The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) allows you to file a claim if you are discriminated against at work. Deciding to file a claim if you believe you are a victim of discrimination is a hard decision to make, and proving discrimination is tough.
When you are deciding if you should file a claim, it helps to know what you can expect if you win. Will you get your job back? Will you get money?
The answer depends on your specific circumstances. If discrimination is proven, the goal of the EEOC is to put you back into the same position you would be in if the discrimination had not occurred.
Therefore, the exact remedy depends on what it takes to put you back into that position.
Your employer could be ordered to reinstate you into your former position or give you a promotion you did not receive. You would also be entitled to any back pay and retroactive benefits.
You could also receive damages in the form of money. Two common types of damages are compensatory damages and punitive damages, although punitive damages are only available for certain types of discrimination.
Compensatory damages are exactly what they sound like: they are designed to compensate you for any costs you incurred due to the discrimination.
These could include lost wages and any costs associated with mental or emotional distress. For example, if you sought counseling due to the psychological effects of the discrimination, you could recoup those costs.
The goal of punitive damages is to punish your employer for the discrimination. Punitive damages are less common, and are typically awarded only in cases involving particularly harsh acts of discrimination.
There are limits on the amount of these kinds of damages you can recover. The limits depend on the size of the business that employs you.
Costs and attorney fees
Court costs and attorney fees can also be recovered, since these go toward putting you back into the position you were in before the discrimination occurred.
A realistic attitude toward your situation is important. An experienced employment law attorney can answer your questions and help you learn what to expect.