Updated: Oct 18
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You may be viewing this article because you saw our other discussion on how to appeal a denied religious or medical exemption. If you haven’t seen that article the link will be at the bottom of this page.
Today’s discussion is to give you a better understanding of your rights under the law and hopefully will give you confidence to stand up and fight for your rights. We are going to look at what types of awards you may be entitled to if you decide to stand up and fight back against your employer for their discriminatory practices.
If you go the lawsuit route and your claim filed in federal court is based on a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act-ELCRA, the types of awards vary depending on the case.
Under Title VII, Generally you may recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, back pay, reasonable attorney fees and front pay.
Under ELCRA awarded reinstatement, back pay and front pay, emotional distress and reasonable attorney fees.
What are Compensatory Damages?
Main Point: compensate you for the illegal discrimination. Treats the you, the plaintiff, as if you had been working the whole time.
These are the categories of damages that the court considers to be compensable.
-Economic losses, (wage loss due to the discrimination) Back Pay*
-Loss of Enjoyment of Life,
-Other Work Benefits that were terminated.
Summary: Compensatory damages are those that can be accurately calculated and give relief to you for lost wages or other employee benefits that were terminated due to the discrimination.
What are Punitive Damages?
Main Point: deter a company from willfully taking advantage of their employees in the present and future.
Under Title VII, you may be entitled to an award of punitive damages if you can show the employer took discriminatory action with a malicious intent OR complete reckless disregard to your federally protected rights. 42 USC 1981a(b)(1)
And be encouraged by this. Just because an employer has an “anti-discrimination policy, does not mean the employer is automatically protected from having to pay Punitive Damages Award.
Summary: You can remember Punitive Damages as “punishment damages.”
What about “Back Pay?”
Main Point: You may be entitled to back pay if it is found that the employer engaged in unlawful employment practices, breach of contract, or a tort.
The Courts consider all of the following to be included in the definition of "back pay."
-any raises that you would have received,
-commissions you lost,
-Benefits- such as sick leave, vacation pay and pension benefits
-Overtime that you missed
Summary: Back Pay is all the money you get back had you not been discriminated against or fired from your job. But it is not just money, it can be benefits as well.
What is Injunctive Relief?
Main Point: the court orders the employer to stop trying to enforce a discriminatory policy.
The three types of injunctive relief are:
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) when the court orders a TRO, the employer will not be able to enforce a policy for a certain amount of time.
Preliminary Injunction (PI) when a court issues a PI the employer will have to maintain their current policies until the court case is resolved
Permanent injunction is where a court orders the employer that they are not allowed to do XYZ or that the employer must do ABC.
Example: The ACME Co. must follow the settlement terms as agreed upon by the parties and pay back pay and retirement 401k benefits to the plaintiff employee.
Summary: The court is not only able to give relief with money awards, but the court may prevent an employer’s wrongful actions or order the employer to take action to help fix a problem.
The most burning question many people like yourself ask goes something like this,
“If I get fired and have to wait for the court to handle my lawsuit, can I go and get another job to support myself and my family?”
This very question will be answered and explained in detail in next week's article.
YOUR Trusted Attorney:
If you would like to retain Radzwion Law, PLLC as YOUR Trusted Attorney, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to protect you when you need it most and we will fight for your freedom.
Appeal a Denied Religious or Medical Exemption Checklist (Article/Video)