What Can I Get If I Win?

 

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

 

Providing the court finds 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 Texas?

 

"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 Texas law, this includes, but is not limited to:
1. hiring or reinstating with or without back pay;
2. upgrading an employee with or without pay;
3. admitting to or restoring union membership;
4. admitting to or participating in a guidance program, apprenticeship, or on-the-job training or other training or retraining program, using objective job-related criteria in admitting an individual to a program;
5. reporting on the manner of compliance with the terms of a final order issued under this chapter; and
6. paying court costs.

Again, you should be aware that what the court grants you (if anything) varies from case to case.



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

 

Injunctive relief is when a court issues an order directing a party to take (or refrain from) a particular action. For example, the court can order your employer to change its discriminatory practices.



Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?

 

Yes, you may be entitled to compensatory damages and punitive damages if the Court finds in you favor.



 

What is the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages?

 

Compensatory damages, as the name suggests, compensate you for any loss you may have sustained at the hand of your employer. Punitive damages, meanwhile, punish your employer for allowing discriminatory practices in the workplace.



Am I entitled to "compensatory" damages?

 

You may be eligible for compensatory damages for future losses, emotional damages, "suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses."



Am I entitled to punitive damages?

 

The court may award you punitive damages only where if your employer is a non-governmental body and where the evidence demonstrates that your employer discriminated "with malice or with reckless indifference" toward women and their rights to be free from discrimination in the workplace.



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

 

Texas, like federal law, places a restriction on the total amount of compensatory and punitive damages that a woman can recover. Those restrictions are as follows:
1. $50,000 from employers with fewer than 101 employees;
2. $100,000 from employers with more than 100 and fewer than 201 employees;
3. $200,000 from employers with more than 200 and fewer than 501 employees; and
4. $300,000 from employers with more than 500 employees.

It is important to note that these figures prescribe the maximum amount of punitive damages possible, but are not guaranteed damage awards.



Am I entitled to back pay?

 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to back pay from your employer, for up to two years prior to the date of your original complaint with the Workforce Commission. If the trial court awards you back pay, it will subtract any interim earnings, worker’s compensation benefits, and unemployment benefits from the total award. Overall, your award must be based on rational calculations of what income and benefits you actually received.



What are "future pecuniary losses" or "front pay" and am I entitled to them under Texas law?

 

"Future pecuniary losses" — or "front pay" — essentially refers to monetary damages from future wages or benefits that have been diminished because of your employer’s sex discrimination. "Pecuniary losses" are a form of compensatory monetary damages available under Texas law, which can be estimated from actual calculations of earned income. In practice, you may believe that as a result of losing your job, for example, your future "earning capacity" has diminished. The court will, however, compare what income you have been earning since leaving your employer with your old salary under your employer to determine if you truly have a diminished earning capacity. Under Texas law, you may also be entitled to "front pay" if the court determines that reinstatement is not feasible.



Am I entitled to my old job back?

 

You may be entitled to your old job back, depending on the circumstances of your case. Texas courts have sufficient discretion to order your reinstatement if the court deems reinstatement appropriate.



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. On occasion, even where the employee has prevailed, Texas courts may deny attorney’s fees when they do not consider the other total relief awarded to be "meaningful." By "meaningful," these courts seemed to indicate that they did not feel a jury award was significant.



What is declaratory relief, and am I entitled to declaratory relief?

 

"Declaratory relief," also known as a "declaratory judgment," is a court ruling that decides the legal rights or relationships of the parties in a case. For instance, the court may make a "declaratory judgment" that you are protected under the < a href="http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/LA/content/htm/la.002.00.000021.00.htm">TCHRA or that your employer qualifies as an employer under the TCHRA. You may be entitled to "declaratory relief" depending on the facts and circumstances of your 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 and 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, with your attorney’s advice, determine that the court or jury made an error when it ruled in your case.



What if my employer still does not change?

 

If the employer does not comply with the court’s order, the complainant or aggrieved party may further petition the court to "compel compliance" with its order.

 

 



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