This article is specific to the United States of America.
Discrimination in the workplace happens far too often. Discrimination at work can be based on a number of different characteristics such as gender, age, sexual orientation, or race. A 2019 Glassdoor survey found that 42% of all employees surveyed had experienced or witnessed racial discrimination in the workplace.
For individuals who believe they are facing racial discrimination in the workplace, there are state and federal laws and agencies, like the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in place to offer you protection as an employee and allow you to seek legal action against your employer.
This may result in you and a racial discrimination lawyer that you work with seeking a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement. A large question tied to that is often what the average settlement value for a racial discrimination lawsuit is. We answer that question and related topics below.
Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. It is general information meant to inform. Please consult with a race discrimination lawyer for legal advice or guidance.
What is Racial Discrimination in the Workplace?
To start, let us briefly define racial discrimination in the workplace.
As defined by the EEOC, racial discrimination involves treating an applicant or an employee unfavorably because they are “of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).”
Discrimination can happen when the victim and the perpetrator of the discrimination are of the same race as well.
Under the EEOC, discrimination is forbidden in all aspects of employment including:
- Firing, termination, and layoffs
- Benefits (health insurance, 401k, stock options, etc.)
- Job assignments
Employees who are facing racial discrimination at work should consult with a racial discrimination lawyer to learn more about their rights and what steps they can take to pursue a racial discrimination lawsuit.
What is the Average Settlement Value for a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not something that is one size fits all. There really is no average settlement value for a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement that we can share in simple numbers since each case is going to vary based on a number of different factors.
These factors include but are not limited to:
- The kind of racial discrimination you faced
- The severity and length of the discrimination
- If your employer took appropriate steps to address the discrimination once they were notified
- The evidence you have of the discrimination
- What kind of damages you suffered
The above factors will ultimately play a large role in the amount of damages you will receive from any lawsuit settlement.
Is There Any Limit to the Damages that I Can Receive?
Even if we cannot pinpoint a specific average settlement value, one thing to be aware of is that depending on federal, state, and local laws, there are limits on the certain amounts of damages that you can receive from your lawsuit.
For example, there is a cap number of damages that individuals can receive for emotional distress and punitive damages based on employer size at the federal level. The EEOC lays out these limits as following:
- Employers with 15-100 employees, the limit is $50,000.
- Employers with 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000.
- Employers with 201-500 employees, the limit is $200,000.
- Employers with more than 500 employees, the limit is $300,000.
State and local laws may also have their own cap amounts.
Damages That are Available from a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement
Now that you have an idea of what factors are taken into consideration once you file a racial discrimination lawsuit, let’s take a brief look at some of the damages that can be awarded.
Damages from an employment lawsuit settlement include:
- Back and front pay
- Emotional distress
- Lost benefits
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
It’s important to note that you may not receive all of the above damages. Just as the amount of damages will depend on the individual factors in your case, so too will the kinds of damages you may be awarded.
If you are experiencing racial discrimination at work and would like to pursue a racial discrimination lawsuit, consider reaching out to an experienced employment attorney for a consultation.
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Matthew J.P. Coffman is an experienced employment lawyer and the founder of the employment law firm Coffman Legal, LLC. Matthew provides zealous representation to employees in many types of employment disputes with a focus on unpaid wages and unpaid overtime cases.