Labor and Employment

Can I Get My Job Back After Being Wrongfully Terminated?

By Sachi Barreiro, Attorney, University of San Francisco School of Law

One of the remedies in a wrongful termination is reinstatement: having your employer rehire you. In some cases, this may be possible. For example, if your boss fired you for rejecting his sexual advances—and no one else at the company was aware of it—an acceptable solution might be to fire the boss and rehire you. However, in many cases,, by the time you have sued your employer for wrongfully firing you, the working relationship has been damaged beyond repair. Because courts are reluctant to order people to work together, reinstatement usually happens only if both parties agree.

If reinstatement isn’t a viable option, your remedy will be in the form of monetary compensation. This may include lost wages, benefits, out-of-pocket expenses (such as job search costs), and damages for “pain and suffering”—the physical and mental distress that you suffered as a result of being wrongfully fired. In rare cases, you may also be able to get punitive damages—which are intended to punish your employer and deter similar behavior in the future—as well as attorneys’ fees.

Either way, the last thing you should do is sit at home in the hopes that you’ll get your old job back. Even if you were wrongfully fired, you have a duty to minimize your damages by looking for other work. If you failed to actively look for work, you might not be able to collect compensation for your wage loss.

Go back to main page of Wrongful Termination FAQs for Employees.

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