Discrimination, Harassment & Wrongful Termination Cases – What Types of Compensation Can You Receive?
Pennsylvania employees who have experienced workplace discrimination, sexual harassment or been wrongfully terminated may be able to receive financial compensation from their employers.
If you would like to discuss your employment law matter with our Philadelphia employment lawyers, please call our office for a free, no obligation consultation. (215) 545-8917
Federal Law – Compensation for Employment Law Cases
Federal law aims to compensate the victim so that they are placed in the same position they would have been in had the discrimination, harassment or termination not occurred. Employees with valid claims may recover two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
An award for punitive damages tends to be rare in employment discrimination or harassment lawsuits. These types of damages are typically awarded only when the court or jury finds that the defendant engaged in especially egregious conduct, like lying, fraud, or other serious misconduct.
For example, a Philadelphia company fires a worker after she reports sexual harassment by her manager. After firing her, other managers at the company as well as HR employees begin spreading unfounded rumors about why the employee was fired, including allegations of drug use, stealing, etc. In this instance, a claim for punitive damages would be appropriate.
Compensatory damages are meant to pay the victim for not only financial losses but also for any mental or emotional harm suffered because of the negative employment action.
Compensation for Back Pay
Back pay claims include salary, wages, tips, and other employment benefits the victim would have received from the time of the negative employment action to the resolution of the case or finding another job, whichever comes first.
Back pay claims often include a wide variety of employment wages and benefits, such as:
- sick pay,
- vacation pay,
- retirement account contributions, or
- stock options.
Compensation for Front Pay
In some cases, front pay claims are appropriate, especially where the victim was a long-time employee or there is some factor that makes it difficult for the employee to find a similar position. For example, an African American employee in Philadelphia has been with the same company for nearly 30 years and is set to retire in 3 years. The employee is terminated after experiencing and reporting race discrimination by his new supervisor.
Here, the employee’s wage loss claim would include a claim for front pay because under the circumstances, the employee would have stayed at the company until he retired.
In addition to claims for compensation or punitive damages, claims may also be made for attorney’s fees, court costs, etc.
Federal Limits on Compensation in Employment Claims
In addition, federal employment law places caps or limits on what a mistreated employee can recover. The limits are based on the size of the employer:
- $50,000 limit for employers with 15-100 employees
- $100,000 limit for employers with 101-200 employees
- $200,000 limit for employers with 201-500 employees
- $300,000 limit for employers with more than 500 employees
These limits apply to both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Koller Law Firm – Philadelphia Employment Lawyers
At Koller Law our passion lies in representing people from all walks of life who have been mistreated by an employer, whether it’s discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination. We accept employment law cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Koller Law is not run like every other firm – we provide the compassionate, individual attention employees need and deserve.