What Is Front Pay Damages?

When a person is wrongfully terminated he or she fears the loss of income when accepting a new position earning less compensation than previously earned.   When this happens, the employee suffers damages in the form of not only lost wages from the time he or she was terminated or forced to resign, but also damages categorized as front pay damages when he or she accepts the new position as he or she is earning less compensation than previously earned at the position where he or she was wrongfully terminated or forced to resign.

The 1st Circuit court, more specifically, the Massachusetts District Court held in Haddad v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 914 NE 2d 59, the difference or reduction in salary from the time an employee was wrongfully terminated to their new job, front pay damages must be "proven with reasonable certainty,".  In determining the actual value of those front pay damages a court should "amount of future earnings, including salary, bonuses and benefits that the [p]laintiff would have received but for the [d]efendant's unlawful discrimination,".

There are five factors in determining the amount of any front pay award: (1) the amount of earnings, including salary and benefits, that the plaintiff would have received between the time of trial and the plaintiff's projected retirement date, Base pay compensates a plaintiff for lost wages from the time of termination through the time of trial; (2) the plaintiff's probable retirement date; (3) the amount of earnings that the plaintiff would probably have received from another employer until her retirement, which would reduce any front pay award; (4) the availability of other employment opportunities; and (5) the possibility of future wage increases and inflation. See Massachusetts Superior Court Civil Practice Jury Instructions § 5.3.2 (Mass. Cont. Legal Educ. 2d Supp. 2001).;

The judge further instructed that any award of front pay damages must be based on the present discounted value of the income stream, and he provided an explanation of how that value was to be calculated. See id. Wal-Mart did not object to these instructions.

If you have been wrongfully terminated contact a local employment law attorney, such as the Law Office of Goldstein and Clegg, LLC, at 781-595-3800 as soon as possible to be advised of your legal rights.

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