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What is the limit for lawsuits against employers for discrimination cases?

Silver Spring, MD |

I am in four protected classes. Age, Gender, sexual orientation, race.

libel, defamation and retaliation, iied

Attorney Answers 2


You don't get a certain amount of damages if the employer acted unlawfully or violated your civil rights, no matter how egregiously. Rather, your damages mainly depend on what out-of-pocket damages (which are called special damages) that you can prove. For example, if you were terminated, you could show lost earnings while you were unemployed and perhaps the difference between the earnings at your former job and the successor job. In other words, proving the employer acted unlawfully or violated your civil rights mainly goes to liability, not damages. Damages must be proved on a case by case basis and are often much less than what claimants think.

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There is no limit to the number or variety of discriminatory bases that the plaintiff can allege in a discrimination case. But, practically speaking, a lawsuit alleging four bases of discrimination may be inherently less credible than a lawsuit alleging one or two. Of course, the specific facts of the specific employment is the critical fact on this issue. If a plaintiff worked for an employer for 10 years, for example, it is not inherently credible that the employer suddenly noticed the employee's race and began discriminating on that basis (absent a compelling factual narrative that accounts for the discrepancy, of course). The same oddity would likely pertain for gender. But age discrimination can (credibly) commence after a long course of successful employment. Many states and the federal anti-discrimination laws do not specifically protect employees from discrimination on account of sexual orientation.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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