What Can I Get If I Win?


What am I entitled to if I prove my claim of sex discrimination?


Providing the court finds in your favor, you may be entitled to what is known as "injunctive" and/or "equitable" relief. You may also be entitled to monetary damages against your employer. You should be aware, however, that what the court grants you (if anything) varies from case to case.


What is equitable relief, and what equitable relief am I entitled to in Missouri?


"Equitable relief" refers to any remedy that the court chooses to grant based on what it deems fair and within its powers to enforce. Under Missouri law this includes, but is not limited to:
(1) back pay;
(2) job reinstatement;
(3) monetary damages; and/or
(4) court costs (i.e. attorney's fees).


What is injunctive relief, and what injunctive relief am I entitled to in Missouri?


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. In Missouri, the court has the authority to grant any injunctive relief it believes is appropriate.


Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?


Yes, you may be entitled to compensatory damages (such as front or back pay) and punitive damages (designed to punish your employer) if the Court finds in your favor.


What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?


Compensatory damages, as the name suggests, compensate you for losses you may have sustained at the hand of your employer. For instance, you may be awarded back pay for the time you were not working after being wrongfully terminated. Punitive damages, on the other hand, punish your employer for allowing discriminatory practices in the workplace.


Am I entitled to compensatory damages?


Yes, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for future losses and emotional pain and suffering. You do not have to prove that your emotional distress is "medically significant" in order to recover for pain and suffering.


Am I entitled to punitive damages?


Yes. Under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), the court is entitled to "grant relief, as it deems appropriate" including punitive damages.


Are there limits to the amount of money to which I may be entitled?


Missouri places no set limit on awards, but the Missouri Supreme Court has stated that "when punitive damages are awarded by a jury, both the trial court ... and the appellate court [where appropriate] review the award to ensure that it is not an abuse of discretion."


Am I entitled to back pay?


Yes, you may be entitled to back pay from the date of your discharge until the date of final judgment if you can show that you were wrongfully discharged. However, if your employer offers to reinstate you and you unreasonably reject the offer, you may not recover back pay after the date of the rejection.


Am I entitled to my old job back?


Yes, reinstatement is the typical remedy for unlawful discrimination in employment. If your old job is no longer available, you will likely get front pay (payment to make up for the difference between what you would be making in your old job and what you are making now.)


Am I entitled to attorney's fees?


The court may, at its discretion, award you reasonable attorney's fees and expert witness fees if you win your case. Courts tend to determine whether to award attorney's fees on a case by case basis by considering what is fair under the circumstances of the case.


Will this be the final result?


Whether your damage award is the final result depends on whether you or your employer challenges the award. If you, after discussing the result with your attorney, believe the damage award is unsatisfactory for whatever reason, you will have a right to at least one appeal. Likewise, however, your employer may decide to challenge an award in your favor. Essentially, you will have to wait to see if your employer chooses to challenge the award.


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


You always have the right to appeal your case to a higher court if you are not satisfied with the result. With your attorney's advice, you should determine that the court or jury made an error when it ruled on your case before appealing your result.


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