Court Denies Employer’s Motion To Prevent Employee From Introducing Evidence Of Front Or Back Pay Due To Her Alleged Failure To Mitigate Damages

Gregory S. Schaer, a Monmouth County based New Jersey Employment Attorney located in Manalapan, represented the employee in a lawsuit against their employer alleging claims of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.

In Blakey v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22074 (D.N.J. 1997) Continental Airlines sought to prevent Captain Blakey from being able to recover damages for front or back pay due to the claim that Captain Blakey had allegedly failed to mitigate her damages.

The court held that a plaintiff in a discrimination case has a duty to use reasonable or diligent efforts to secure suitable employment in order to mitigate damages. Although the plaintiff bears this duty, a defendant has the burden of proving that plaintiff failed to mitigate damages by demonstrating (1) that plaintiff did not exercise reasonable diligence in seeking comparable employment; and (2) comparable employment actually was available had the plaintiff exercised reasonable diligence.

The court held that while an unemployed or underemployed claimant need not go into another line of work, accept a demotion or take a demeaning position, a claimant forfeits the right to back pay if the claimant refuses a job substantially equivalent to the one that the claimant was denied.

The employee claimed that she had made other applications for work to the FAA and other Airlines at a time when she was medically able. However, plaintiff claimed that she remained on administrative leave from Continental and could have resumed flying for Continental once she was declared medically fit to fly, both physically and mentally.

The court denied Continental’s motion to bar the employee from seeking back pay due to the employee’s alleged failure to mitigate her damages.

To speak with an experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorney, contact the Law Offices of Gregory S. Schaer, LLC, conveniently located in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

  1. Blakey v. Continental Airlines, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22074 (D.N.J. 1997)
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