Houston, TX – As a general rule, civil lawsuits base damages on the situation the plaintiff would have occupied if the defendant had never harmed them. In employment lawsuits, this tends to be payment of back pay, as well as other costs associated with finding comparable employment. The defendant may also be forced to pay punitive damages that are only meant as a form of punishment if they acted maliciously. Any specific questions about the value of a lawsuit related to sexual harassment or discriminatory actions should be directed to a licensed labor attorney.
Federal cases and application of federal law
Because most sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits are brought under federal laws that protect equality and civil rights, federal laws related to damage caps also apply. These damage caps tend to increase with the size of the employer, as a very large company can likely afford to pay out a few hundred thousand dollars while smaller companies generally cannot. If the case is brought under state law, there are comparable laws but it will progress through the state’s courts rather than those of the U.S. government.
Damage caps coincide with the number of employees
An employer of fifteen to one hundred employees cannot be made to pay a plaintiff more than $50,000. For workplaces that have more than one hundred, but less than two hundred workers, that amount is increased to $100,000. Employers in the two hundred to five hundred employee range can pay up to $200,000. Very large workplaces with more than five hundred workers will have to pay up to $300,000 regardless of the specific number of employees above five hundred in their workforce. Very small workplaces with less than fifteen workers are subject to a different set of rules.
These damage limits are based on a total of all damages combined, even if compensatory, non-economic, and punitive damages are all awarded. In that sense, these function as absolute damage caps regardless of the conduct or injuries involved. A victim of sexual harassment should also be aware that their legal costs and attorney’s fees will be paid out of their damages if they lawyer worked on a contingent fee basis, which is common in many civil lawsuits. It is common for civil lawsuits to end with settlement agreements rather than a full trial, as legal fees tend to increase greatly if the lawyers spend several days in court and have to call multiple witnesses.
Finding an employment attorney in Texas
Moore and Associates is available to handle various matters related to unpaid wages and overtime, discrimination, sexual harassment, as well as other labor law issues. Local clients in Texas can get in touch with the firm for immediate help.
Firm contact info:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002