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Money Damages In Employment Law

When an employer is found to have violated the law, that employer may be forced to pay damages to the employee. The following general rules apply to damages:

  1. Damages for breach of contract: damages generally are equal to what the employee would have received had the contract not been breached. So, for example, if an employee signs a 1-year contract for $60,000 and then is terminated without cause after six months, then he or she potentially could recover at least $30,000. However, the employee also has a responsibility to mitigate damages, which means he or she must look for another job.
  2. Exemplary damages: these are punitive damages meant to punish employer who commit particularly damaging acts against employees.
  3. The effect of unemployment benefits: in general, an employee’s damages are not diminished because he or she is receiving unemployment benefits. In the example from above, if the employee is receiving unemployment benefits for six months that total $15,000, he or she would still be entitled to receiving the $30,000 due to the breach of contract.

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