What types of relief can result from a discrimination lawsuit?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 26, 2020

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If you file (and win) a discrimination lawsuit, there are multiple ways in which the court might provide you with relief. In general, as in most lawsuits, the goal of the court is to attempt to restore the plaintiff to the circumstances in which he or she would have been had the discrimination in question never taken place. In other words, in a discrimination lawsuit the court will try and “undo” whatever damage was done by the discrimination by offering relief.

Damages for a discrimination lawsuit is a fairly general concept, and there’s a reason for that—discrimination lawsuits are dictated by a huge variety of rules and regulations, and which ones apply in your situation are a matter of where you live and what type of case you have. Federal, state and some county laws, and specific employers’ rules, can all contribute to the outcome of a discrimination lawsuit.

In order to estimate what relief you may get in a discrimination lawsuit, your best bet is to speak to a discrimination lawyer or employment lawyer in your area to find out what rules may apply to you. In general terms, though, you can probably expect one or a combination of the following types of relief:

  • Restoration of anything lost due to the discrimination (for example, if you were fired because of discrimination, you may be awarded the opportunity to have your job back)
  • Financial compensation for money lost (being fired, time spent away from work due to the discrimination, lawyer’s fees, etc.)
  • Financial compensation for anguish, hardship, etc. (a dollar value will be placed on your emotional and mental distress, and the defendant will be required to pay it)
  • Punitive damages (these damages, which are meant solely to punish the defendant and keep them from repeating the behavior, are not relevant in most discrimination court cases, but depending on your situation they may play a part in your relief package

To better determine which of these remedies will apply to you, speak with a discrimination lawyer about your lawsuit. 

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