Wrongful termination is said to occur when an employer terminates an employee in violation of the employee’s contractual or statutory rights. This means that an unlawful or unethical reason for an employee’s termination could lead to a wrongful termination claim. Most employees are categorized as “at will” employees who can make bringing a wrongful termination claim difficult. While an employer still cannot terminate an at-will employee for any reason that runs afoul of the law or public policy, it is usually the case that an employer can come up with a legitimate reason for an at-will employee’s termination.
Wrongful termination, however, does happen. An employee who is wrongfully terminated t can suffer devastating career and financial consequences. Fortunately, there are a variety of remedies available to those who successfully bring wrongful termination claims.
Remedies for Wrongful Termination
There are both economic and non-economic forms of relief available to those who can successfully demonstrate that they have been victims of wrongful termination. Any income lost as a result of being wrongfully terminated may be ordered by the court to be paid to the claimant. The claimant may also recover compensation for emotional distress as well as reimbursement for legal fees and other costs associated with the bringing of the wrongful termination claim. Furthermore, economic remedies may include compensation that includes:
- Back pay
- Loss of benefits
- Future lost pay (front pay)
- Future loss of benefits
There are also several forms of noneconomic relief that can be ordered by the court. Noneconomic remedies are remedies that do not involve directly providing the claimant with monetary damages for harm suffered as a result of the wrongful termination. For instance, the court may order that you are reinstated. Reinstatement is when you are rehired for your previously held position, or an equivalent position, when you were wrongfully terminated. While claimants commonly request reinstatement, courts tend to favor awarding money damages instead in order to avoid making personnel decisions on the employer’s behalf.
A court may also order the restoration of any seniority lost due to wrongful termination. This can be a powerful remedy as seniority can have great bearing on a number of employment benefits. For instance, seniority level can be used to calculate not just pay, but pension and other retirement benefits. It can also dictate the amount of vacation and other paid time off received. Seniority can also save a person’s job in the event of a workforce reduction.
Depending on the basis of the wrongful termination claim, a court may order injunctive relief in order to address the workplace conditions that led to the employee’s wrongful termination. For instance, a court may order that the company start instituting anti-discrimination training sessions in order to try and minimize the chances of workplace discrimination occurring again. In certain cases, a court may order an employer to terminate the person who wrongfully terminated another employee. This again, however, is not often the case as courts like to avoid making such personnel decisions for companies.
Employment Law Attorneys
If you have been wrongfully terminated, talk to the employment law team at Castronovo & McKinney about your options for pursuing legal recourse. Contact us today.