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Discrimination, Harassment, & Wrongful Termination as Leading Causes of Employment Litigation in California

Written By: Mo Eldessouky Updated On: June 4, 2024 | Read Time: 4 Minutes

California’s employment law landscape is complex and ever-evolving, shaped by landmark verdicts and ongoing legal developments. In this extensive exploration, we delve into recent verdicts, dissecting the nuances of emotional distress awards and economic damages. Additionally, we shed light on the litigation process and the crucial role of attorneys in navigating employment disputes. Furthermore, we explore the distinction between litigation attorneys and transactional attorneys, offering insights into their respective roles in safeguarding employee rights and ensuring legal compliance. 

What are the most common types of Lawsuits brought against Employers in California? 

Discrimination Claims: Employees often allege discrimination based on factors like race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Essentially, it’s about being treated unfairly because of who they are.

Harassment Lawsuits: Picture this: a hostile work environment where someone’s constantly subjected to unwelcome behavior based on those same protected characteristics. It creates a toxic atmosphere that nobody should have to endure.

Wrongful Termination Claims: Sometimes, employees are let go for all the wrong reasons. Maybe they blew the whistle on something fishy, or they simply exercised their rights and got the boot. Whatever the case, it’s illegal, and it’s grounds for legal action.

These types of lawsuits highlight the importance of enforcing labor laws and protecting employees’ rights in the workplace. 

What type of Money is awarded to Plaintiff’s in Employment Lawsuits?  

In the realm of employment law, damages awarded to plaintiffs can be broadly categorized into two main types: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages encompass tangible financial losses directly related to the employment dispute, such as lost wages, back pay, and medical expenses incurred as a result of the employer’s actions. These damages aim to compensate the plaintiff for the quantifiable harm suffered, often calculated based on documented financial records and evidence. On the other hand, non-economic damages pertain to intangible losses that are more subjective in nature, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages seek to address the emotional and psychological toll of workplace discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination, acknowledging the profound impact on the plaintiff’s well-being. While economic damages are easier to quantify and calculate, non-economic damages often play a significant role in employment law cases, reflecting the broader implications of workplace misconduct on an individual’s overall quality of life. 

Understanding Verdict Disparities: 

While recent verdicts showcase substantial emotional distress awards, it’s essential to recognize that outcomes can vary significantly depending on case specifics and jury composition. Notably, less than 5% of employment cases proceed to jury verdict, highlighting the importance of strategic legal counsel in achieving favorable outcomes. A skilled litigation attorney can navigate the complexities of employment disputes, advocating for clients’ rights and maximizing compensation. 

Factors Influencing Verdicts: 

Various factors can influence jury decisions, including the strength of evidence, witness credibility, and legal arguments presented. Moreover, jurors’ perceptions of fairness and justice play a pivotal role in determining award amounts. By meticulously preparing and presenting compelling narratives, attorneys can sway jury opinions and secure favorable verdicts for their clients. 

The Role of Litigation Attorneys: 

Litigation attorneys specialize in navigating the courtroom arena, advocating for clients in legal disputes. In employment law cases, litigation attorneys represent plaintiffs or defendants in matters ranging from discrimination and harassment to wrongful termination. Their expertise lies in conducting legal research, drafting pleadings, and presenting arguments before judges and juries. By leveraging their litigation prowess, attorneys can navigate the complexities of employment law and pursue justice on behalf of their clients. 

Transactional Attorneys vs. Litigation Attorneys: 

While litigation attorneys handle disputes that escalate to court proceedings, transactional attorneys focus on preemptive legal measures and contractual matters. In the realm of employment law, transactional attorneys assist clients in drafting employment contracts, negotiating severance agreements, and ensuring compliance with labor regulations. Their proactive approach aims to mitigate legal risks and preempt potential disputes before they escalate. 

California litigation attorneys possess extensive trial experience and courtroom advocacy skills, allowing them to navigate complex legal proceedings with confidence. They excel in crafting persuasive legal arguments, conducting depositions, and presenting evidence to juries. In contrast, transactional attorneys specialize in contract drafting, negotiation, and regulatory compliance. Their expertise lies in structuring agreements and advising clients on legal obligations to minimize litigation risks. 

Examples of some of the most recent top results for Employment lawsuits.  

Lizarraga v. Loma Linda University Medical Center (2019) 

  • Economic Damages: $900,000 
  • Non-Economic Damages: $2 million 
  • Case Type: Religious and Disability Discrimination 

Khan v. Hologram USA, Inc. (2020) 

  • Emotional Distress Damages: $8 million 
  • Case Type: Sexual Harassment 

Hernandez v. VMS Autobody (2020) 

  • Emotional Distress Damages: $1.35 million 
  • Case Type: National Origin Discrimination 

Rudnicki v. Farmer’s Insurance (2021) 

  • Non-Economic Damages: $5.4 million 
  • Case Type: Retaliation 

Diaz v. Tesla, Inc. (2021) 

  • Emotional Distress Damages: $6.9 million 
  • Case Type: Racial Discrimination and Harassment 

Implications of Verdicts: 

These verdicts underscore the evolving landscape of employment law in California. Juries increasingly recognize the intangible harm inflicted on individuals, reflecting a growing societal awareness of workplace injustices. Moreover, the substantial awards serve as a deterrent against future misconduct, emphasizing the importance of robust legal protections for employees. 


Navigating California’s intricate employment law landscape requires expert legal guidance. If you’re facing workplace discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination, don’t navigate the legal maze alone. Contact our experienced team of California employment attorneys today to schedule a consultation and explore your legal options. Let us advocate for your rights and pursue justice on your behalf.

We are available for video conference calls

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