How long do Wrongful Termination cases take?

It’s a common scenario when someone believes they’ve faced wrongful termination and contemplates the viability of pursuing a wrongful termination case.

Questions linger—can they win, and if so, what’s the potential compensation?

Yet, the predominant concern is the inevitable hassle. Most people dislike prolonged uncertainties in their lives.

An image of Lawyer hammer on top of compensation money

What Constitutes a Wrongful Termination?

A wrongful termination happens when an employer discharges a worker for an illegal reason.

Even workers in at-will employment can be protected by wrongful termination laws.

A multitude of situations can spark a claim for wrongful termination, ranging from discrimination and retaliation to breaches of contract and infringement upon public policy.

If you suspect you’ve experienced wrongful termination, there’s potential to initiate a wrongful termination lawsuit seeking remedies like lost wages, damages, and additional compensation.

An employee attorney can provide valuable assistance in this process.

How long do Wrongful Termination cases take?

The duration of a wrongful termination case is highly variable.

Mainly influenced by a number of factors such as:

  1. The employer’s inclination towards settling outside of court.
  2. The clarity of the termination’s legality.
  3. The employer’s size and whether they have in-house employment lawyers.
  4. The determination of the former employer or employee to go to trial.
  5. The potential harm to the employer’s reputation.
  6. The magnitude of legal damages involved.
  7. The existence of an administrative process mandated by law that must be completed initially.

Each of these variables, among others, holds the power to significantly expedite or prolong the resolution of the conflict.

To illustrate, in instances where the claim involves only minor damages, large employers might opt to resolve the case within mere weeks of its initiation.

Typically, these cases may extend over several months or even years before reaching resolution.

Classification of wrongful termination lawsuits

Wrongful termination cases typically fall under civil rights statutes.

In most cases, initiating legal proceedings requires navigating through an administrative agency before filing your case in court.

What are the steps in a wrongful termination lawsuit?

Wrongful termination lawsuits, which take the longest time are the ones that grace the courtroom.

When settlements happen outside the legal arena, the journey is notably shorter.

Various junctures in the process become settlement hotspots, but if the case goes to trial, each procedural step must run its course.

The wrongful termination lawsuit procedures include;

Administrative process or agency complaints

In a case of discrimination, before proceeding to court, you might embark on an administrative journey or initiate a charge.

A charge is a formal complaint outlining the ways in which your employer wrongfully terminated you.

For instance, if one feels like they have been wrongly terminated, they can file a charge at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the federal level.

This agency may probe into your complaint and strive to resolve the issue through mediation or alternative methods.

Filing the wrongful termination lawsuit in court

If the administrative process or agency complaint falls short of resolving the issue, you have the potential to unleash the legal arsenal and file a lawsuit in court.

This entails crafting and submitting a complaint to the court, vividly outlining the intricacies of your claim and the remedies you are seeking.

Discovery Process

Following the filing of the complaint, the parties embark on a discovery journey, delving into the exchange of information and documents pertinent to the case.

This intricate phase may encompass depositions, requests for document production, and various legal manoeuvres.

Summary judgment stage

In a legal dance, both sides may ask the judge to decide the case without a full trial, called a summary judgment.

The judge does this only if there are no important facts still in question.

If the case ends at this stage, it usually takes about 9 months to a year from when it started.


If there’s no agreement, the case moves to trial. Usually, wrongful termination trials last a few days. But if there are complex details, the trial could stretch to several weeks.

Stature of limitations.

It’s crucial to know that there’s a time limit for wrongful termination cases.

This time limit law is known as the Stature of limitations.

You have to file your claim before a certain deadline, or you won’t be able to do so.

The time limit depends on the type of claim and the location where you’re filing it.

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