What Can I Get If I Win?


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


If you prove your claim of sex discrimination, you may be entitled to injunctive or monetary relief against your employer under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA). However, remedies vary from case to case.


What is equitable relief?


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 Wisconsin law, this can include compensation for lost earnings, reinstatement, and attorney's fees.


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.


Am I entitled to monetary damages if I win?


Yes, you may be entitled to monetary damages in the form of back pay. Under Wisconsin law, back pay is compensation for lost earnings due to discrimination. If you voluntarily quit from your position you must show that you were constructively discharged in order to collect back pay. Constructive discharge would occur if you left your job because you considered the workplace conditions to be intolerable and a reasonable employee would also have found the conditions unbearable. If your employer is found guilty of retaliation, you may be entitled to specific compensation in lieu of reinstatement. Interest may be added on to any award as well. Monetary damages for emotional distress and punitive damages are not available under Wisconsin state law.


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. Punitive damages are not available under Wisconsin state law.


Am I entitled to back pay?


Yes, under WFEA, you are entitled to back pay. Back pay may not accrue for more than two years prior to filing the complaint. Also, if your employer is found guilty of retaliation, you may be entitled to specific compensation in lieu of reinstatement. That compensation may be no less than five hundred (500) times your hourly wage and no more than one thousand (1000) times your hourly wage.


Am I entitled to "pecuniary losses?"


Pecuniary losses are damages that can be estimated and monetarily compensated. Under the WFEA, you could be entitled to back pay. Back pay is compensation for lost earnings due to the discrimination. Additional compensation may be available in lieu of reinstatement if you were retaliated against.


Am I entitled to my old job back?


Yes, reinstatement is possible under the WFEA. Any offer of reinstatement must be:
(1) for the same position or a substantially similar position;
(2) unconditional (i.e. with no requirements attached to the offer); and
(3) made with a reasonable amount of time for the employee to consider the offer.


If reinstatement is not available then compensation in lieu of reinstatement may be possible.


Am I entitled to attorney's fees?


Yes, you may be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees on a prevailing discrimination claim. Attorney's fees are a legal remedy that requires the defendant to pay for the plaintiff's cost of hiring an attorney for the case. The following factors play a role determining reasonable attorney's fees:
(1) making victims whole and compensating them for any actual losses sustained in the process;
(2) encouraging employees to enforce their rights under the WFEA; and
(3) realizing that suing employers under the WFEA exercise not only individual rights, but public rights to a discrimination-free workplace.


Will this be the final result?


Not necessarily. Both you and your employer have the right to appeal which may extend the process. Your employer may challenge your award if it feels the award is too high, or you may feel your award is insufficient.


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


Yes, you are entitled to appeal a decision. To do so, you must mail a petition to the Labor and Industry Review Commission to review an administrative law judge's opinion within twenty one (21) days of the initial decision.




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