U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Whenever discrimination is found, the goal of the law is to put the victim of discrimination in the same position (or nearly the same) that he or she would have been if the discrimination had never occurred.
The types of relief will depend upon the discriminatory action and the effect it had on the victim. For example, if someone is not selected for a job or a promotion because of discrimination, the remedy may include placement in the job and/or back pay and benefits the person would have received.
The employer also will be required to stop any discriminatory practices and take steps to prevent discrimination in the future.
A victim of discrimination also may be able to recover attorney's fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
Compensatory and punitive damages may be awarded in cases involving intentional discrimination based on a person's race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), religion, disability, or genetic information.
Compensatory damages pay victims for out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination (such as costs associated with a job search or medical expenses) and compensate them for any emotional harm suffered (such as mental anguish, inconvenience, or loss of enjoyment of life).
Punitive damages may be awarded to punish an employer who has committed an especially malicious or reckless act of discrimination.
There are limits on the amount of compensatory and punitive damages a person can recover. These limits vary depending on the size of the employer:
In cases involving intentional age discrimination, or in cases involving intentional sex-based wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act, victims cannot recover either compensatory or punitive damages, but may be entitled to "liquidated damages."
Liquidated damages may be awarded to punish an especially malicious or reckless act of discrimination. The amount of liquidated damages that may be awarded is equal to the amount of back pay awarded the victim.