In Florida, most cases involving wrongful termination rarely go to trial, as the parties usually manage to settle out of the courtroom. However, when it is not possible to reach a settlement, there might be a trial and a judge will determine the outcome of the lawsuit.
While it is possible to seek justice by both alternatives, it is always good to sit down with an expert attorney before proceeding with a lawsuit.
In this article, you will discover the essentials about Florida wrongful termination settlements.
Wrongful Termination in Florida – A Brief Overview
Indeed, Florida is an “at-will” state, which means that employers can dismiss an employer without prior notice nor a specific reason to do so. However, the termination can be illegal in cases when:
- An employee is in a category protected by state and/or federal law
- An employee is engaged in protected activities
In this sense, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employees from discrimination because of the individual’s:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- National origin
- Genetic information
Also, federal law protects employees from potential retaliation or punitive practices for:
- Filing a charge against an employer for discrimination
- Engaging in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit
- Opposing discriminatory behavior in the workplace
Typically, most litigation cases involving wrongful terminations have mixed verdicts, as they usually involve one or several claims of unlawful discharge due to prejudice, discriminatory behavior, breach of contract, public policy violation, etc.
Is There a Standard Settlement for Wrongful Termination Lawsuits in Florida?
It is not uncanny to find individuals who want to know the amount of money they can obtain in a wrongful termination settlement in Florida. Generally, it is hard to determine a standard, as each case is distinct, and the circumstances of different plaintiffs vary a lot.
However, statistics demonstrate that an average wrongful termination settlement in Florida usually falls between $5,000 and $8,000. It is worth noting that cases involving jury awards tend to get higher rewards, which can increase as high as $350,000 depending on the lawsuit.
Rarely, a court may also grant an employee with punitive damages in specific situations. As it is plain to see, it is expensive for companies trying to defend against a wrongful termination claim in court. Hence, most of them opt for settling the case outside of court.
What Are the Steps to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida?
Fortunately, the reach of employment law in cases of wrongful termination is extensive. Before filing a lawsuit, the first step is sitting down with an expert attorney to assess in which action your case could qualify.
In Florida, most cases of wrongful termination usually involve race discrimination, sexual harassment, national origin discrimination, religious discrimination, and relations.
After identifying the existence of a real wrongful termination claim, it is time to reunite the necessary documentation to strengthen the case in court. Commonly, examples of documents used in this type of lawsuit include:
- Personnel records
- Employment records
- Employment contract(s)
- Work schedules
- Pay stubs
- Emails and text/voice mails (as long as they are relevant to the case)
- Employee reviews
- Job evaluations
- Names of other employees who may serve as testimonies of the misconduct(s)
Generally, the statute of limitations for cases of wrongful termination is 180 calendar days, counting from the date when the misconduct took place. Accordingly, the best approach is to seek guidance from an expert attorney as soon as possible.
Florida Wrongful Termination Settlements – Real-World Examples
One of the most famous wrongful termination settlements in Florida is the case Kara Jorud v. Michaels Stores, Inc. The lawsuit was filed in November 2010 by Kara Jorud, who worked as a store manager for Michael’s since 2001.
Despite being a top-performing employee, Kara was fired in October 2008 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to go through a double mastectomy and chemotherapy sessions.
According to Jorud, the store severely interfered with her right to take leave, forcing her to work when she was not able, and threatening her for taking time off due to her feeble condition.
After being fired, Kara lost her medical insurance, and almost lost her home to foreclosure. In response, she filed a lawsuit against Michael’s for wrongful termination and violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Ultimately, she won the lawsuit and was awarded a total of $8,100,000, which included lost wages ($100,000), pain and suffering ($4,000,000), and punitive damages ($4,000,000).
We Can Help You to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida
Attorney Romy B. Jurado Esq. is an expert attorney with more than a decade of experience in helping employees to enforce their rights in Florida. Get in touch with us today by calling (305) 921-0440 or emailing Romy@jflawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.