained employment that is substantially similar to your previous job, that you failed to make reasonable efforts to find and keep such employment, and the amount of income you have earned from such employment.
In such cases, the employer has the burden to prove that there is a mitigation requirement. You do not need to prove you could not mitigate damages as a plaintiff.
How can you show that a job is like the one you have lost or your old one? The nature of the job, the benefits and salary offered by the job, the skills and background required for the job, and the location are all important factors.
Employment Lawsuits: Non-Economic Damages
A person can be fired illegally from their job for many reasons. Plaintiffs in employment lawsuits most often claim non-economic damages such as emotional distress, mental suffering, and damage to one’s professional reputation. You could also be entitled to damages for mental suffering, stress, or health symptoms resulting from your wrongful termination or the alleged harassment or discrimination by your employer.
Attorney Fees and Costs
In most states, employment cases allow plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees and any other costs associated with litigation, such as filing fees and expert witness costs. Plaintiffs must pay attorney fees and costs of litigation from any settlement or damages they receive. However, employees collect attorney’s fees or litigation costs if they file a suit against their employers.
An example is when an employee has been sued for discrimination or sexual harassment. Employees may also be eligible for attorney’s fees if they are wrongfully fired because of wage and hour violations, or because they report safety violations at work.
Because punitive damages differ from compensatory damages, these damages are only intended to be awarded to punish an employer for committing an egregiously wrong act. An employer’s actions must be at the level of oppression, fraud, or malice for an employee to be eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages can also be used to set an example for other companies and deter them from engaging in such egregious acts.
Do You Need Help?
It is crucial that you understand all your legal rights and options if you are being treated unfairly or terminated from employment. Employers and corporations often have a team that includes lawyers to protect their best interests. You deserve the same. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for significant compensation.