If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated from a place of employment, you can sometimes bring your employer to court in order to claim damages. Throughout the course of this brief primer, you will learn just a bit how these damages are determined and qualified.
Lost pay corresponds to the amount that your former employer owes you due to a number of different reasons. This mainly includes the amount of pay you would have received up until the point of trial, unpaid wages from time that you did work, and overtime. Other miscellaneous forms of payment may be included in this amount, including bonuses you would have received. If it is determined that you will be re-hired by your former employer, you will not receive lost pay past the date of your re-hire unless you were re-hired at a lower rate of pay.
You may also receive a monetary amount for benefits you should have been receiving during this time. Determining the monetary value of benefits can be a bit difficult, so this is often determined by a court appointed expert. Among benefits that you may receive damage compensation for such matters include 401k plans, profit sharing, stock options, dental plans, and medical insurance.
Emotional Duress or Distress
"Pain and suffering" damages are often times included with the damages you can receive due to a wrongful termination. These sort of damages are often rewarded if the jury determines that the employer in the case acted in a manner that was poor or even mean spirited. Emotional duress, distress or pain and suffering damages can be documented if you have seen a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. This amount is often a bit nebulous, as at times it may correspond to the amount paid to the mental health professional in question and other times, it may simply be at the jury's whim.
While other forms of damages are meant to reimburse you, punitive damages are made to punish your former employer. In cases where the employee was treated particularly badly, a jury may decide to award the plaintiff punitive damages. They are often levied against employers in order to deter them from acting in such a manner in the future.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, it is highly recommended that you call on the services of a local and trusted employment attorney.