Front Pay Laws

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What is Front Pay?

Front pay is a form of damages awarded in some employment claims involving wrongful termination and workplace disputes.  It usually represents the amount of wages that an employee would have earned if they were to be reinstated to a job or if they were promoted to a position that they were denied. 

Front pay is therefore awarded as a form of compensation for lost wages in the period between a court judgment and reinstatement to the prior job title.  It is very similar to back pay except that it is awarded mostly in instances where reinstatement is not possible.

Is Front Pay Different From “Future Earnings”?

Yes, front pay is a different legal concept from that of “future earnings” or “future loss of earnings”.  Front pay basically has to do with allowing an employee to recover wages that they would have received if they were reinstated after a wrongful termination. 

An example of front pay is where an employee is wrongfully terminated based on employment discrimination.  Instead of reinstating the employee to their position, a court will sometimes allow the employer to render wages which the employee would have earned if not for the termination.  

On the other hand, a loss of future earnings or future loss of earning capacity is a type of damages awarded in some personal injury cases.  Loss of future earnings refers to harm that a plaintiff suffers which results in a diminished capacity to earn wages. 

An example of lost future earnings is where a skilled worker suffers an injury to the hand which prevents them from performing their job properly in the future.  Future earnings is therefore connected more with disability claims than with wrongful termination suits.   

Do I Need a Lawyer for Claims Involving Front Pay?

If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, you may wish to contact an employment lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can help you file a claim in court or with an administrative agency which will process your complaint.  The employment laws of each state are different, so be sure to present any unique concerns you may have to your attorney. 

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Last Modified: 07-01-2011 02:03 PM PDT

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