The use of a Vocational Expert is widely used to objectively assess an evaluee’s employability and/or earning capacity in many types of cases.
The assessment and documentation of the employability of persons who have been wrongfully terminated or sexually harassed is an important part of the damages in employment law cases and can only be performed by a Vocational Expert.
Vocational Experts are sometimes brought into wrongful termination or age discrimination cases to document the effect of the termination on the evaluee’s ability to be employed.
The initial purpose is to assess the effect of the termination on the evaluee’s employability. A comprehensive analysis of the evaluee’s education and past work history is performed, a transferability skills assessment is performed, and vocational testing may be administered to ascertain the type of work the person can perform. In addition, a labor market survey may be conducted to ascertain the level of earnings the individual may obtain despite being terminated from his/her prior employment. This is extremely important in our current economy where there is a record-high unemployment rate.
The Vocational Expert takes a comprehensive history of the evaluee’s job search to assess what efforts have been made to locate appropriate employment. The evaluee’s cover letter, resume, job search methods and techniques, types of employment searched for, and where the evaluee had sent resumes are reviewed. An opinion is rendered regarding the evaluee’s efforts to mitigate his/her damages despite being terminated.
The Vocational Expert plays no role in determining the liability portion of this type of case, only the damages section. The Vocational Expert utilizes a standardized vocational interview, employment records, and deposition, if available, to render an opinion as to employability and earning capacity.
An attorney should use a Vocational Expert in an Employment Law case for three reasons:
1. To determine the worth of the case
2. To move the case toward settlement by justifying the amount of the demand
3. To provide testimony regarding damages for trial.
The vocational evaluation enables the attorney to document the damages of the case to the jury in a clear, concise, and demonstrative manner.
In all types of cases, the key to bringing your case to settlement or resolution is to prepare your case for trial as early as possible. This means that you must retain your damages experts, i.e. vocational and economic experts, early on to fully document the case. The use of a Vocational Expert assists the attorney in this process.
In fact, the Supreme Court in New Jersey found in the Quinlan Case that in order to prove future lost earnings, the Plaintiff attorney must hire a Vocational Expert, as well as an Economist. Note, Economists are NOT Vocational Experts.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the leading companies providing Vocational Expert services in the United States for Plaintiff and Defense Employment Law attorneys. With offices in NJ, NY, CT, GA, PA, FL, NV, and CA and remote teleconferencing, our 45+ years’ experience has assisted countless Employment Law attorneys in documenting case damages.
About The Author
Edmond Provder, CRC, CLCP, D-ABVE, is the founder and president of Occupational Assessment Services, Inc., a published author of multiple articles, and is regarded as an expert in Vocational Evaluator Services, and in Employability, and Social Security. Mr. Provder is a certified rehabilitation counselor, Diplomate of the American Board of Vocational Experts and certified life care planner who has provided services for the severely disabled since 1973.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc.—a nationwide leader in Life Care Planning and Vocational Evaluations—supports attorneys in catastrophic injury cases from offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. We also offer video conferencing for remote access nationwide.
Vocational Expert/Life Care Plan reports from OAS can help you document damages in large personal injury cases. If your next catastrophic injury case requires an experienced life care planner or employability expert, call 800-292-1919. We’ll send a proposal containing the experts’ professional qualifications, our fee schedule, and a sample report.
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