The general rule behind finding a remedy for an employment discrimination case, is to put the victim in a similar position to where they were before any discrimination took place.
The purpose of a discrimination action is to not only hold an employer responsible for discriminating against an employee, but to also provide the employee with remedies for the injurious actions that they endured.
The type of remedies that are granted in employment discrimination cases are based on the act and the effect it had on the plaintiff. Usually, compensatory damages are sought, and in some cases, punitive damages are sought as well. Below are common remedies awarded to victims of employment discrimination:
- Compensatory Damages: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination of protected classes, including: race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Compensatory damages are available for victims of discrimination under the Act, and are intended to cover all of the victim’s expenses that resulted from the discrimination. As a general rule, compensatory damages aim to make the plaintiff whole.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are also available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and are awarded to punish the employer for acting maliciously or intentionally in discriminating against the employee.
- Attorney’s Fees: Allow the victim to recover the fees of their attorney.
- Court Costs: Any of the court costs that are associated with the lawsuit.
- Back Pay: Orders the employer to remit retroactive compensation to the employee. This could include wages, probable overtime payments, vacation time, sick leave, pension benefits, and health insurance.
- Reinstatement or Hiring of Employee: The company may be ordered to reinstate the employee to their original position after termination. In the case of discrimination in the wrongful practices of hiring of an employee, the company may be ordered to hire the plaintiff.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also places limits on the amount of compensatory and punitive damages a person can recover. Limits vary, and are dependent on the size of the employer:
- Employers with 15-100 employees, the limit is set at $50,000.
- Employers with 101-200 employees, the limit is set at $100,000.
- Employers with 201-500 employees, the limit is set at $200,000.
- Employers with more than 500 employees, the limit is set at $300,000.
What Can Limit Your Remedy for Employment Discrimination?
While many remedies for employment discrimination cannot be reduced or eliminated easily, there are certain actions by the employee that can block or reduce their damages:
- Employee Retaliated Against Employer: while facing employment discrimination can be humiliating and frustrating, employees should never do anything illegal to get back at your employer. Like, embezzling from the company account or destroying property. It’s important that the employee continued to work as a good employee and did not break any of the company policies.
- Employee Threatened or Attacked Co-Workers/Employer: facing discrimination daily can make anyone snap, but it’s important to not hurt or threaten any co-worker or employer. Unless you are being threatened with bodily harm and you are acting in self-defense, employees should remove themselves from the danger situation and inform the nearest representative.
In short, employees have a right to defend themselves and to speak up for themselves. But, they should refrain from any illegal activity that is done in response to the employment discrimination. If you fear for your safety, then the best course of action is to leave your job and file a complaint immediately with the EEOC.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been discriminated against by your employer or future employer, you should contact a local employment attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will advise you of your rights and assist you in preparing your case. Your attorney will also be able to walk you through the complex process of filing a claim with the EEOC, in addition to representing you in court.