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What Monetary Compensation Is Available in EEOC Discrimination Claims?

Posted on in Workplace Discrimination

Allegheny County EEOC claim lawyer discrimination compensationIf you have experienced employment discrimination because of your age, race, sex, or another attribute protected under the U.S. Civil Rights Act, you have the right to file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the EEOC determines that your claim of discrimination is valid, you may be eligible to receive substantial compensation for the harm that was done to you. The amount of compensation that you can receive depends on the nature of your case.

Intentional Sex-Based Wage Discrimination

If your claim is that your employer paid you less than other people in comparable positions due to your gender, your compensation will be in the form of back pay. If you were paid $10/hour, and workers of the other gender were paid $11/hour, and you worked at that job for 1,000 hours, you would be eligible for compensation in the amount of $1,000 ($1 per hour wage difference times the number of hours that you were underpaid).

When an employer’s sex-based discrimination is not just intentional but especially malicious, your compensation as described above could be doubled. This type of incremental compensation is termed “liquidated damages.”

Intentional Age-Based Discrimination

If your claim is that an employer discriminated against you because of your being age 40 or older, your compensation will also be in the form of back pay. For example, if you were not given an opportunity for promotion that was given to younger workers, and that promotion would have raised your wages by $2/hour over a total of 1,000 hours, you would receive compensation in the amount of $2,000 ($2 per hour wage difference times number of hours that you were underpaid).

In this type of age-based discrimination case, you may also be eligible for liquidated damages as described above.

Intentional Discrimination on the Basis of Race, Religion, Etc.

If your claim is that your employer intentionally discriminated against you on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, religion, disability, or sex (other than sex-based wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act), you may be eligible to receive compensatory damages.

For example, suppose you are claiming racial discrimination in a company’s hiring decisions. At a minimum, you should be compensated for back pay, that is, financial benefits you would have received from the guilty employer if the discrimination had not happened. For example, suppose you were wrongly denied a job that paid $1,000 per week, plus $100 per week in health insurance and other benefits. You would be eligible for a back pay award of $1,100/week. 

In addition, you should be able to claim compensatory damages for the non-financial harm that the discrimination caused you (e.g., humiliation, inconvenience, or damage to your reputation). The amount of compensatory damages you can receive is limited by the size of the employer. For an employer with 15 to 100 employees, the maximum award to one individual is $50,000. For an employer with more than 500 employers, the limit is $300,000.

You will not automatically receive the maximum award, however. The amount you actually receive will depend on several factors, with one primary factor being the skill and persistence of the lawyers involved in negotiating your settlement and, if necessary, arguing your case in court. Your award should be higher if it can be shown that the employer’s discriminatory actions were not just intentional but in reckless disregard of the law or malicious. Your monetary award should also cover any costs that you incurred to fight your case, such as attorney’s fees, court fees, and expert witness fees.

How Do I File a Claim With the EEOC?

For Pennsylvania residents, you must start by filing a claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The PHRC handles the initial investigation of all employment discrimination claims. An attorney experienced in handling EEOC claims can help you file your claim, assist you throughout the process, and make sure that you receive full and fair compensation.

Contact a Pittsburgh Employment Discrimination Lawyer

If you have experienced discrimination from an employer, consult an experienced Allegheny County EEOC claims attorney. Contact our office at 412-943-0007 for free consultation. 

Sources:

https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/remedies.cfm

https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-epa.cfm

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