damage in an employment discrimination claim

What Damages Are Available in an Employment Discrimination Claim?

By Thomas McKinney

It is an unfortunate reality that discrimination in the workplace does occur. As a result, victims of discrimination face financial and emotional harm. Fortunately, the law provides a means to help these victims. In fact, the goal of damages in an employment discrimination claim is to attempt to put the victim in the same, or similar position, as he or she would have been in had the discrimination never happened. This can be a difficult feat to be sure. While the specific damages available in a particular employment discrimination claim may vary depending on the nature of the discriminatory act and the impact it had on the victim, there are certain damages that will generally be available to workplace discrimination victims. We will talk more about that here.

What Damages are Available in an Employment Discrimination Claim?

First and foremost, in a successful employment discrimination case, the employer will be required to put an immediate stop to any discriminatory practices currently in place. Furthermore, the employer will usually be required to take active steps in order to prevent such discrimination from occurring again in the future. In addition to this, the victim in an employment discrimination claim will be entitled to monetary damages referred to as “compensatory damages” as they are intended to compensate the victim for the harm suffered.

Compensatory damages allow the victim to recover the out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination. For instance, if the discriminatory action resulted in the victim losing his or her job and needing to look for another job, then the victim may be entitled to recover lost wages or expenses associated with looking for a new job. They can also include compensation for any lost benefits that resulted from the discriminatory conduct. 

Additionally, the victim may be entitled to recover compensation for any emotional harm suffered such as mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life. These are known as noneconomic damages and they often play a significant role in employment discrimination cases. In order to be most successful in presenting your noneconomic damages, documentation is essential. Proving noneconomic damages can be difficult, but not impossible. You will likely need to present detailed records of the harm you suffered as well as compelling testimony about the impact the discriminatory actions had on you and your emotional wellbeing. Oftentimes, it can be a good idea to seek professional treatment or therapy to help you cope with the impacts of the discriminatory actions as well as to help document the emotional distress you suffered to present in your employment discrimination claim.

In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages may also be available in an employment discrimination claim. Punitive damages, however, are only available in cases where the discriminatory actions of the employer prove to be particularly malicious or extremely reckless. These are damages that are awarded not to compensate the victim for losses, but instead to punish the employer for the egregious discriminatory actions.

New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys

Have you been the victim of workplace discrimination? Do you feel as though you were unfairly victimized by your employer? Talk to the dedicated employment law attorneys at Castronovo & McKinney today. Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.