What Kind Of Employment Discrimination Damages Can You Collect?

If you believe that you have suffered from discrimination based on your membership in a protected class, you may have grounds for filing an employment discrimination claim. Through a claim, you may be able to recover damages to compensate you for your losses. An employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler may advise you about what types and amounts of damages that might apply in your case. Both federal and state law provide for certain employment discrimination damages, including such things as your lost wages, lost benefits, emotional distress, punitive damages and your attorney’s fees and litigation costs.

What losses are suffered by victims of discrimination?

Discrimination lawsuits are types of civil actions. In civil cases, plaintiffs seek monetary awards so that they can be compensated by the harms that were caused by the defendants. Victims of discrimination may incur several different types of financial losses and other harms. Here are the most common losses that you may be compensated for under federal and state laws.

Back pay

Back pay is the amount of money you lost in earnings caused by the discrimination that you experienced. The amount is backdated to the date of the discrimination up to the favorable judgment. For example, if you were fired because of your age and the jury rules in your favor, you will be awarded back pay from the date of your firing up to the date of the verdict.

Front pay

Front pay is compensation for wages that you will lose in the future because of the discriminatory act. Front pay is calculated by determining how long you will continue to lose pay. For example, if it will take you a year to find another job, you may be awarded the wages you would have earned if you had not been fired for that duration of time. Typically, plaintiffs demonstrate this by showing that their efforts at finding new jobs have been unsuccessful along with calling an expert witness to testify at trial. Your employment lawyer at Swartz Swidler will talk to you about whether you need to hire an expert and how much an expert might cost.

Lost benefits

If you lost health care coverage, dental insurance, a 401(k) plan, stock options, a pension or profit sharing due to your wrongful termination, you may recover damages for your lost benefits. Like front pay, determining the value of lost benefits may require the testimony of an expert.

Emotional distress damages

It is common for plaintiffs in employment discrimination lawsuits to seek damages for emotional distress. In order to win these types of damages, you will need to be able to prove to the jury that you suffered emotional or mental injuries because of the discrimination. This category of damages is up to the jury, but your attorney should be able to give you a rough idea of what amount you might expect.

Punitive damages

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for egregious actions. They are not very easy to win and are unavailable in some states. In order to win punitive damages, you may need to meet a higher burden of proof. The amount of punitive damages is up to the jury and difficult to quantify.

Attorneys’ fees

In many cases, employment discrimination plaintiffs also win awards for attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. This means that the defendants are ordered to pay the fees charged by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. This is very helpful for employment discrimination plaintiffs because their attorneys’ fees do not reduce their awards.

Deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit

If you are trying to determine whether or not to file a lawsuit for employment discrimination, your lawyer at Swartz Swidler may help you conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Your losses must have been substantial in order to make filing a lawsuit for employment discrimination damages worthwhile. Contact the law firm of Swartz Swidler to schedule your consultation today.