How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Lawyer To Sue My Employer?

People often ask me how much does an employment lawyer cost? Employees generally have claims against the employer, and an employment lawyer typically works on a contingent fee – meaning there is no fee unless the lawyer wins the employee’s case. An employer generally has questions about employment law or a lawsuit; therefore, an employer has to pay a lawyer an hourly fee of $350-$650 per hour, depending on the region.

Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney

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When considering a lawsuit against your employer, hiring an attorney is a good idea. It is essential to consider the cost and legal fees of such a lawsuit. Costs may vary from case to case, but some standard charges apply to all employment law claims.


Our office charges $0 upfront, and there is no fee unless you win!


Read about the top 12 reasons to sue your employer.

Here are some of the common lawyer’s fees you may expect:

  • Contingency fees – If you hire your lawyer on a contingency fee basis, you will only pay them if they win the case. Payment will usually be as a percentage of the money recovered, usually 35% to $45%. This is a great option if you do not have the money to pay your lawyer on an ongoing basis. Our law office represents employee’s lawsuit on a contingency basis, $0 upfront, and no fee unless we collect money for you.
  • Hourly fees – Attorney’s fees can vary significantly, but expect at least $200 per hour for an attorney. It is usually best to pay per hour if you need them for a specific service, otherwise, it can add up quickly! Our law office represents employee’s lawsuit on a contingency basis, $0 upfront, and no fee unless we collect money for you.

  • Unbundling services – This allows you to limit your attorney’s involvement in the case. You will handle the majority of the case apart from specific legal tasks that your lawyer will complete. This means you pay a flat fee instead of an hourly rate and could be a good way to save money.

It is important to discuss fees and the ongoing legal costs before you hire your employment lawyer.

  • If you file your employment discrimination case with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you will not be charged for filing the lawsuit. The EEOC will try to mediate with your employer to reach a satisfactory solution. If this mediation fails, the EEOC will then file a federal lawsuit. In some cases, they are unable to file a lawsuit and will notify you in writing and give you 90 days to file your own lawsuit.

  • If you have a strong case, an employment attorney may accept your case on a contingency basis. It will be unlikely that your attorney will lose the case and therefore earn nothing. When they swin, they will receive a percentage of the settlement or judgement, usually between 20 and 50%. Lawyers with a successful track record for large settlements might charge a higher percentage than other attorneys. If the case settles and doesn’t go to court, your attorney might take a lower percentage of your settlement.

  • If the case goes to court, fees for expert witnesses, court fees, and other expenses will be deducted from your settlement. These will generally be around $10,000, but your employment attorney will be able to give you a more accurate estimate based on your case. Attorneys may also handle your case on a partial-contingency fee basis and expect you to pay these costs whether you win or lose your case.

  • Some employment attorneys handle employment discrimination cases on an hourly basis because they can be difficult to prove. Depending on the attorney’s hourly rate, it may be between $100 -$600 per hour. Court costs and other expenses will be charged on top of this. Hourly legal fees can add up quickly, especially for complex cases that need a lot of legal work.

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At Will Employment

At will employment means that the employer or the worker may end the employment relationship at any time. When an employment is at will, the employer can terminate employees for no reason.

Can You Get Fired for Looking for Another Job?

Firing an employee for looking for another job is legal under California Labor Code § 2922. Employees in California are employed on an “at-will” which means the employee or employer can terminate the working relationship at any time for any reason.

Can an employee be terminated while on medical leave?

It depends on the reason the employee is on medical leave. Under the FMLA, an employee cannot be terminated simply because they take leave. An employee is free to take medical leave without fear of losing their job. However, if there is a reason unrelated to the medical leave, an employer does have the right to terminate an employee.

Can Slack Admins Read DMs?

Yes. Slack admin and employer can read every DMs, private channels, private messages sent between team members. Employers on either Slack's free tier or paid tier need to submit a request to Slack before they can access your private chats.

Four Hour Minimum Pay

Yes - under California employment law, when an employee is scheduled to work an eight-hour shift, and the work is canceled, the employer must pay a minimum of four hours.

How far back do PAGA claims go?

A PAGA claim is generally one year from the date of the last employment law violation on which the PAGA claim is based.

FICA Withholding: What is FICA tax on my paycheck?

What is FICA tax on my paycheck? FICA is a federal wage tax. FICA taxes requires withholding from an employee’s gross earnings: 6.2% for social security and 1.45% for Medicare. The employer matches these percentages for a total of 15.3%.

Why Does EDD Do a Benefit Audit?

The EDD conducts benefit audits to help pay Unemployment Insurance benefits to only eligible claimants only, prevents fraud in the UI program, and helps companies control UI costs. The EDD’s responsibility is to collect payroll taxes and conduct payroll audits of businesses.

What Does PAGA Mean in a Lawsuit?

The word PAGA is an acronym for the Private Attorney General Act, which is the Labor Code that authorizes employees to file a lawsuit to recover civil penalties for themselves and other employees. PAGA confers a private right of action to individuals to prosecute under PAGA and incentivizes the employee to keep 25% of collected civil penalties.

What does an employment lawyer do?

An employment lawyer help employers and employees understand their respective rights and obligations, such as wages, wrongful termination, overtime, PTO, disability, discrimination, harassment, etc.

Can my employer call my doctor?

Generally, yes, your employer can call your doctor; however, the questions your employer ask is limited and protected by HIPAA Privacy Law. Your employer has the right to contact your doctor to verify the authenticity of a doctor’s note but cannot ask about your medical condition or diagnosis.

Can I Be Fired for Work Restrictions?

State and federal laws protect employees from employers firing employees because of work restrictions. If you’re fired at work, please get in touch with our employment attorney for a free consultation on work restrictions ignored by the employer.

What Qualifies as an EEOC Complaint?

The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, medical status, and disability. There are time limits for filing a complaint with the EEOC.

EEOC Complaint Process

Before filing an EEOC complaint, employees should understand the entire EEOC complaint process. This article answers many Frequently Asked Questions on the EEOC complaint process.

Do guys get paid paternity leave?

A father is eligible for paternity leave if three conditions are met: 1) welcome a new child within the first twelve months; 2) Paid into the State Disability Insurance; 3) Has not taken more than eight weeks of paternity leave in the past twelve months.

California PTO Payout Law

California law declares vacation time to be earned wages, and vacation time is accumulated as work is performed. So, an employee who has the right to ten days of vacation per year will after six months of work earn five days of vacation time.

Suing For Unpaid Wages California

It is totally unfair for an employee to work and not get paid; employees have bills and rent to pay. Employees suing for unpaid wages in California can get help from an employment attorney.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Lawyer To Sue My Employer?

People often ask me how much does an employment lawyer cost? Employees generally have claims against the employer, and an employment lawyer typically works on a contingent fee - meaning there is no fee unless the lawyer wins the employee's case.

Employee Management

Employee management is the process of aid employees to do their best work daily to achieve the company’s goal. Employee management helps improve employee satisfaction and productivity to help a company achieve its overall goals.

Is It Legal To Pay Employees Cash Under the Table?

Paying employees in cash is not illegal but frequently employers do not comply with employment laws concerning paying in cash. Employees' lawsuit against the employer for paying in cash has resulted in settlements averaging $100,000.

What is a demand letter?

A demand letter is a letter that is commonly written by a lawyer on behalf of a client setting forth facts supporting a demand for money. A demand letter is usually the first step in resolving a dispute between two opposing parties.

EEOC Discrimination

Learn about the various types of EEOC-prohibited discrimination. The EEOC protects employees from discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, etc.

Standard PTO Policy for Small Business

A standard PTO for small businesses depends on the years an employee worked for the company. On average, the standard PTO for one to five years is ten days and six to ten years averages fifteen days.

Retaliation for Reporting Harassment at Work

An employer who punishes an employee who reported sexual harassment in the workplace violates state and federal law and is liable for retaliation. Examples of retaliation include demotion, fewer working hours, segregation, or termination.

Obscene and Sexual Gestures a Work

We're not talking about the ubiquitous middle finger that says fuck you. Obscene and sexual gestures at work may include two fingers in a V shape, with a tongue in between. 

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

One of the most common types of sexual harassment is Quid pro quo sexual harassment, and it is one of the easiest to hide. All types of workplace sexual harassment are illegal.

Reporting Time Pay

Wages are what we mean when we use the term "reporting time pay." If employers do not pay all of this at the moment of an employee being terminated, there may be waiting time penalties involved.

Can I Sue My Employer For Not Paying Me Correctly?

Employees work hard and deserve to be paid correctly, and on time. It sucks when an employee works hard, and long hours only to be paid incorrectly while the boss is driving a Lambo or Benz.

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S Corp vs. C Corp

The main difference between an S Corp and a C Corp is that for a C Corp, the corporate profit is taxed to the company, and the dividends to the shareholders are also taxed. In contrast, for an S Corp, the profit is taxed to the shareholder but not to the corporation. Generally, small businesses are S Corps, and major companies are C Corps, e.g., Apple, Microsoft, Caterpillar, John Deer, etc.

How to Form a Corporation in California?

To form a corporation in California follow these steps: 1) Write a one page Article of Incorporation, 2) File the Article of Incorporation with the California Secretary of State, 3) Elect corporate board of directors, 4) File Statement of Information with Secretary of State.

What are the benefits of a corporate lawyer?

The are many benefits of hiring a corporate lawyer for your business which includes: avoiding litigation, enforceable contracts, develop employee policies, proper licensing, etc.

How to Incorporate a Small Business in California?

To incorporate a small business in California, file an Articles of Incorporation with the California Secretary of State's office. After you file the Article of Incorporation, create corporate bylaws, and elect your initial director(s).

What is Commercial Litigation?

Commercial litigation refers to litigation (lawsuit) that involves commercial or business disputes in court between two or more parties.

How to Get Rid of a 50 50 Business Partner.

How to Get Rid of a 50/50 Business Partner. One method to get rid of a 50/50 partner is to file a business partnership dissolution in the state your company was formed to end the partnership.

Personal Assistant Scam

A personal assistant scam typically involves a perpetrator putting out an ad to hire a personal assistant. Then, when the perpetrator purportedly hires the personal assistant, the assistant is asked to buy something with their own money with the promise to be repaid. The perpetuator then disappears after receiving the goods.

Fiduciary Responsibility Definition

A fiduciary responsibility refers to an organization that must put another person’s best interest first. A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care in law. For example, a lawyer owes a fiduciary responsibility to the clients, a doctor owes a fiduciary duty to a patient, and a trustee owes a fiduciary duty to a beneficiary.

What is profit formula and how to calculate profit formula?

A business profit is revenue minus expenses. The profit formula in accounting calculates the net gains or losses incurred by the business for a period by subtracting the total expenses from the total income: Total Income – Total Expenses - Profit

What is invoice reconciliation?

Invoice reconciliation is the process of matching bank statements to incoming and outgoing invoices. The purpose of invoice reconciliation is to confirm that the data entry is correctly matched with every invoice.

What Makes a Verbal Contract Valid

A verbal contract is valid when contractual elements are satisfied, such as evidence of an offer, acceptance of the offer, and consideration which is an exchange of value between the parties.

Marketing Transport Company

The easiest way of growing your list of clients is to schedule a meeting with businesses that do a lot of shipping and introduce your transportation company. Then, engage an internet presence to market your transportation business.

What Can You Do with a Toxic Business Partner?

A bad partnership could lead to profit loss and toxic company culture. The first way of dealing with a toxic business partner is to schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns calmly.

Disruptive Business Model

Disruptive business models are disruptive innovations that bring new business ideas or technology to existing markets. A disruptive business does not fit the profile of a standard business model. Amazon is considered as one of the world's most disruptive companies.

How to Get a Business Loan with Bad Credit

For small business owners with bad credit, the easiest place to get a business loan is with the SBA. Although not easy, entrepreneurs with bad credit can get a small business loan.

How to Get a Small Business Grant

You can get a small business grant from the Small Business Administration. Also, check your local government for small business stimulus grants.

Pros and Cons of Etsy

Etsy Pro: Your products are given a large audience, and you easily sell your merchandise. Etsy Cons: You can only sell handmade or vintage merchandise, and there are many competitors.

What is a Breach of Contract in California?

A breach of contract in California arose when a party to a contract failed to achieve a legal duty the contract created. When a party to a contract fails to fulfill the terms of a binding contract, they are liable for damages for breaching the contract.

Business Equipment Leasing Pros and Cons

One advantage of equipment leasing is that you don’t need to come up with all the cash to buy the equipment. One disadvantage of equipment leasing is higher overall costs than outright purchasing the equipment.

LLC vs DBA

The main difference between an LLC and a DBA is that an LLC is a business entity, and a DBA is a registered fictitious business name. Sole proprietors, general partnerships, and LLC can register for a DBA.

What is an LLC and how does it work

An LLC is a business entity that protects the owners with limited liability protection. An LLC also offers pass-through taxation, which means the company’s profits and losses pass through to the owner’s personal tax level.

What Is a Disregarded Entity?

A “disregarded entity” refers to an entity with one owner and not organized as an entity such as a corporation, LLC, or partnership. For federal tax purposes, the disregarded entity and the owner, who is a natural person, are not treated separate.

Employee Management

Employee management is the process of aid employees to do their best work daily to achieve the company’s goal. Employee management helps improve employee satisfaction and productivity to help a company achieve its overall goals.

California Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A fiduciary is a professional person who owes a legal and ethical responsibility to another person. Examples of people with fiduciary duties are lawyers, financial advisors, corporate officers, corporate directors, etc. A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when the professional person fails to do what was legally and ethically required of them.

List of 12 Biggest Business Startup Costs

It is a good idea for every entrepreneur to consider the costs associated with starting their business. Financing is stressful, but estimating startup costs goes a long way to ensuring a business succeeds.

Is it legal to sell homemade food in California?

California is one of the only states to allow individuals to sell homemade meals, including meals that contain meat. So long as you have California required permits and licenses, it is legal to sell homemade food in California.

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