Proving Discrimination’s Impact on Earning Potential with a Vocational Expert

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If you are working on an employment discrimination case, a vocational expert can help you establish damages by measuring the impact of the discriminatory practice on the plaintiff’s earning potential. A vocational expert can also establish whether or not the plaintiff engaged in good faith efforts to secure comparable work and whether sudden unemployment had any ramifications within the plaintiff’s certain industry.

Consequences of employment discrimination include loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment. These consequences can be quantified pretty easily. Other consequences can be more difficult to assert, but a vocational expert’s testimony can help prove them.   The New Jersey Appellate Division recognized the importance of Vocational Experts in Employment cases in the JOYCE QUINLAN, v. CURTISS-WRIGHT CORPORATION case decided on April 5, 2012.

An individual wrongfully terminated or discriminated against may allege that there was an adverse impact on his income as a result of the wrongful termination or discrimination. It a plaintiff makes this argument, he must prove he made an effort to mitigate damages. This includes taking advantage of any reasonable opportunity, such as accepting a reasonable job offer, to reduce or minimize economic losses. A vocational expert can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of the plaintiff’s job search by assessing what types of work activity the plaintiff is qualified for and whether these jobs exist in sufficient numbers for the plaintiff to be a competitive job seeker.

To determine the impact of discrimination on earnings potential, the vocational expert assesses:

– the number, types, and wage level of jobs available prior to the discriminatory action

– vocational options following the discrimination or termination

– the individual’s ability to compete in the open labor market given their termination

– job availability

– the number of available jobs divided by the number of individuals seeking jobs

– employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment


Edmond Provder, owner of Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS), is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. He has worked as a vocational expert witness for over forty years, and has extensive experience documenting the effects of wrongful termination and discrimination in Employment Law cases for Plaintiff and Defense.  Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help in your case.