The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws against employment discrimination. For those victimized by employment discrimination, the EEOC is often a first step towards seeking recovery.
If the EEOC finds evidence supporting a discrimination claim, it either takes action against the employer or issues a certificate authorizing the employee to sue. When the EEOC initiates a claim and prevails against the employer, there are multiple remedies available.
Upon a finding of discrimination, a court may award damages or other relief. The ultimate goal in awarding relief is to place the discrimination victim in the same position they would be in if no discrimination occurred.
Among the most common remedies is payment of monetary damages for out-of-pocket costs resulting from the discrimination. For example, a victim may have lost earning opportunities, costs associated with a new job search or mental anguish.
In cases involving especially malicious or reckless discrimination, a court may also award punitive damages, which are damages intended to punish the employers and deter any future misconduct.
The law places limits on the amount of damages, with damage caps ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 depending on the size of the employer.
In some circumstances, the remedy may include a victim’s placement in a job that was denied to them because of discrimination. A court can also enter an order barring the employer from engaging in discriminatory conduct in the future.
Seeking help for suspect discrimination
The process of filing a complaint with the EEOC is notoriously complex. An employee who believes they may have faced workplace discrimination should consult an experienced employment attorney, who can help file a claim with the EEOC or pursue litigation.
A person pursuing discrimination claims not only protects their own rights, but also helps deter future discrimination by calling discriminating employers to account.