Title VII also offers varying types of remedies to a party (a plaintiff or complainant) that may prevail in a lawsuit brought under it. Some of these remedies include:

  1. Compensatory Damages

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(b)(3), depending on the size of the employer, the amount of combined punitive and compensatory damages is capped under Title VII at various levels, including (1) $50,000 for employers with 15-100 employees, (2) $100,000 for employers with 101-200 employees, (3) $200,000 for employers with 201-500 employees, and (4) $300,000 for employers with 501 or more employees.

  1. Economic Damages

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(1), if a court finds that a respondent (such as an employer) is intentionally engaging or intentionally engaged in an unlawful employment practice alleged in a lawsuit, it may award the complainant (such as an employee) back pay. However, the amount awarded should not accrue more than 12 months before a complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

It is also crucial to note that pursuant to the same provision, reasonable diligence is applied to determine if the back pay awarded should be reduced by the amount that could have been earned by the victim of discrimination during the relevant period or by the amount of earnings for the victim during the relevant time.

Additionally, as ruled in one case (See Williams v. Pharmacia, Inc., 137 F.3d 944, 952 (7th Cir. 1998)), front pay may also be awarded by a court in lieu of reinstatement. However, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(2)(A), if the complainant or plaintiff was discharged or suspended or denied advancement or employment for any reason other than discrimination based on grounds prohibited by Title VII, then the complainant or plaintiff may not be awarded back pay.

In addition, in Howe v. City of Akron, 801 F.3d 718, 745 (6th Cir. 2015), the court ruled that back pay may also be awarded by a court in a disparate impact case. Feel free to check our blog post Disparate Impact Claims Recognized under Applicable Federal Laws for more information on disparate impact claims recognized under Title VII and the criterion applied by courts when analyzing disparate impact claims under this federal law. Based on this ruling, back pay should be calculated from the first time the employer engages in the alleged discriminatory practice.

  1. Equitable Relief

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(1), a court may (1) order any affirmative action as may be appropriate and (2) require the respondent to refrain, cease, and desist from conducting the alleged unlawful employment practice if it finds that that the respondent is intentionally taking part in or intentionally took part in, an unlawful employment practice alleged in the lawsuit. Examples of affirmative actions a court may order include, but are not limited to, hiring or reinstating employees (present or absent of back pay or any other relief it may deem just, equitable, and appropriate.

In addition, as ruled in Young v. UPS, 135 S. Ct. 1338, 1365 (2015), equitable relief may also be awarded by courts in disparate impact cases. As a reminder, hit the link provided earlier for more information about the same. Moreover, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(2)(A), if an individual (in the capacity of an employee) was suspended or denied advancement or employment for any reason other than in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) or discrimination on the basis of national origin, sex, religion, color, or race, a court may order the promotion, reinstatement, or hiring of the individual.

Finally, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g), once a respondent demonstrates they would have, without the impermissible motivating factor, taken the same action or when an individual proves that 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m) was violated, injunctive relief or declaratory relief may be awarded by a court.

  1. Attorney’s Fees and Costs

Additionally, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k), reasonable attorney’s fees and costs may also be awarded by a court to a prevailing party other than the United States or the EEOC.

  1. Punitive Damages

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(a)(1), (b)(1), (b)(3), the count of employees an employer has (which should determine if Title VII applies to the employer) is used as the basis for capping the amount of punitive damages available under Title VII, in addition to certain compensatory damages. Notably, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(a)(1), (b), if a court finds that an employer acted with reckless indifference or malice to the rights of a prevailing plaintiff, then it may allow the plaintiff/complainant to recover punitive damages.

As usual, in case you need further clarification regarding the information shared in this blog post, we, the authoritative force in Employment & Labor Law, serving as primary counsel or cumis counsel and providing diverse legal services in both a traditional and online, web-based environment, whether it be for small or large-scale businesses on a panel or a case-by-case basis, are just a call or email away!

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