Has your employer recently terminated you? Do you believe that it was a wrongful termination? In order to recoup the lost wages you have suffered, your next step would be to file a lawsuit against your former employer. The law refers to lost wages as damages. An individual who is wrongfully terminated is entitled to back pay and front pay, among other types of damages. Back pay is the exact amount of money lost from the date of termination to the present. Front pay is the amount of money the individual expects he or she will lose in the future. Both are available to a plaintiff who prevails in court against his or her employer. At times, a plaintiff who prevails will not be awarded anything. So, how do you secure these lost wages? And how do you make sure that these lost wages are not minimized in court?
How long is the legal process?
Lawsuits take a long time. Its possible years will have passed by the time the terminated employee is compensated for his or her loss. An employee could have lost over a year’s worth of lost wages by the time he or she files a lawsuit. But, no matter how long the case goes on, the amount owed in lost wages can be lost if a plaintiff fails to “mitigate damages.”
The law states that the plaintiff must make every reasonable effort to find alternative employment to be eligible for lost wages in a wrongful termination suit. This is known as mitigating damages. Essentially, the plaintiff must show that he or she actively looked for a new job or found other, similar employment to the position he or she lost. If you fail to do so, your former employer can argue to the court that the lost wages should be minimized if you were unable to get a new job. You have to take certain steps as an employee to guarantee you get your full lost wages.
What can I do to secure lost wages?
It would be best if you always showed diligence during the job search and demonstrated that you have been trying to find a job. Not just any job will suffice; instead, it has to be comparable employment. Comparable employment is a job that is very similar to the previous position in job duties, pay, status, and opportunities to advance. So what do you need to do to ensure you secure your lost wages and win your case against your former employer?
One of the biggest things you can do is to keep notes of your job search. It will show diligence that you were looking for a new job that was comparable employment.
Suppose you find a job that makes the same or more like the old job, good for you! But this affects your damages as well. The law states that if the plaintiff finds a job with similar or higher pay, his or her damages are cut off once he/she starts the new position. This legal doctrine is another part of the requirement plaintiffs must follow to mitigate their damages.
All of this affects how the parties will try to resolve any legal disputes as well. If you have more questions or have a more unique situation, please contact us here.