Your Business Can be Hit With Serious Damages in Employment Discrimination Cases
As a business owner, you hopefully are aware of the many laws that protect workers, and which tell you, as an employer, what you can and cannot do when it comes to your employees. Whether discrimination or retaliation or lawsuits involving improper pay or salaries, one thing is certain: violating state and federal employee protection laws can be very costly for your business.
Loss of Past and Future Wages
But how costly? One measure of damages is an employee’s loss of wages or income, as a result of discrimination.
So, for example, if someone was making a given salary and then was forced to leave work for a discriminatory reason, or for a violation of a federal law like the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the employee could get damages from termination/resignation to the present time.
But damages don’t just stop at the present; a jury can even award an employee damages in the future—in other words, a jury can assume that someone would have, in the absence of discrimination or wrongful termination, worked for another 5 or 10 years, and award the employee lost future wages for that time period as well.
Don’t Forget Lost Benefits
Whether for past or future wages, the employee’s loss isn’t just wages, but the benefits that he or she would have had, but which were lost. Things like retirement accounts, sick or vacation days, health insurances, all have a value that, if loss, the employee can ask to be compensated for.
Making matters worse, many laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, also allow an aggrieved employee to get double damages, as well as attorneys fees.
So, even a lower paid employee can, over an extended period of time where he or she is paid less than what he should have been paid, end up with a significant damage claim against an employer who did not pay the employer what was supposed to be paid.
Emotional and Mental Trauma
All of this is just economic. But many forms of discrimination also carry the risk of non-economic damages, things like pain, suffering, anguish, or emotional trauma that the employee suffers because of the discrimination.
And in especially serious cases, a jury can often also award an employee punitive damages. The employee will often get lay witnesses, like friends or family, to testify how the employee was harassed.
And while juries are normally suspect of emotional or mental damages, in cases like sexual harassment or racial discrimination, an angered jury is much more willing to believe that emotional trauma exists, and that it is worthy of a punitive damage award.
Because most employment laws carry an award of attorneys fees, it means that even employees who do not have financial means, can find an attorney to come after your business.
Get it right the first time and be compliant with employment discrimination and wage laws. Call our West Palm Beach business litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig today.