January 24, 2013 Articles

Litigating Front-Pay Claims in Employment Discrimination Cases

Front-pay claims can constitute a substantial portion of a jury's award.

By Kevin J. O'Connor – January 24, 2013

In the words of noted playwright Oscar Wilde, “[i]n this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” When litigating statutory claims of harassment or discrimination, the question of remedies arises: “Should I seek reinstatement or front pay, or both?” Some jurisdictions may require the employee to pursue both during the litigation, and to ultimately show that reinstatement is simply not feasible before being awarded front pay. When seeking front pay, there are numerous factors that must be considered in formulating one’s litigation strategy in preparation for trial, including whether to shoot for the stars and seek an enormous amount of front pay, or to follow a more reasonable approach and draw less scrutiny. From a practical standpoint, the choice could have an enormous impact on the trajectory of an employment-discrimination case and the length of time before it will be resolved.

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