This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If a contract for services is broken by the employer the measure of damages depends upon the terms of the compensation. If a certain rate of compensation is to be paid by the day, month or year, the measure of damages is the contract price for the entire term less what the employe could earn in that locality at a similar employment if he had exercised due care to obtain such other employment.1 If his expenses while on the road were to have been paid by his employer, they may also be considered as an item of damage to the employe.2 If the employe is to be paid by the piece, or a job, the measure of the damages is the contract price less what it would cost to complete the contract.0 This rule gives the employe the benefit of the contract in the form of the profits that would accrue from performance, but does not allow him for the loss of his time as such.4 If a contract of employment is broken by the employe, the measure of damages is the reasonable value of such services in that locality, less the contract price.5 Where a contract to deliver lumber at a yard was broken by piling some elsewhere the measure of recovery was held to be the difference between the contract price and the cost of the work done; and not the cost of moving the rest of the lumber.6 The measure of damages for delay in setting up a heater is the cost of completing it, and not the value of the personal services of the vendee.7 If the contract is ended by mutual consent, the amount of recovery for work and labor is such proportion of the contract price as the amount of work done is to the entire amount.8
1 Pierce v. Ry., 173 U. S. 1; Fuller v. Little, 61 111. 22; Hamilton v. Love, 152 Ind. 641; 71 Am. St. Rep. 384; 53 N. E. 181; 54 N. E. 437; Worthington v. Park Imp. Co., 100 la. 39; 69 N. W. 258; Baltimore Base Ball, etc., Co. v. Pickett, 78 Md. 375; 44 Am. St. Rep. 304; 22 L. R. A. 690; 28 Atl. 279; Bennett v. Morton, 46 Minn. 113; 48 N. W. 678; Lee v. Hampton, 79 Miss. 321; 30 So. 721; Kelly v. Wheel Co.. 62 O. S. 598; 57 N. E. 984; East Tennessee, etc., Ry. v. Staub, 7 Lea (Term.) 397; Howay v. Going-Northrup Co.. 24 Wash. 88: 85 Am.
St. Rep. 942; 64 Pac. 135; Rhoades v. Ry., 49 W. Va. 494; 87 Am. St. Rep. 826; 55 L. R. A. 170; 39 S. E. 209; Babcoek v. Mfg. Co., 93 Wis. 124; 67 N. E. 33.
2 Estes v. Shoe Co., 155 Mo. 577; 56 S. W. 316.
3 Peed v. Ry. (Ky.), 75 S. W. 200; Jewett v. Wilmot, 51 Neb. 700; 71 N. W. 775.
4 Jewett v. Wilmot, 51 Neb. 700; 71 N. W. 775.
5 Hartman v. Rogers. 69 Cal. 643; 11 Pac. 581; Truitt v. Fahey, 3 Penn. (Del.) 573; 52 Atl. 339.