Damages in Federal Sector EEO Cases

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Damages in Federal Sector EEO cases are specific.  Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate an individual for actual losses suffered as a result of discrimination in the workplace. These damages are intended to make the individual whole by reimbursing them for their actual and tangible losses. Compensatory damages may include things like lost wages, lost benefits, and other actual financial losses directly related to, or arising from, the alleged discrimination.

Compensatory damages are further divided into two types: Pecuniary and non-pecuniary. Pecuniary damages as noted above refer to the monetary losses incurred by an individual as a result of discrimination in the workplace. Non-pecuniary damages refer to the non-monetary losses incurred by an individual as a result of discrimination in the workplace such as emotional distress, loss of reputation or professional standing, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible harms.

Non-compensatory damages, on the other hand, are awarded to punish the employer for their discriminatory actions and to deter similar conduct in the future. These damages are not intended to compensate the individual for their losses, but rather to hold the employer accountable for their actions. Non-compensatory damages may include things like punitive damages, liquidated damages, and statutory damages.  Note that liquidated damages is not a term generally familiar to most federal employees.  Liquidated damages are generally described as an estimate of otherwise intangible or hard-to-define losses to the Complainant (in this scenario).

It’s worth noting that the availability and amount of damages will vary depending on the specific facts of the case. Additionally, there is is a cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded for non-compensatory damages.  This cap is currently set at $300,000.

In an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) case, a plaintiff may seek both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages as a result of discrimination. Pecuniary damages are typically easier to calculate, as they are based on specific financial losses. Non-pecuniary damages, on the other hand, can be more difficult to quantify, as they are based on subjective experiences.

It is very important that complainants structure requested remedies reasonably and accurately. Determining damages in Federal Sector EEO cases is not the same as gambling. This article is intended to be very brief in scope. Appropriate remedies are developed for specific facts and circumstances affecting each case.


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