Not only are employment lawsuits on the rise, but so are victories for the employees in both court and the pocketbook.

According to Jury Verdict Research, a tracking agency, employees prevailed over employers in 61 percent of all employment trials in 2008 and walked away with a median award of $326,640, up from $204,000 just a year earlier, or a whopping 60 percent rise. Discrimination awards were up 16 percent from $208,000 to $241,119, with age discrimination being the number-one docket mover.

There’s a ray of hope for employers, however, if they can get their trials held in federal courts, where they prevailed 43 percent of the time as opposed to 37 percent in state courts. Median awards were 39 percent lower in federal courts as well.

Out-of-court settlements rose to $90,000, the highest in the decade, up 20 percent from 2007.

Data are not yet in for 2009, but expect rises in all categories in an increasingly fragile economy and with a more employee-friendly administration in Washington, D.C.