Equitable remedy is a type of compensation given through legal proceeding to restore an injured or aggrieved person to the position they were in before the injury or wrongful action occurred. Remedies are generally divided into two categories – legal and equitable. Legal remedies allow the non-breaching party to recover monetary damages, while equitable remedies are often non-monetary solutions to resolve the disputed issue. Equitable remedies can be obtained in a breach of contract situation and are actions that the court prescribes to serve as resolution. These are typically granted when legal remedies or monetary compensation cannot adequately resolve the wrongdoing.

Equitable remedies can include:
Specific Performance: A court order requiring the party in breach to completely perform their part of the bargain according to the contract. This can include requiring them to deliver goods which have already been paid for, or to render payment for services.

Contract Rescission:
The old contract which was breached is rescinded or cancelled. A new contract may be written which more clearly addresses the different needs of each party.

Contract Reformation:
The existing contract is rewritten to more accurately reflect the true intentions of each party. A valid, working contract must be in existence to rewrite it in part or whole. Reformation, also known as rectification, is often prescribed where there was a mistake or misrepresentation in one of the contract terms.

A court order that demands a party to stop doing a specific act because it is causing irreparable injury to the plaintiff which monetary damages cannot replace.

Constructive Trust:
A constructive trust is imposed by a court in order to benefit a party whose rights have been violated. For example, the defendant wrongfully obtains the plaintiff’s property and uses it to increase the value of his own property.

How Equitable Relief Can Affect an Employer
When a plaintiff desires equitable relief damages in an employment law case, they want the court to place him or her into the financial/economic position he or she would have been in had the discrimination not occurred. These remedies would make the plaintiff “whole”.

Equitable remedies the court will grant to make the plaintiff whole include: “hiring, transfer, promotion, reinstatement, retroactive seniority, tenure, restoration of benefits, salary adjustment, expunging adverse material from personnel files, letters of commendation, and reasonable accommodation.” The employer has the burden of limiting the remedy the court can apply.

Courts have the ability to stop the use of discriminatory employment practices such as: height, weight and age requirements, as well as demand affirmative measures to resolve unlawful practices. So, although a plaintiff might not be able to win monetary relief, equitable relief can still cost an employer money.

Consider Willingham v. City of Valparaiso Florida, the court granted the plaintiff’s equitable relief request of front pay. As a result, the plaintiff’s former employer had to pay the plaintiff $70,548 in addition to the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.

It is extremely important for employers to be aware of all employment laws. They must obey these laws in order to avoid being found guilty of discrimination and being on the hook for a judgment of equitable relief. For questions about Equitable Remedy, contact Derek Usman at the Usman Law Firm, 813-377-1197.

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