David Vs Goliath Series – Understanding the value and payouts of a claim.
Attorneys handling wrongful termination and harassment claims are often asked to provide a settlement value on their case. This frequently comes up either at the start of the case or at some point during litigation when mediation or settlement discussions are about to occur. From an attorney’s perspective this can be a tough question to have with a client. The following is a list of myths and realities when understanding the “value” of a wrongful termination, harassment, and/or retaliation claim:
Factor No. 1: Is there a claim?
Simply because a client has been mistreated at work doesn’t mean that a legal claim exists. It is often said, “You can’t sue because your boss is a jerk,” and this is largely true. Clients with long, drawn out stories about bad working conditions, bosses, or coworkers often find themselves at the end of their story with a question still hanging: what was illegal about what happened? Fact is, in order file a lawsuit you need a factual and legal basis for a claim.
Factor No. 2: How Strong are the Facts?
While inferences and motivations certainly have their place in wrongful termination cases, cases are driven by evidence, not speculation. Something had to have happened at work, typically by someone in charge, resulting in an adverse action to the employee, in order to have a solid foundation for a wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment lawsuit. Often the easier it is to describe the case the better the case is.
Factor No. 3: Are there Damages?
Often times a client may not have suffered any economic (wages, medical bills, etc) losses as a result of discrimination and/or harassment. While economic loss isn’t critical to a Plaintiff’s success, it certainly can affect the value of a case. If the employee was fired, did he/she immediately get another job? Did he/she attempt to find work? These are questions that the employer is likely to want answers to before making any decision on settlement.
Factor No. 4: Can the Defendant Pay?
Lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming endeavors that are designed to do one thing: make a Plaintiff whole. If a defendant is unable to pay a settlement or judgment, the remaining options for an employee is to obtain non-monetary compensation. This may mean a resignation in lieu of termination, re-employment, or some other promise to do or not do something within reason. Unfortunately, while non-monetary terms are designed to give a Plaintiff some sense of closure, often a settlement without monetary compensation does the opposite: it leaves the Plaintiff with a sense that the defendant “got away with it.”
Factor No. 5: Where is the Case Pending?
The litigation and resolution of a lawsuit is overseen by either a judge or an arbitrator. The jurisdiction, venue, and judge where the case is pending is of exceptional interest to the attorneys handling the case, for good reason: a bad ruling either way can end a case; a particular venue may have better jurors than another venue; a particular jurisdiction may be a better place to conduct a trial than another. Bottom line: when an attorney values a case, he or she will always take into account where the case is pending.
Contact Urbanic & Associates – Wrongful Termination Attorney
Have you been the target of workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation? If so, you may need a Wrongful Termination Attorney. Call Los Angeles discrimination attorney, Urbanic & Associates for help defending your rights and pursuing justice. Since 2000, the trusted legal team at Urbanic & Associates has been dedicated to aggressively advocating our clients’ rights, helping them stand up to even the most formidable opponents in any legal setting.
To discuss your options with attorney James Urbanic and team we are available to take your call 24/7 at (310) 216-0900.