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Unfortunately, employment discrimination continues to occur in the United States despite the existence of numerous state and federal laws making it illegal to engage in certain types of discriminatory practices in the workplace. Although no amount of money can truly compensate a victim of employment discrimination, the law does entitle victims of workplace discrimination to compensation. The type of compensation available depends on the type of discrimination as well as whether the lawsuit is filed in state or federal court. While many types of discrimination cases offer a victim compensatory damages, certain types of employment discrimination cases limit the damages available to liquidated damages. If you believe you are the victim of employment discrimination you may be wondering “ What are liquidated damages? ”

In any type of civil lawsuit there are three types of damages that could be awarded to a victim – compensatory, punitive, and liquid. The type of damages a victim can be awarded in a specific type of lawsuit is determined by statute. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for out of pocket expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the injury and/or for the emotional impact of the injury. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the defendant and are usually only awarded when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious.

Finally, liquidated damages can also be used to punish a defendant. The difference between punitive and liquidated damages is that punitive damages are decided by a judge or jury whereas liquidated damages are set by statute. Unless a relevant statute “caps”, or limits, the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded to a victim, a punitive damages award is usually ordered at an amount that will have an impact on the defendant because the purpose is to punish the defendant for wrongdoing. Therefore, there is no way to know what a punitive damages award will be until it is actually awarded. The amount a victim will receive in liquidated damages, on the other hand, is pre-determined. For example, in a federal lawsuit based on intentional age discrimination or intentional sex-based wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act a victim is potentially entitled to liquidated damages in an amount equal to the amount of back pay paid to the victim. For instance, if you are entitled to $25,000 in back pay as a result of your age discrimination lawsuit and liquidated damages awarded you will receive an additional $25,000.

If you have additional questions or concerns about liquidated damages, or other types of damages, in a Florida employment discrimination lawsuit, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.

To learn more, please download our free employment discrimination in Florida report here.