What Happens When I Win
A range of outcomes is possible. You might speak to your employer and find that your employer is willing to resolve an issue to your satisfaction. If you file a charge with the EEOC, the EEOC may mediate between you and your employer and help you settle your dispute. You may find conciliation does not work and, with permission from the EEOC, resort to a lawsuit.
The rest of this page addresses what you may be able to win in a lawsuit in order to help you gauge your options.
What am I entitled to if I prove my claim under federal claim Title VII?
The "relief," or remedies available for employment discrimination, whether caused by intentional acts or by practices with a discriminatory effect, may include: back pay (money your employer owes you from not paying you what it should have), hiring, promotion, reinstatement, front pay (pay you would have received in the future if reinstatement is not practical or reasonable under the circumstance), reasonable accommodation, or other actions that will make an individual "whole" (in the condition s/he would have been but for the discrimination). Remedies also may include payment of attorneys' fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win under federal claim Title VII?
Damages in discrimination cases take two forms: compensatory damages and injunctive relief. In addition to the amounts listed in the question about general relief under Title VII above, compensatory and punitive damages may be available when intentional discrimination is found.
Compensatory damages may be available to make up for present or future monetary losses and for mental anguish and inconvenience from intentional discrimination. Note compensatory damages are only available in cases of intentional discrimination. When a case is won under a disparate impact theory, damages may be limited to the categories noted in the prior question.
Punitive damages are limited to cases when the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference.
What are compensatory damages?
Compensatory damages reimburse an injured person for the loss suffered.
What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?
Compensatory damages allow plaintiffs to recover money they actually lost, while punitive damages are awarded additionally to punish the defendant for the wrongdoing.
What is injunctive relief?
Injunctive relief is a form of equitable relief, where the court orders an injunction. An injunction is a court order that restrains your employer from continuing their discriminatory behavior.
Am I entitled to back pay under federal claim Title VII?
Under Title VII, you may be entitled to back pay (payable by your employer, employment agency, or labor organization, as the case may be, responsible for the unlawful employment practice), or any other equitable relief as the court deems appropriate.
What is equitable relief?
Equitable relief is any non-monetary remedy ordered by the court, when money is deemed insufficient to address the harm done to you. It can be any remedy the court chooses to grant based on what it deems fair and within its powers to enforce.
Am I entitled to my old job back?
Under Title VII, reinstatement is another form of equitable relief the courts can order, although they are not required to do so.
Am I entitled to attorney's fees?
Title VII provides for reasonable attorney's fees to be awarded if you win the case.
If I am not satisfied with the result, can I appeal?
Yes. If you are unhappy with the results of a trial or mediation you can challenge it just like any other charge. As with any appeal, however, the result may be unchanged by the appeal.
What am I entitled to if I prove a tort claim under Mississippi law?
Under tort law in Mississippi, you may be entitled to monetary damages.
What's a tort?
A tort is a wrong that can form the basis of a civil lawsuit. Examples relevant to discrimination have to do with sexual harassment. They may include complaints such as battery (touching someone without consent), intentional infliction of emotional distress (reckless causation of emotional harm), or stalking. Forms of discrimination other than sexual harassment generally do not involve torts and fall instead under Title VII.
Does it matter if the state is my employer?
It may. In general, a state may not be sued in a tort action, but Mississippi partially waives its immunity through the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. Tort claims against public employers (e.g. local, county, and state employers, including public colleges and universities) are limited by the Mississippi Tort Claims Act to compensatory damages plus costs, with total claims capped at $500,000. Attorneys' fees will not be covered except where specifically authorized in law. Punitive damages are not available in tort claims against the state, including lawsuits against the state as an employer.
Importantly, Title VII claims are not tort claims. The state is an employer under Title VII, and the same provisions apply to the state that apply generally to private employers.
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