types of damages you can recover from discrimination

You have a right to work in an environment without discrimination. State and federal laws create and protect this right.

You also have a right to seek relief in a civil complaint if your employer discriminates against you.

But what kind of relief can you expect from a fight to protect your rights? 

Are you a victim of workplace discrimination who is asking, What damages can I recover for discrimination?

If so, we can help you understand your options and calculate the value of your complaint. We can also maximize the value of your complaint.

At Workplace Rights Law Group, our experienced employment law attorneys provide employees with the same top-level representation that wealthy corporations receive. 

Contact us today to get started. 

The Definition of Workplace Discrimination

Both Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and prospective employees.

Between federal and state laws, your employer cannot make an adverse employment decision against you based on your:

  • Age (40 and older),
  • Ancestry,
  • Color,
  • Disability,
  • Gender (including identity and expression),
  • Genetics,
  • Marital status, 
  • Medical condition,
  • Military status,
  • Nationality,
  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Sex (including sexual orientation), or
  • Veteran status.

A discriminatory, adverse job decision could be a termination, denial of benefits, denial of promotion, refusal to hire, or change of location/duties.

Whatever negative treatment you suffer at work because of discrimination, you can sue or file a complaint with the government. 

What Damages Can I Recover for Discrimination at Work? 

Victims of workplace discrimination can file complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), or lawsuits in civil court.

The remedies you receive from any of these legal actions should at least come close to putting you in the same position you would have been in without the discrimination. 

When you file a discrimination complaint or lawsuit, you can recover money damages and injunctive relief.

Your employer must have at least 15 employees if you want to file an EEOC complaint, but you can file a DFEH complaint against an employer of any size.

Money Damages

Money damages in employment discrimination cases financially compensate you for a number of losses. The money damages you can receive in a lawsuit, EEOC complaint, or DFEH complaint include: 

  • Back pay (to compensate you for past wage losses),
  • Front pay (to compensate you for future wage losses),
  • Work benefits,
  • Compensation for emotional harm,
  • Punitive damages (to punish your employer for particularly bad behavior), 
  • Economic damages (to compensate you for any other related financial losses), and 
  • Legal fees.

You can prove many of these damages by providing the DFEH, EEOC, or court with your receipts, invoices, wage records, personnel records, and other legal and financial documents.

Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, are more difficult to prove, but not when you have the help of a good attorney. 

Injunctive Relief

Injunctive relief in a discrimination case is a court order that requires your employer to take affirmative action or stop an activity.

You can win many forms of injunctive relief in a workplace discrimination complaint, such as:

  • Job reinstatement,
  • Promotion,
  • Work benefits,
  • Hiring for a job you were denied,
  • Policy changes at work, 
  • Behavior changes at work,
  • Training, and 
  • Reasonable accommodation (for disabilities). 

Discuss with your attorney whether you feel comfortable returning to work with an employer who has a history of discrimination.

Sometimes it is better to negotiate a settlement that pays significant financial damages than to remain in an unethical workplace. 

Limits on Recovery in Federal Complaints

The remedies you can receive in a discrimination complaint are many, but they are not unlimited.

The law caps the total amount of punitive damages and compensatory damages you can receive in federal complaints.

These limitations are based on the size of your employer’s workforce ($50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from an employer with 15 to 100 employees; $100,000 for 101 to 200 employees; $200,000 for 201 to 500 employees; and $300,000 for more than 500 employees). 

Whether you seek only money damages or a combination of money damages and injunctive relief from your employer, your attorney can help make sure you receive the most. 

Our Attorneys Can Provide You with the Best Advocacy

At Workplace Rights Law Group, our California employment attorneys know how to give employees the best representation in workplace disputes.

Our workplace discrimination attorneys have represented employers in the past, which puts them in the best position to defeat employers in hearings, negotiations, and trials.

Our mission is to protect employees with our top-level representation. 

We have almost 75 years of experience, and we have recovered millions for employees victimized in workplace disputes. Talk to us if you need help.

You can call us at 818-844-5200 or contact us online for a free case review. 


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