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How Long Does a Wrongful Termination Case Take in 2024?

The duration of a wrongful termination case can vary widely depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the court’s schedule, and whether the case settles or goes to trial. Generally, a wrongful termination case can take anywhere from several months to several years to resolve.
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5 Types of Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

According to Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani Org. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer unlawfully dismisses an employee, violating their rights or breaching the terms of their employment contract [1]. While employment is typically at-will, legal protections exist to prevent unfair or discriminatory firings. Wrongful termination lawsuits arise when an employee believes their dismissal was unjust. Here are the five common types of wrongful termination lawsuits:

  1. Discrimination-Based Wrongful Termination: “Discrimination-based wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired due to their membership in a protected class. These protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Employers must base employment decisions solely on job-related qualifications and performance. If an employee can demonstrate that their termination was motivated by discriminatory factors, they may have a strong case for a wrongful termination lawsuit.”
  2. Retaliation for Protected Activities: Employees have the right to engage in protected activities, such as filing complaints about workplace issues. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in such activities.
  3. Breach of Employment Contract: Wrongful termination can occur if an employer breaches the terms of an employment contract, such as a required notice period or grounds for dismissal.
  4. Constructive Discharge: This happens when an employer creates a hostile work environment that forces an employee to resign. The termination is considered involuntary due to the intolerable conditions.
  5. Public Policy Violations: Some jurisdictions recognize wrongful termination claims based on public policy violations, such as firing an employee for reporting illegal activities.

Wrongful termination lawsuits can be complex, but they provide legal recourse for unjustly fired employees. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, consult with a wrongful termination lawyer to understand your rights and assess your case.

Also Read: How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful Termination Success Rates

  • Based on general estimates, approximately 90% of cases are resolved through settlement before reaching trial. This is because taking a case to trial can be costly and risky for employers, prompting many to opt for settlement instead.
  • According to a survey by Nolo.com, 64% of individuals who had legal representation received compensation, with an average settlement amount of $48,800.
  • In contrast, among those who did not have legal representation, only 30% received compensation, with an average settlement of $19,200.
  • A separate survey conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research revealed that 43% of participants overall received compensation either through a settlement or a court award.
  • The most successful group in this survey were those who presented both witness testimony and written evidence, with 63% receiving compensation.
  • Participants who relied solely on written evidence saw success in 50% of cases, while those who relied solely on witness testimony were successful in 28% of cases.

What Makes a Strong Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

According to Martin D. Haverly, understanding what constitutes a strong case for wrongful termination is essential for individuals considering legal action in such situations [2].

  • Violation of Laws: Wrongful termination often involves a violation of specific federal or state laws. Laws protect employees from being fired based on factors like race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. If an employer terminates someone’s employment for any of these reasons, it can be considered wrongful termination.
  • Breach of Contract: In some cases, employees have written contracts that guarantee job security for a specific period or specify conditions for termination. If an employer violates these contract terms, it can be the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit. Implied contracts, formed through company policies or verbal assurances, can also support a wrongful termination claim.
  • Retaliation: Employers are prohibited from firing employees for engaging in protected activities, such as filing complaints about workplace safety or participating in investigations against the employer. Terminating employees in retaliation for exercising their rights under labor laws is illegal.
  • Violation of Public Policy: Wrongful termination also includes firing an employee for reasons that go against public policy. This includes dismissing an employee for taking time off work to vote, serve on a jury, or participate in other civic duties protected by law. Additionally, terminating an employee for refusing to participate in illegal activities requested by a superior is considered wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination cases hinge on proving impropriety. Those who believe they are subject to an unjust firing should gather as much evidence as possible to support their claims.

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If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

References:

1. https://www.ymsllp.com/blog/2023/06/5-common-types-of-wrongful-termination-lawsuits/
2. https://www.haverlylaw.com/blog/2024/02/what-makes-a-strong-case-for-wrongful-termination/

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