What types of compensation are available in a California employment discrimination case?
Employers are prohibited from discrimination against employees based on certain protected characteristics like race, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or identity, religion, disability, pregnancy or medical condition.
In a successful discrimination case, the employee may be entitled to payment for a variety of damages, including:
- Back pay – Where the employee was terminated or could not keep working due to discrimination, he or she is entitled to lost wages from the last day worked, to the date of settlement.
- Front pay – An employee who lost his or her job due for discriminatory reasons, and who was unable to obtain a new job making the same pay or better, may be entitled to lost wages extending into the future. How far in the future depends on a reasonable estimation of how long the employee would have remained employed but for the illegal termination. This takes into account factors such as how long the employee was working, age of retirement, and the nature of the industry.
- Emotional distress – Discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination are traumatic to everyone who goes through it. Employees who suffer workplace discrimination may be entitled to compensation for their emotional distress, particularly if they require ongoing medical or psychiatric treatment. The amount of compensation depends on a jury’s impression of how severe your pain and suffering were, and how long the condition will likely continue.
- Punitive damages – Punitive damages are designed to punish a discriminatory employer and deter other employers from engaging in similar conduct. This is awarded where the employer’s conduct is willful, or particularly egregious.
- Attorney’s fees and court costs – If the court determines an employer engaged in illegal employment discrimination, it may order the employer to cover employees’ litigation costs. Regardless, most employment lawyers will take a case on contingency (i.e., no fee unless you win).
- Hiring or reinstatement – If an employee was fired as a result of an employer’s discrimination, the court can order (or the parties can agree) that the employee will be reinstated. Usually, however, neither the employee nor the employer prefers this option.
- Out-of-Pocket expenses – Employees can recover any costs they incurred due to an employer’s discriminatory behavior. These may include costs associated with looking for a new job or obtaining medical care, including mental health care.
- Reasonable accommodations – In disability discrimination cases, an employer may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation that makes it possible for a qualified employee with a disability to perform the essential elements of their job.
- Employer policy changes – It may be possible to require the employer to change any discriminatory policies, or improve its policies to prevent future discrimination.
The San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys at the McCormack Law Firm can help you recover the maximum compensation for your claim that is available under the law. Call today for a free consultation.
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