If you win a wrongful termination case, you may be able to get your job back and recover lost wages and other monetary damages. However, many wrongful termination lawsuits never see a courtroom. To win your case, you must prove that you were fired for an unlawful reason, such as discrimination or whistleblower retaliation. It’s very difficult to prove this. Therefore, depending on the facts in your case, your goals, and your resources, a wrongful termination settlement may be the best option. Here are three reasons that you should consider settlement:
You won’t end up empty-handed.
The employee bears the burden of proof in a wrongful termination case. Therefore, courts dismiss most wrongful termination cases before they even get to a jury trial. If that happens, the employee is left with nothing except legal bills. Wrongful termination settlement amounts vary greatly, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the case. But settlement guarantees that you end up with something. This generally includes monetary payment. But it can also include valuable non-monetary relief. For example, a settlement agreement may state that your firing will be converted to a voluntary resignation and that the employer won’t tell prospective employers that you were fired.
Minimize attorney’s fees and legal costs.
Lawsuits are expensive. Attorneys generally charge hourly fees. More than likely, you’ll also have to pay court filing fees and other litigation costs. Depending on your case and your attorney’s fees, you may incur $25,000 to $75,000 in legal fees before you even get to a trial. Of course, if you win a wrongful termination case, you could recover your fees and costs. However, it may take years until you actually get the money, especially if there is an appeal. Negotiating a settlement takes far less time – and money – than litigation. An employment attorney can help you negotiate a settlement and advise you about whether to accept a settlement offer.
Protect your privacy and career.
Filing a lawsuit is public, and there may be repercussions. For example, even though retaliation is illegal, there are employers who won’t hire someone who sued a former employer for discrimination. Furthermore, if you lose your case, the court will issue a written, public decision that your employer had a right to fire you. If you settle before filing a lawsuit, there won’t be a public filing about your firing. In fact, settlement agreements frequently require the parties to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.
Contact us about wrongful termination settlements.
If you need legal advice about settlement in a wrongful termination case, contact Alan Lescht and Associates, P.C. We can help you negotiate a wrongful termination settlement and provide advice about your options. Our firm represents federal employees around the world, as well as state and local government and private-sector employees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia, in wrongful termination cases, settlement negotiations, and other employment matters.
This post was originally published on October 25, 2016, and was updated on October 15, 2019.