The measure of damages for breach of an employment contract by an employee is the cost of obtaining other service equivalent to that promised and not performed.
Plaintiff employer owned a beauty salon. Plaintiff entered into a one year contract with defendant employee whereby plaintiff agreed to employ defendant as a hairdresser for the greater of $ 75.00 per week or 50 percent of the gross receipts from defendant's work. Defendant left his employment after 6 1/2 months and took another position at a different beauty salon for a weekly salary of $ 100. The trial court found in favor of plaintiff but assessed only nominal damages of $ 1.00.Plaintiff employer sought review of the decision of the trial court. The court reversed and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of damages.
Did the trial court err in award nominal damages of only $1.00?
The court held that plaintiff was entitled to recover damages that represented the costs of obtaining suitable replacement labor that was required by defendant's breach. The court held there was some evidence of value when the evidence showed that plaintiff originally retained defendant for $ 75 per week and defendant subsequently left and earned $ 100 per week. The court held that plaintiff's alleged lost profits were too speculative to be foreseeable and recoverable.