How Much Can You Sue for Discrimination at Work

How much you can sue for discrimination at work depends on your particular circumstances, as well as the law under which you pursue remedies. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit employment discrimination, but they vary widely in terms of the damages that they would allow you to recover. It is crucial to hire a tough New York City employment discrimination lawyer when you go up against a company that has resources. In most cases, your employer has more money than you do, along with a strong defense team. Your odds of recovering damages are higher if you have savvy legal representation from our lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Our firm offers free consultations and represents clients harmed by discrimination on a contingency fee basis. This means that if our lawyers believe your New York City lawsuit is meritorious, we will take all steps to fight for your rights, but we won’t waste your time. We will not get paid unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Accordingly, our goals when evaluating your case and making recommendations throughout the course of litigation align with your interest in getting the greatest available settlement or verdict so that you can move on with your life.

Value of Your Employment Discrimination Lawsuit Under State and Local Laws

You can sue for workplace discrimination under state or city law. In most cases, both of these laws will provide more substantial remedies than federal law does. However, every case is different, and there are subtle differences in the laws that make it important to talk to our firm about the specific facts of your case. How much you can sue for discrimination at work and what you recover depend partly on what you’ve lost due to the discrimination. Federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cap damages. Additionally, there are certain items of loss that are available as damages under state and local law that are not available under federal laws.

Damages You May Be Able to Recover by Suing for Discrimination at Work

State and local laws allow you to recover similar types of damages arising out of workplace discrimination. In New York City, you may be able to recover one or more of the following remedies:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Compensatory damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Attorneys’ fees.

These damages are not capped. It is crucial to hire trial attorneys who know what questions to ask you and explain what's at stake when pursuing different legal strategies, including what damages may be available depending on the evidence and requirements under state or local laws.

At Phillips & Associates, our experienced New York City trial lawyers will pursue the full spectrum of damages available if we take your case. Our questions to you may include:

  • What happened?
  • What factors played a role in your employer’s reasons?
  • Do you have any evidence to support your suspicions about discrimination, harassment or retaliation? What are they?
  • Have you documented these events?
  • How did what happened impact you?
  • How did it impact your career?
  • How did it impact you relationships?
  • Did it cause you stress and anxiety?
  • Have you been looking for a new job?
  • Did you lose wages as a result of the discriminatory conduct?
  • What is your ideal outcome? Do you want injunctive relief?

If necessary, we’ll retain experts to determine what front pay you have likely lost as the result of being fired or laid off.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to seek reinstatement at a job. However, the relationship between you and your employer may have broken down too much as a result of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for you to return to a functional working relationship.

There are also situations in which you may be able to obtain injunctive relief. Injunctive relief is an equitable remedy that may be available when monetary damages are inadequate to the situation. For example, if you are still working for a company at which you faced racial harassment from coworkers and supervisors, injunctive relief could involve the court ordering your employer to institute policies related to racial harassment.

When your employer has acted egregiously, you may be able to recover punitive damages. In the past, state law did not allow the recovery of punitive damages, but it has been amended so that it is now more in line with the historically-expansive protections of the city law. A punitive damages award will be tailored to the particular situation with an eye towards what would punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct.

There are situations in which liquidated damages may be available to you once we establish liability. For instance, as an executive, you may have negotiated liquidated damages as part of your initial employment contract; this could be a point of leverage in the course of litigation.

You should also be able to recover attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation if we are successful.

How Much Can You Sue for Discrimination Under Federal Law?

Federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are usually not as protective of workers’ rights as state and local laws. Compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded in lawsuits involving intentional discrimination based on your disability, religion, race, national origin, color, sex, genetic information, gender identity, pregnancy, and sexual orientation. These damages should pay you for your out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination and compensate you for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other harms you may have suffered. However, they are capped based on the size of your employer, as are punitive damages. For example, if your employer has 15 to 100 employees, the cap is $50,000. If your employer has more than 500 employees, the cap is $300,000.

Punitive damages will only be awarded if your employer that has perpetrated a particularly reckless or malicious type of discrimination. It is difficult to predict whether a particular jury will award them.

Hire an Experienced Employment Discrimination Lawyer

If you are wondering how much you can sue for discrimination at work, you should call the seasoned New York City employment discrimination firm of Phillips & Associates. We have years of experience taking cases to trial on behalf of workers who have been discriminated against in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Nassau County workplaces. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.

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