Refusal of an Unconditional Offer of Reinstatement
The employer may cut off back-pay liability by showing that the plaintiff received an unconditional offer and that the position is substantially equivalent to her former position, but the employer can’t predicate the reinstatement offer based on the Plaintiff agreeing to drop the case. See Ford Motor, 458 U.S. at 238-39; Madden v. Chattanooga City Wide Serv. Dep’t, 549 F.3d 666, 679 (6th Cir. 2008) (holding that the reinstatement offer conditioned on the plaintiff’s dropping his complaint against the employer does not cut off back pay liability). The plaintiff’s unreasonable rejection of an employer’s unconditional offer of reinstatement will end the accrual of back pay on the date that the offer is rejected or expires, Ford Motor, ***458 U.S. at 238-39, and it will also preclude the award of reinstatement or front pay. E.g., Lewis Grocer Co. v. Holloway, 874 F.2d 1008, 1012 (5th Cir. 1989); Stanfield v. Answering Serv., Inc., 867 F.2d 1290, 1296 (11th Cir. 1989). To preserve the right to recovery of back pay, the plaintiff then must show that the rejection of the offer was reasonable and justified by special circumstances. Ford Motor, 458 U.S. at 238 & n.7. The absence of retroactive seniority or accrued back pay does not constitute special circumstances that justify a rejection of the valid offer. Id. at 241.
Moral: if they offer you a job, after they have fired you, so long as they don’t try to get you to drop the case in exchange for the new job, you have to take the job, but you will still be able to continue with the case.
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