Front pay is available in employment discrimination cases when – despite reasonable efforts – you can’t find suitable employment, including reinstatement to the job that you were fired from. Courts have defined it as “the amount of money an employee would have made while working for the employer in the future, without the discrimination.” In 2009, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a 10-year front-pay award. That’s an extremely rare result.
Trial judges, while exercising their discretion to make such an award, may consider: (a) your age, (b) a reasonable amount of time for you to obtain a comparable position, (c) the amount of time you worked for the employer or previous employers, and (d) the amount of time other employees in similar positions worked at the employer.
Front pay, like back pay, is considered “wages” and, therefore, subject to income withholding and FICA taxes. I strongly urge you to consult with an accountant or tax lawyer for more information about the potential tax impact of settlements/judgments that include front and/or back pay.
In Part 3 of this series, we’ll explore the remedy of emotional distress.