Tagged: Front Pay

Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright: Plaintiff-Employee Bears Burden of Proving Front Pay Damages

In the latest chapter of the ongoing case of Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the New Jersey Appellate Division has ruled that while an employer, found to have terminated an employee in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“the LAD”), has the burden of persuasion to establish a plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages with respect to back pay, the employer does not have the burden of persuasion with respect to a plaintiff’s failure to mitigate future losses, including front pay. In reversing a jury award for front pay in the amount of $3,650,318 because of improper jury instructions on the front pay issue, the Appellate Division suggested a framework for proper jury instructions on front pay damages and referred the issue to the Model Civil Jury Charge Committee. The Court also reversed the jury’s punitive damages award of over $4.5 million, concluding that that award was linked to the front pay award. The Court held that a new trial was required on both the front pay issue and on punitive damages.

NJ Supreme Court Rules That Lost Wages are Recoverable Under CEPA Even in Absence of Actual or Constructive Discharge

In a case of particular interest to New Jersey employers, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on June 9, 2011, in Donelson v. DuPont Chambers Works (A-112-09) that an employee who files suit under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) may recover back and front pay, even if the employee was not fired or constructively discharged, if the employee can show that he became mentally disabled as a result of the employer’s retaliation. The Court rejected the conclusion of the Appellate Division that the same standards govern remedies under CEPA and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), and that a constructive discharge must be proven to obtain back and front pay damages.