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What are Compensatory damages?

In employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases, plaintiffs may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their losses. Damages are monetary amounts that may be awarded to the plaintiffs to make them financially whole. There are several types of damages that may be available in employment discrimination cases, including compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may explain the types of damages that you might expect in your own case.

What are compensatory damages?

In employment law cases, compensatory damages are monetary amounts that are meant to compensate plaintiffs for their losses. These damages are further broken down between what are known as special damages and general damages. Special damages in employment cases include your actual pecuniary losses. General damages might include the emotional distress that you suffered. These damages are meant to make you financially whole. By contrast, punitive damages are awards above your losses that are meant to serve as a deterrent to future bad conduct.

Schedule an appointment today. Call (856) 685-7420 or

Schedule an appointment today.
Call (856) 685-7420 or

Back pay damages

One type of special damages that you might expect to recover in a discrimination lawsuit is your back pay. This refers to the wages, commissions, bonuses and benefits that you lost because of the conduct of your employer. You are required to mitigate your losses, however. The amount of back pay that you are entitled to receive will be reduced by the amount of money that you received after you were terminated by your employer. Your back pay will be calculated from the date that you lost your job until the date that you receive a favorable ruling.

Front pay damages

You may also be able to recover front pay damages in an employment discrimination case. These are damages for the amount of compensation that you will not receive going forward because of your employer’s discriminatory actions. For instance, if you made $100,000 at your old job but have only been able to find a new job that pays you $80,000, your front pay damages would be the $20,000 per year difference. The court will calculate how long it will likely take you to regain your previous level of earnings.

Job search expenses

If you incurred expenses related to your job search, you may be entitled to recover what you spent to find a new job. This is another category of special damages that is recoverable in employment discrimination cases.

Emotional distress

General damages are compensatory damages that are more ephemeral in nature. These are the noneconomic losses that you have suffered and include your emotional distress. Emotional distress damages are meant to compensate you for the pain and suffering that you were caused by the discriminatory acts. The amount of emotional distress damages that you might receive will be fact dependent.

In addition to compensatory damages, you might also be able to recover damages to pay for your attorney’s fees. In some cases, an award of punitive damages may also be available. To learn more about your recovery rights, contact Swartz Swidler to schedule an appointment.

Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733