Age Discrimination Damages
If I Win My Age Discrimination Case, Can I Recover Monetary Damages?
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, and attorney's fees arising from the employer's violation of the ADEA. Punitive damages serve to punish an employer who has acted egregiously by forcing the employer to pay additional damages to the victim.
How Much Can I Recover in Punitive Damages?
Where the employer willfully violated the 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 even triple the damages under state law.
Can a Court Grant Other Types of Relief?
Yes. A 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 not feasible. Alternatively, the court may order the employer to pay the employee for lost future wages, or 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. Also, because the EEOC investigators will not get to your claim immediately, a lawyer can help you investigate and pursue any additional remedies. 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: 05-18-2012 03:01 PM PDT