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Damages available for workplace discrimination under Title VII

By: Virtus Law Group, Birmingham Alabama.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees, unions, and employment agencies from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of their race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. When an employee loses their job, is harassed, or is otherwise harmed because of an employer’s discrimination, it can have a devastating impact on their life and they may be entitled to compensation.

If you choose to pursue a claim against your employer, what damages are available to you?

Back Pay

Back Pay is the amount of money you would be owed if you had not been discriminated against. For example, if you were unlawfully fired from a full-time job that paid $15/hour and you were unable to find new employment for 10 weeks, your back pay would be $6,000.

Compensatory and Punitive Damages

In addition to lost wages, victims of workplace discrimination can suffer various other negative consequences as a result of their employer’s unlawful conduct. If an employer intentionally discriminated against you, you may be entitled to recover for non-pecuniary injuries like emotional suffering, inconvenience, etc. in addition to receiving back pay.

When employer intentionally and maliciously discriminates against one of its employees, the employer is sometimes required to pay the employee punitive damages. Compensatory and punitive damages, combined, are subject to a statutory cap depending on the size of the employer:

  • $50,000 limit for employers with 15-100 employees
  • $100,000 limit for employers with 101-200 employees
  • $200,000 limit for employers with 15-500 employees
  • $300,000 limit for employers with 500+ employees



One goal of Title VII is to restore victims of discrimination to the position they would be in if they were not discriminated against. When an employer has intentionally discriminated against an employee, a court can order the employer to place the employee in the position that they would have absent the discrimination (i.e. rehire, promote, etc.).

Front Pay

In some circumstances when reinstatement isn’t possible, courts can require that an employer pay the victim of workplace discrimination what they would be earning, absent the discrimination, for a reasonable amount of time so that the employee can get reestablished in the job market.

Damages vary under Title VII depending on the particular facts and circumstances of your case. If you have been a victim of unlawful discrimination at work, an experienced attorney can help you through the process and get you what you deserve.


Founded in Birmingham, Alabama Virtus Law Group is a Personal Injury and Labor and Employment firm serving the people of Alabama.



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