In the world of federal employment law, ensuring a fair and equitable work environment is of the highest importance. One major aspect of preserving this balance is addressing and fixing instances of discrimination.
Thanks to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are several kinds of damages you can pursue to compensate you for your losses. Accurately understanding and calculating damages in employment discrimination cases is essential in delivering justice and deterring future discrimination in the workplace.
If you think you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, don’t wait to take action. Consult a qualified federal employment discrimination attorney today to learn about what kinds of damages are available in your case.
What Kinds of Discrimination Does Title VII Prohibit?
Before we explore what Title VII allows in damages, we should review what kinds of discrimination are illegal. First, Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race and color. Under the law, discrimination constitutes any adverse action or treatment of an individual due to a particular trait, like their racial background or skin color.
Race discrimination includes actions like hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, and offering different wages or benefits based on an individual’s race. Title VII also addresses national origin discrimination, unfair treatment due to an individual’s birthplace or ancestry, and discrimination based on culture or language.
The same prohibitions apply to religious discrimination. Employers have to accommodate employees’ religious practices and beliefs as long as the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship.
In recent years, sex discrimination under Title VII has been expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. This means employers cannot treat employees unfavorably due to their sexual orientation, whether they identify as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Nor can employers discriminate against an individual because of their gender identity or expression.
Types of Damages Available Under Title VII
Calculating damages in employment discrimination cases begins with understanding the categories of damages that apply in your case. Let’s unpack these damages one at a time.
Back pay includes any wages, benefits, and other compensation that you would have earned if you had not been the victim of unlawful discrimination. For instance, let’s say your employer fired you for being a certain skin color. In that case, your back pay would include your full wages starting on the day you received notice of your termination. Back pay can apply in cases involving a denied promotion, a missed pay raise, or unequal pay due to discrimination.
Since you understand back pay, you can probably guess what front pay is. It’s another remedy designed to make the victimized employee whole. Front pay compensates employees for future lost wages and benefits resulting from illegal discrimination.
Courts often award these damages when it isn’t possible to reinstate you to your former position. Front pay can cover the estimated time it takes to find a comparable job or reach retirement age.
A major form of Title VII damages is compensatory damages, which reimburse employees for any actual expenses and losses that directly result from discrimination. Common examples include medical expenses, job search and relocation costs, and emotional distress. Like back pay and front pay, the overall purpose behind compensatory damages is to put you in the position you would have been in but for discrimination.
It is also possible to receive punitive damages in employment discrimination cases. These damages are awarded in cases where your agency’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious. Many Title VII retaliation cases involve punitive damages. However, keep in mind that punitive damages are not available against federal, state, or local governments under Title VII.
Attorneys’ Fees and Legal Costs
In successful Title VII cases, employees may be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs. This serves as a reimbursement for the legal expenses incurred in pursuing the case. The court determines the reasonableness of the fees and costs based on various factors, such as the complexity of the case and the degree of success achieved.
Title VII Damage Caps
Title VII places a maximum limit on compensatory and punitive damages. The damage caps for compensatory and punitive damages vary depending on the size of the employer.
These caps are as follows:
- $50,000 for federal employers with 15–100 employees;
- $100,000 for federal employers with 101–200 employees;
- $200,000 for federal employers with 201–500 employees; and
- $300,000 for federal employers with more than 500 employees.
These limits apply only to the combined total of compensatory and punitive damages. They do not affect your right to back pay or front pay. Nor do they limit any other type of relief already recoverable under Title VII.
Do You Need a Lawyer Who Is Familiar with the EEOC and Discrimination Cases?
Now that you know more about Title VII prohibitions and damage types, you can begin your search for a qualified EEOC attorney. Remember, not all federal employment lawyers have the same expertise. Some might be new to the field. Others might not know much about the EEOC and federal employment discrimination. It’s crucial to choose a law firm with a strong track record of representing clients before the EEOC.
If you’re looking for outstanding legal representation, then turn to Pines Federal. Our team is dedicated to defending federal employees’ rights and delivering the best possible outcome for our clients.
With decades of experience and a proven success rate, we stand out from other law firms. We will strive to provide you with customized, exquisite legal representation. We will also ensure that you’re well-informed and comfortable with the legal process. Don’t put up with illegal discrimination.