What Can I Get If I Win?
What am I entitled to if I prove my claim of sex discrimination?
If you go through the process of filing a claim with the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ARCD), receive a right to sue letter, and you proceed to win in court you will be entitled to a number of different awards. If you win your discrimination claim you are entitled to injunctive or equitable relief. This may include:
The court may also allow you to recover reasonable attorney's fees. Any money award you receive, including back pay or attorney's fees are called damages. You have an obligation to minimize your damages (for example, by seeking other work); however, you are not required to accept a job that is offered on the condition that you drop your claims against your employer.
What is equitable relief?
Equitable relief is an award that is intended to make you whole again, meaning that it intends to restore you to the position you were in before the discrimination took place. Under the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) this will usually include money damages for lost earnings, called back pay. It will also generally include being put in a comparable position at work, or if this is not possible, receiving an award of front pay, which is the difference between what you would have earned in the position you were denied or lost and what you are earning now.
What is injunctive relief?
Injunctive relief is when a court issues an order directing a party to take (or refrain from taking) a particular action. For example, the court can order your employer to change its discriminatory practices. Under the ACRA, injunctive relief is considered necessary to eliminate the employment practices prohibited by the statute. Thus, if your employer does not offer some proof that its discriminatory practices have been eliminated; the court must order injunctive relief.
Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?
You will likely be entitled to money damages for any lost earnings, called back pay. If you lost your job and your employer cannot put you in a comparable position, you may also be entitled to money damages for front pay. Front pay is the difference between what you would have been earning and what you are earning now. Under the ACRA, you will not be able to collect money damages meant to punish your employer, called punitive damages. Additionally, you will not be able to recover money damages for emotional distress under Arizona law.
What is the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages?
Punitive damages serve as a punishment for an employer and attempt to deter future discrimination, whereas compensatory damages serve to compensate any loss that may have occurred as a result of sex discrimination. You cannot collect punitive damages under ACRA.
Am I entitled to back pay?
Back pay is a money award for lost earnings. Generally, you are entitled to back pay for up to two years prior to your filing a claim. The court rarely denies back pay, and will only do so if for some reason such an award will frustrate the central purpose of ACRA - to eradicate discrimination.
Am I entitled to my old job back?
In general, you will be entitled to your old job or the job that you applied for if you have shown that the reason you were discharged or not hired was sex discrimination. However, if you cannot be reinstated or hired right away because the position is not immediately available, the court may award you front pay, which is the difference between what you would have earned in the position you were denied or lost and what you are earning now, until you can be restored to your "rightful place."
Am I entitled to attorney's fees?
An award of attorney's fees is considered permissive, meaning that the court has some discretion in choosing whether or not to award them. If you prevail in some aspects of your claim, and your employer prevails in other aspects of your claim, the court may choose not to award attorneys fees. So, for example if you sue for both sexual harassment and retaliation, but only win on the retaliation claim, the court may choose not to award attorney's fees.
Will this be the final result?
The result will be final unless you or your employer challenges the result of the case. If, upon consultation with your attorney, you are dissatisfied you can appeal the decision of the court. However, your employer may also choose to appeal if it is dissatisfied.
If I am not satisfied with the result, can I appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the result of your case you may appeal it. However, you will only want to do so if you decide, with advice from your attorney, that an error has been made.
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