What Am I Entitled To If I Win?

 

a. What am I entitled to if I prove my claim?

 

b. What is equitable relief?

 

c. What is injunctive relief?

 

d. Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?

 

e. What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?

 

f. Am I entitled to back pay?

 

g. Am I entitled to "pecuniary losses?"

 

h. Am I entitled to my old job back?

 

i. Am I entitled to attorney’s fees?

 

j. If I am not satisfied with the result, can I appeal?

 

 

a. What am I entitled to if I prove my claim?
While specific remedies vary from case to case based on the individual facts of each situation, Chapter 151B provides for certain types of remedies, including: back pay (e.g. for lost wages or failure to hire), reinstatement (e.g. for failure to promote or wrongful discharge) and injunctive relief (e.g. a cease-and-desist order to the employer). In addition, courts also award compensatory damages for victims’ emotional distress and suffering, as well as, in some particularly egregious cases, punitive damages. Chapter 151B also provides that plaintiffs who prevail will be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.

 

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b. What is equitable relief?
Equitable relief is any remedy that the court chooses to grant based on what it deems fair and within its powers to enforce.

 

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c. What is injunctive relief?
Injunctive relief is a type of remedy that doesn’t include monetary damages. It often means requiring the employer to do something, or sometimes to stop doing something. For instance, a court order requiring your employer to train its employees about sexual harassment would be a form of injunctive relief.

 

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d. Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?
For the most part, yes. Damages in discrimination cases take two forms: compensatory damages and injunctive relief. Compensatory damages are awarded to "make the victim whole" – they are designed to return you to the situation you would have been in if no discrimination had occurred. Frequently, compensatory damages include back pay, front pay or "actual damages," which compensates the victim for emotional distress, medical problems or other monetary damages she may have suffered as a result of discrimination.

 

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e. What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?
Punitive damages are designed not to benefit the plaintiff, but to punish the employer. While Chapter 151B provides for both, punitive damages are not appropriate in every case. Instead, they are reserved for particularly extreme or egregious discrimination.

 

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f. Am I entitled to back pay?
Yes, for the most part. However, victims are also subject to what is called the "duty to mitigate." What this means is that if you were fired, you are required to make a good-faith effort to find a new job, and your damages for back pay will be reduced by the amount that you make in your new job. For instance, if you were wrongfully fired from a job that paid you $20,000 a year and you found a new job, but it only paid $15,000 a year, you would be entitled to back pay for the difference. Failure to make a good-faith effort to mitigate damages may reduce your award.

 

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g. Am I entitled to "pecuniary losses?"
You are entitled to compensation for any monetary losses that result from your discrimination. For example, if you became depressed as a result of sexual harassment, you would be entitled to compensation for your psychologist bills. The same is true if you suffered medical problems or other financial losses.

 

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h. Am I entitled to my old job back?
Yes, if you want it. You may also be entitled to "front pay," as an alternative to reinstatement. Front pay is intended to compensate you for lost future earnings and is subject to a duty to mitigate. What this means is that if you were fired, you are required to make a good-faith effort to find a new job, and your damages for back pay will be reduced by the amount that you make in your new job. For instance, if you were wrongfully fired from a job that paid you $40,000 a year and you found a new job, but it only paid $25,000 a year, you would be entitled to back pay for the difference. Failure to make a good-faith effort to mitigate damages may reduce your award.

 

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i. Am I entitled to attorneys’ fees?Yes. Chapter 151B specifically provides that if you prevail in your discrimination claim, you are entitled to attorneys’ fees.

 

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j. If I am not satisfied with the result, can I appeal?If you are not satisfied w/ the result you can request a judicial review with in 30 days of the order of the commission. (the commission's decision after their administrative hearing) The judicial review will be held by the superior court in your county. If you are still not satisfied with the result after judicial review, you can appeal through the normal judicial channels.

 


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