The Remedies Available in Discrimination Cases

June 30, 2021
Jay Stafford

Both federal and Maryland state laws prohibit discrimination in a variety of forms. Employers are prohibited from treating employees differently on the basis of race, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, or other categories. While employees are generally aware that this is prohibited, they often don’t understand their rights. Victims of discrimination are entitled to a wide variety of remedies depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. If you have been discriminated against, a Maryland employment lawyer can discuss with you what remedies you may be entitled to. 

You May Be Entitled to Injunctive Relief

The phrase “injunctive relief” is legal jargon for a court order requiring your employer to take specific actions. If a court finds that your employer engaged in intentional discrimination, the court may order your employer to take specific steps to remedy the situation, such as the following: 

  • Immediately halt such discriminatory actions
  • Implement an anti-discrimination policy
  • Require anti-discrimination training for management or employees

If you were terminated or denied a job based on discriminatory reasons, the court may also order your employer to reinstate you to your former position or hire you for the job you applied for. 

The injunctive relief that is ordered by the court should take into account the specific circumstances of your case. For example, the court may not order that you be reinstated if the relationship between you, your employer, and your fellow employees has soured. A Maryland employment lawyer can advocate for injunctive relief that best suits your case. 

Front Pay and Back Pay

If you were refused a position or terminated for discriminatory reasons, you may be entitled to compensation for any wages or other benefits you would have otherwise received. This includes both “front pay” and “back pay.” 

  • Front pay is payment for the wages or benefits you would have received while you look for a comparable job. 
  • Back pay is the payment of wages that you would have received had you not been declined the position or terminated. 

Front pay and back pay are very similar with one important difference: front pay is awarded only when hiring or reinstatement is not feasible. 

The amounts awarded for front and back pay can be significant. Under federal law, you can claim up to two years of back pay from the date you filed your complaint with the EEOC and will be based on your prior wages. While there is no formula for determining front pay, the court will consider the following factors: 

  • The age of the employee
  • How long it will take to find comparable employment
  • The duration of employment

When seeking compensation, it is important to understand how it relates to your other available remedies and that you correctly calculate the amount you are seeking. An experienced Maryland employment lawyer can make sure you receive all of the lost income you are entitled to. 

Compensatory Damages

You may also be entitled to other losses that were caused by your employer’s discrimination such as out-of-pocket medical expenses or costs related to your job search. Losing a promotion, getting fired, or declined for a position can also take a toll on your mental health. As a result, you may also be entitled to damages for the emotional harm you have suffered. 

A Maryland Employment Lawyer May Be Able to Seek Punitive Damages

In cases where the discrimination was malicious or with reckless disregard of your life, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish your employer for particularly egregious behavior and to dissuade other employers from behaving similarly. 

Caps on Damages

We should note, however, that both compensatory and punitive damages are capped under federal law. The limitation will depend on the size of your employer. For example: 

  • The cap for employers with 15-100 employees is $50,000
  • The cap for employers with more than 500 employees is $300,000

Note that the cap is a limitation – you could be awarded less than that amount, but you cannot be awarded more. It is also a combined cap for both compensatory and punitive damages. 

Attorney’s Fees

Finally, if you choose to work with a Maryland employment lawyer, you may be able to recover your attorney’s fees if your claim is successful. In addition, you may also be awarded any fees paid to experts as well as your court costs. 

Contact Maryland Employment Lawyer J.W. Stafford Today

If you have suffered as a result of employment-related discrimination, Maryland employment lawyer J.W. Stafford can help you get back on your feet. To discuss your case and learn more about how we can help, contact us today at 410-514-6099 to schedule a consultation.