Post Termination Conduct - Can Impact Front Pay and Reinstatement
by Michael Fox
In Sellers v. Mineta (8th Cir. 2/24/04) [pdf] the Court faced an unusual set of circumstances. Sellers who alleged she had been wrongfully terminated was subsequently terminated from her next employer for misconduct. This was arguably sufficient to prevent re-instatement with defendant. The question became the impact on her ability to receive front pay if that were established. Although sending it back to the court below for further factual development, the Court summed up its theoretical view in this money quote:
It requires no leap in logic to conclude that if an unreasonable rejection of an offer of reinstatement precludes a front pay award, then post-termination misconduct of a type that renders an employee actually unable to be reinstated or ineligible for reinstatement should also be one of the "factual permutations" which is relevant in determining whether a front pay award is appropriate.
Although there is a dissent, it seems to go only to whether the facts of this case call for the application of this principle, rather than disagreeing with the principle as a matter of law.