Rights of Employees
Expert Witnesses in Employment Cases
In many employment law cases, using an expert witness can be critical to winning your case and maximizing the damages you recover. Below we describe some of the most common types of expert witnesses used in employment law cases.Economic Damages Experts
Perhaps the most important employment law experts are economists and vocationals expert. Economic experts can explain and quantify the value of your lost wages and benefits, including the value of any lost health insurance, pension or 401k. This can be very helpful to a jury when it is deciding how much to award you. In addition, it may be necessary to have an economic expert to prove front pay damages, meaning damages for your lost wages in the future.Employability Experts
An employability expert is someone who has expertise about how difficult it is to find a new job in your field. They can be helpful to support your claim for front pay, or to contest your employer’s claim that you should have been able to mitigate (replace) your economic losses sooner than you did.Psychotherapists
One of the most common type of expert witnesses used in employment law cases are mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and social workers. Although you are not required to have an expert to prove emotional distress damages under New Jersey or New York law, an expert can be very helpful to prove that your employer’s wrongful conduct caused or exacerbated your emotional pain and suffering.
Likewise, a psychotherapist can help maximize the damages you are awarded for your emotional distress by explaining the severity of your symptoms. In fact, having a psychotherapist testify often is required before a jury can hear that you have been diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), or another psychiatric disorder caused by your employer’s wrongful actions.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to use the psychotherapist who has been treating you as an expert witness. Alternatively, you can hire a forensic expert specifically to testify in your case.
In addition, employers sometimes hire their own psychotherapists to try to contradict your expert, or to provide an alternative explanation for the emotional distress you experienced as a result of your employer’s violation of your legal rights.Other Medical Experts
In some employment law cases, other medical experts can be helpful or even necessary. For example, in a disability discrimination case, including a claim that your employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for your disability, you might need a doctor to testify about your disability and the extent to which it impacts your ability to perform your job. Similarly, in a case under the Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), you might need a physician to establish that you or your immediate family member has a “serious medical condition,” or that you needed to take time off from work as a result.Experts in Whistleblower Cases
If you have a whistleblower retaliation claim, you might want or need a subject-matter expert who can explain technical issues that are unique to your industry or your job. For instances, this could include an expert to testify about relevant tax laws, food and drug regulations, safety requirements, or other legal obligations that a jury is unlikely to know or understand.