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What Damages Are Available in a Race Discrimination Lawsuit?

At one time in United States history it was not only common, but was also legal, to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of race, color and/or national origin.

Thankfully, federal law has made race/color/national origin discrimination illegal now for several decades; however, there are still employers that do engage in racial discrimination in the U.S.

If you were discriminated against on the basis of race in the U.S. you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the employer.

You may be wondering “ What damages are available in a race discrimination lawsuit?

If successful in the lawsuit you could be entitled to compensatory and possibly punitive damages.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, race discrimination involves “treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).  Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.



A victim may also suffer race discrimination because he or she is married to, or associates with, someone of a certain race or color.

Association with a race or color based organization or group can also lead to racial discrimination in the workplace.

Race or color based discrimination may occur in all aspects of employment including hiring, firing, pay, and job assignments as well as promotions, layoff, training and fringe benefits.

Race discrimination may also include harassment in the workplace which may manifest itself in the form of racial slurs or negative remarks made about your race or color.

As the victim of race or color based discrimination in the workplace you could be entitled to compensatory damages which are intended to “compensate” you for the actual out of pocket expenses caused by the defendant’s discrimination.

This could include things such as the cost of therapy, lost wages, or costs incurred searching for a new job.

Compensatory damages are also intended to include compensation for the emotional trauma the defendant’s actions caused.

Punitive damages are only awarded if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.

For example, if the defendant’s acts of discrimination were malicious or reckless. If awarded, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant, not compensate the victim.

Therefore, punitive damages are not directly tied to any expenses incurred by the victim.

If you have additional questions or concerns about race or color based discrimination in the workplace, click here to contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. or by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.

To learn more, please download our free Employment Discrimination in Florida here.