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What Is Title VII?

November 6, 2020 Workplace Discrimination

And What Damages Does Your Employer Have to Pay if It Breaks This Law?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

If your employer discriminates against you for any of the above reasons, they may be liable for paying certain damages. The types of damages include:

Equitable Relief 

Under Title VII, employers who have discriminated against their employees may be required to pay “equitable relief”—which means elevating the employee’s economic situation to the one they would have been in if the discrimination had not happened.

Equitable relief might come in the form of back pay, front pay, or placing you in a job originally denied due to discrimination.

Back Pay

Most people who have been discriminated against by an employer suffer financial consequences—whether the employer fired you, demoted you, denied you a raise, refused to hire you, or paid you less than your colleagues.

When that happens, your employer has to pay you back the compensation you would have received if you had not been discriminated against. It also has to restore lost pension and insurance benefits, vacation time, bonuses, and other benefits.

There is no limit to the amount of back pay an employer might have to pay, but they are only responsible for a period of two years prior to the filing.

Front Pay

The employer may also have to place you back in the job that you would have had if the discrimination hadn’t happened. For instance, if you were fired, you might get rehired in your old position.

If for some reason it isn’t workable to restore your position, the court may award “front pay” as an alternative. This compensates the employee for the time it will take to find a new job, as well as the reduced pay that may be involved in starting over at a new company.

It can also include lost commissions, bonuses, and other benefits.

Compensatory Damages

This refers to the emotional distress caused by an employer’s discriminatory treatment. There are certain limits on the amount you can sue for under compensatory damages, which are determined by the number of employees at the company.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are generally put in place to punish the defendant for conduct considered especially egregious.

You’re not automatically awarded punitive damages when you win your discrimination case. Some factors make it more likely, however, including:

  • Whether your employer was aware it was breaking anti-discrimination laws.
  • Whether your employer lied to cover up the discrimination.
  • Whether the person discriminating against you was your manager.
  • Whether the employer tried to solve the problem by implementing and enforcing its own anti-discrimination policies.

Attorney’s Fees

You may also be entitled to have your employer pay your attorney’s fees under Title VII. These are generally calculated based on the number of hours your attorney worked on your case, and the average hourly rates for attorneys of their level of experience in your area.

Is Your Employer Discriminating Against You? If So, Speak To a Lawyer

If your employer is treating you in a discriminatory fashion, you may be entitled to damages.

A knowledgeable Pennsylvania employment attorney can help you hold your employer accountable—and ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.