This web page is about wrongful discharge settlements and verdicts in Washington. It is rare for great claims to go to court, because they normally reach settlement out of trial.
A lot of these lawsuits have mixed verdicts, which means that they involved one, or several claims of unlawful firing due to disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity discrimination, workplace retaliation, firing in violation of public policy, gender discrimination or breach of employment contract.
The table below provides an overview of the different types of claims filed together with their particular numbers in WA in 2017.
|State||2017 Total Charges||% of Total USA Charges||Race||Sex||Natl Origin||Religion||Color||Retaliation All Statutes||TVII Retaliation||Age||Disability||EPA||GINA|
Wrongful discharge and discrimination cases & settlements in Washington
Deanna Zachrisson and Elaine Lincoln v Port of Seattle
Deanna Zachrisson & Elaine Lincoln worked for the Port of Seattle, which is a special-purpose municipal corporation overseeing Seattle’s seaport and airport. The port’s commissioner at the time was John Creighton, a position which is won through election.
Deanna & Lincoln were fired in 2015 for opposing lease concessions of the port’s sought after business spaces to certain friends and political supporters of the commissioner. They blew the whistle on the corrupt leasing practices of the organization, for which they were wrongfully terminated.
They sued the port in September, 2016, and a Jury awarded them $16 million just a little over a year later. By that time, they had entered into am $8 million settlement with the port, the largest of it’s kind in the history of the state. Source
EEOC v Kaiser Aluminum Corp.
Kaiser aluminum is the US’s top manufacturer of fabricated aluminum products. The company was hiring production workers at it’s Spokane facility, and interviewed Donald McMurray for an opening.
The applicant was well qualified and capable of meeting the physical demands of the job. He received a job offer, however, once the company learned of a workplace injury he suffered 10 years ago, the offer was rescinded.
The EEOC sued the company for violating the ADA. The law protects job applicants as well as existing employees. Not hiring an applicant because of a perceived disability or a prior disability is against the law.
The case was settled through a consent decree, McMurray received a settlement of $175,000. Source
Brian Wurts v Lakewood Police Department
Brian Wurts started working as a police officer for the Lakewood PD in 2004. He had exemplary reviews, and was elected head of the police guild in 2006.
He became union president, and in the role, criticized city police and politicians.
He was fired in 2014 after Brian Wurts, the union’s treasurer embezzled $100,000 from a union fund. Allegedly Wurts knew about the treasurer’s theft, but did not tell anybody.
He sued the city for wrongful termination because of his union activities. The case went to court, but was settled for $150,000. Source
EEOC v Tiny’s Organic
Tiny’s Organic is a fruit farm in Wenatchee , WA.
Maria Guillen worked for the company for 6 years, rising to the position of supervisor. She learned that she was pregnant with twins, but her doctor cleared her for work.
She informed her employer of her pregnancy, and she was fired 9 days later. The company feared for her safety and company liability, which was the reason she was fired.
Alleging wrongful termination because of pregnancy discrimination, Guillen contacted the EEOC, who sued the company on her behalf for violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The case was settled through a consent decree, she received $17,500. Source
EEOC v Roy Farms
Roy Farms is one of the largest hop flower producers in the world. In this same-sex sexual harassment case, the EEOC sued the company for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
A male orchard supervisor subjected male workers to constant sexual harassment, threatening comments and physical contact. He would tell them he wanted to have sex with them and grope them.
Martin Barrera reported the events to a supervisor and the owners of the farm, but nothing was done to stop the harassment. Fearing his physical safety, he was compelled to quit his job.
The lawsuit was settled through a consent decree, the victims received $85,000. Source
EEOC v Cottonwood Financial, Ltd.
Cottonwood Financials operated a payday lender store in Walla Walla, Washington.
Sean Reilly was the manager of the store, he was an award winning employee. He requested a short leave to adjust to a new medication prescribed for his bipolar disease, but the company denied his request. He was forced to return to work sooner than he asked, and was terminated a few days later.
Alleging that the company discriminated against him because of his illness, he reported the events to the EEOC. The agency sued Cottonwood Financial for violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
The case went to court and the judge awarded him $50,000 for emotional pain and suffering and $6,500 in back wages. Source
EEOC v Fry’s Electronics
America Rios worked for Fry’s Electronics in Renton, WA. The electronic store’s assistant manager started harassing her sexually, so she reported the events to her direct supervisor, Ka Lam, who escalated the report to the upper management of the company.
An internal investigation was started, but it was lead by the Renton store’s manager, who was friends with the assistant manager accused of harassment. Ka Lam was fired within a few weeks.
They contacted the EEOC, who sued the company on their behalf for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Ka Lam was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for opposing sexual harassment and America Rios was subject to sexual harassment.
The company settled the case through a consent decree, Ka Lam received $1,564,000 for damages, lost wages, and attorney’s fees, and Rios received a $736,000 settlement. Source
EEOC v Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc.
Red Robin Burgers operates a nation-wide chain of casual dining restaurants. Edward Rangel worked as a server at the chain’s Bellevue location.
He worked at the restaurant for 6 months, when a newly hired manager noticed that he had visible tattoos on his wrist that could not be concealed. The manager fired Rangel, since company dress code dictated that any tattoos must be covered.
The tattoos were part of the employee’s Kemetic religion, which is an ancient Egyptian faith. The tattoos were, in fact, religious inscriptions less than a quarter-inch wide and encircling his wrists. Based on the religion, it is a sin to conceal the religious inscriptions.
The EEOC sued the company for religions discrimination in violation of Title VII. The server had worked for the company for 6 months without incident, and the company did not make any effort to address the man’s sincerely held religious beliefs. The case was settled through consent decree, where Rangel received a $150,000 settlement. Source
When looking at this catalog of wrongful firing settlements from Washington, keep in mind that the bigger amounts are caused by punitive compensation, that are handed out to deter companies from taking part in the same inappropriate act. Punitive damages are especially infrequent. The vast majority of court cases will settle for approximately forty thousand to a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
Our directory of unlawful termination verdicts and settlements in WA is intended for informative purposes. Even though you may feel resemblance to any of these lawsuits, keep in mind that every case is different.
What is the average wrongful discharge settlement/award in Washington?
It is easy to understand that you want to check just how much money you are likely to receive for your unlawful discharge case.
In the event that you settle (or win your trial), the amount of money you receive is basically based upon the following: reason of termination, emotional distress, lost earnings, job search costs, benefits lost and medical costs. Punitive damages might also be granted in rare situations, if the employer behaved egregiously.
As you’ll see from the sample claims in this article, giving a typical settlement for unlawful discharge cases in WA is going to be tricky, because each individual case is different.
The average wrongful termination settlement in Washington is between $5,000 and $90,000. Legal professionals are usually effective when it comes to reaching a larger settlement.
The average courtroom awards are generally higher, approximately $90,000 and $500,000. This is certainly one reason employers prefer to accept a settlement out of court.
Filing a wrongful discharge or discrimination claim in Washington
If you think you were fired for an unlawful cause, here is what you should do.
Most important, it is important to speak with a wrongful termination attorney in Washington to determine whether you have got a case worth pursuing.
Don’t wait, because there are certain deadlines for submitting unlawful dismissal claims in Washington.
2nd, you will probably need to submit a timely claim with the Washington State Human Rights Commission.
Here are several best practices on filing a wrongful discharge claim.
Even though employment-at-will is the prevailing form of employment in the USA, there are laws to protect employees against unjust discrimination and harassment.
WrongfulTerminationSettlements.com was created as a compass for people who feel they have been terminated wrongfully, or discriminated against at their workplace.