Age Discrimination Damages
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Can I Recover Monetary Damages for an Age Discrimination Case?
Yes. A person who is unlawfully discriminated against because of age is entitled to compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages include:
- Back pay for loss of income
- Emotional distress
- Attorney's fees arising from the employer's violation of the ADEA
Punitive damages, on the other hand, serve to punish an employer who has acted egregiously. These damages force an employer to pay additional compensation to the victim.
How Much Can I Recover in Punitive Damages?
If an employer willfully violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and discriminated against an employee based on age, the victim is entitled to recover additional punitive damages. A judge has the power to double the damage award under federal law, or potentially triple the damages under state law.
Can the Court Grant Other Types of Relief?
Yes. The court may order the employer to hire, promote, or re-hire an individual who was discriminated against in violation of the ADEA. Sometimes, forcing the employer to hire or re-hire an individual after hostile litigation is simply not possible. As an alternative, the court may order the employer to pay the employee for lost future wages, sometimes known as "front pay."
Can the Court Limit My Recovery?
Yes. A discharged employee has a duty to limit his damages by continuing to seek other employment during the litigation. If the individual stops actively looking for employment, or turns down a comparable job offer, the court may diminish the victim's recovery accordingly. If the victim has accepted other comparable employment during the litigation, or received severance pay or pension benefits, the court may deduct such amounts from the award.
What If the Discriminating Employer Offers Me a Job?
If the discriminating employer makes you an unconditional job offer that is comparable to the position being sought, you should consult an attorney. If the job offer is truly unconditional, and you turn it down, you may lose your ability to recover back wages and liquidated damages, even if you ultimately prevail on your ADEA claim. To be truly unconditional, an offer may not be conditioned on the victim releasing any claims against the employer. In fact, the employee must be free to pursue the ADEA claim against the employer even after accepting the job.
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Age Discrimination Cases?
Pursing an age discrimination claim against an employer is complicated because procedural laws vary depending on where and when you file your claim. A lawyer will help you with the filing deadlines specific to your claim. It is also a good idea to see a lawyer before signing a waiver or other severance package.
If you are an employer being sued for employment discrimination, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
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Last Modified: 02-21-2014 04:36 PM PST
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