Employees in New York and throughout the country have legal protection against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. In many cases, individuals who are harassed or discriminated against could be entitled to compensation from their employers.
Compensation may include reimbursement for attorney fees, the cost of hiring an expert witness or costs associated with finding a new job. It may also be possible to be compensated for emotional distress caused by improper treatment at work.
Punitive damages may be added on top of compensatory damages to hold an employer responsible for egregious treatment of an employee based on gender, national origin or other protected attributes. The amount that a person can recover is determined partially on the size of a victim's employer. If discrimination or harassment victim works at a company with 15 to 100 employees, the compensatory and punitive damage cap is $50,000. That number rises to $300,000 for employers that have more than 500 employees.
In some cases, workers are entitled to liquidated damages instead of compensatory or punitive damages. This is typically true in age discrimination cases or in cases involving wage discrimination claims made under the Equal Pay Act. The size of an award is equivalent to the amount of back pay that an employee obtains in his or her case.
Individuals who are treated differently based on their gender or because they are pregnant may be victims of discrimination on the job. It may be possible to take legal action in an effort to obtain compensation. An attorney may help a victim of discrimination obtain back pay, compensatory damages or liquidated damages. This might be done by submitting text messages, payroll records or any other information to establish that discrimination took place. Cases may be resolved in court or through settlement talks.