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What is front pay?

Many anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation statutes authorize reinstatement as an element of damages.  If restatement is not feasible, a court may award front pay in lieu of reinstatement.  There is no precise formula to determine the amount of front pay,  A front pay award is intended to provide compensation for a period of time sufficient to allow the wronged employee an opportunity to obtain similar employment.  As front pay is an equitable remedy, the judge usually determines front pay.

A prevailing plaintiff can also recover lost future earnings, which compensates the plaintiff for the effects of an unlawful termination.  Lost future earnings “encompass reputational harms, loss of experience, and other  forward-looking aspects of the injury caused by the discriminatory conduct.”  Teutscher v. Woodson, 835 F.3d 936, 959 (9th Cir. 2016).    Because lost future earnings is a component of compensatory damages, such damages should be decided by the jury.

 

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.