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What You Can (and Should) Ask for in a Discrimination Settlement

What You Can (and Should) Ask for in a Discrimination Settlement

No one should have to endure workplace discrimination. Yet, even in this day and age, unfair treatment based on race, gender, age, disability, or other protected characteristics still persists.

If you find yourself being discriminated against at work, you have the legal right to pursue justice. Filing an employment discrimination claim can be a difficult process, but it may be necessary to stand up against unlawful practices.

Many workplace discrimination cases end in a settlement agreement between the employee and the company. Settlements allow both sides to avoid a lengthy court battle. If you reach a settlement for your discrimination claim, you will likely be entitled to compensation. But settlement deals can vary greatly. So, what exactly should you ask for or agree to in a discrimination settlement?

But First, How Do You Know if You Have a Valid Discrimination Case?

Employment discrimination laws at both the federal and state levels protect employees against discrimination based on protected characteristics like race, gender, religion, age, and disability. Unlawful discrimination includes being fired, demoted, harassed, or otherwise treated unfairly because of your belonging to a protected class.

Retaliation for complaining about discrimination is also illegal. If you reported discriminatory acts or participated in an investigation and faced backlash from your employer, that likely constitutes retaliation.

To have a strong case, you need to document the discriminatory or retaliatory acts and demonstrate the harm they caused you. It’s critical to file a claim with the California Department of Civil Rights well before the three-year deadline. An experienced employment discrimination attorney can evaluate your situation and evidence to determine if you have a valid case.

What to Ask for in a Workplace Discrimination Settlement

Experiencing discrimination at work can make you feel betrayed, angry, and uncertain of your rights. You don’t have to suffer in silence or accept the situation – you can stand up to workplace discrimination and seek the justice you deserve by filing an employment discrimination claim, which opens the door to a potential settlement that provides financial compensation.

Here are a few things you can ask for in a settlement:

Punitive Damages

If an employer deliberately and maliciously discriminates, you may be able to seek punitive damages on top of other compensation. These are meant to punish and deter particularly egregious behavior. Although awards may be many times the amount of compensatory damages, punitive damages are only potentially available after a successful verdict.

Economic Damages

These compensate you for tangible financial losses like lost wages, benefits, promotions, and out-of-pocket costs. The settlement should cover back pay dating back to when the discrimination began and front pay for expected future income and benefits lost due to damage to your career trajectory.

Non-Economic Compensatory Damages

Money can’t undo the emotional trauma caused by workplace discrimination, but it can help compensate. Compensatory damages are meant to pay for emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and other intangible injuries.

Attorney’s Fees

In employment discrimination cases, the employer is required to pay your reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs if you prevail. This is a significant financial benefit to employees and reduces the barriers to pursuing justice.

How Much Should I Ask for in a Workplace Discrimination Settlement?

It depends. There is no one-size-fits-all settlement amount for a discrimination case because each case has unique circumstances. Factors like the type of discrimination, length of employment, lost income, mental distress, and available evidence impact final settlement amounts.

Settlements occasionally include non-monetary provisions, such as policy changes or employee training. An experienced attorney can help you understand what a fair settlement entails based on the specifics of your situation.

Negotiating the Best Possible Settlement

Statistically, the vast majority of discrimination cases are settled before trial. This is often in the best interests of both parties. Settlements avoid the public attention of a trial and the uncertainty of a jury decision.

You want to negotiate firmly but reasonably, establishing that you have strong evidence to take to trial if needed. An attorney experienced in these cases can advise you on a settlement demand that resolves your case fairly.

If settlement negotiations fail, filing a lawsuit may be your next step. While legal action is more expensive and entails risks, the potential damages awarded if you win at trial are typically higher. Your attorney can help weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement versus taking a strong case to trial.

Stand Up for Your Rights — Contact Malk Law Firm

Justice is served when employees gain the awareness and courage to stand up against workplace discrimination. And when victims negotiate firmly for the compensation they deserve.

Don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys at Malk Law Firm about your employment discrimination case during a free consultation. Receive the justice you deserve.

Author Bio

Michael Malk is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Malk Law Firm, a Seattle employee rights law firm he started in 2007. With more than 20 years of experience practicing law, he has dedicated his career to representing clients throughout California and Washington in a wide range of legal areas, including unpaid wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and other employee rights matters.

Michael received his Juris Doctor from the University of California— Davis School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California, the State Bar of Washington, and the American Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named as one of the “Top Attorneys in Southern California” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2018 and being selected as a Super Lawyer for six consecutive years.

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