There’s an old joke in law school that the answer to any legal question is “it depends.” When it comes to figuring out what a discrimination case is worth, the joke holds true. The range of discrimination and retaliation settlements varies widely because there are so many factors to consider. To understand those factors in your case, talk to the discrimination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius.

How much are discrimination and retaliation settlements?

Discrimination and retaliation settlements can range from the millions to just a few thousand, or even less. There is no magic formula to figure out what your case is worth. And while every case is different, some factors come up in most cases.

The amount of the employee’s economic loss is always important to consider. The seriousness and severity of the employer’s or harasser’s conduct is always important as well. In some cases, a plaintiff needs to consider the employer’s ability to pay a verdict when evaluating a potential discrimination and retaliation settlement. And of course, the strength of the case—in other words, the chance of proving discrimination—must be considered in every case. This is not a complete list, and there are many other settlement factors, like how long the case would take, how much risk is involved, and the value of closure.

Again, every case is different. Whether a case is worth millions or next-to-nothing or something in between is not always easy to figure out. That’s exactly why employees need guidance from a seasoned discrimination lawyer. Your rights are too important to leave to chance.

What damages are there in discrimination and retaliation cases?

To understand what a discrimination or retaliation case might be worth it’s critical to first understand what damages the law allows. Although there is much overlap, employment laws allow for discrimination and retaliation damages than others.

The first category of damages is lost wages and benefits. Successful plaintiffs in employment cases can recover wages they would have earned up to the time of trial—called back pay. They can also seek future lost wages and benefits—called front pay.

Many employment discrimination laws also allow employees to recover for their emotional distress. Ohio law refers to these are “compensatory damages.” They are also sometimes called “pain and suffering” damages. How much an employee might recovery for emotional distress depends on amount of the harm and how long the employee has to endure it. Whether the employee required counseling or mental health treatment is often a factor in evaluating pain and suffering damages.

Is there a cap on pain and suffering damages in Ohio?

It’s critical to keep in mind that both Ohio and federal law put limits or “caps” on the amount of compensatory and punitive damages in discrimination and retaliation cases. Under federal employment laws, those damages are capped at different levels depending on the size of the employer. For very large employers the cap is $300,000. For employers with 15–100 employees that cap is only $50,000. Ohio’s cap on noneconomic damages are different. In Ohio, compensatory damages are limited to the greater of three times the employee’s economic loss or $250,000, up to a maximum of $350,000. O.R.C. § 2315.18(B)(2). Punitive damages are limited to two times the combined economic and compensatory damages. O.R.C. § 2315.21(D)(2)(a). For smaller employers, Ohio law further limits the amount of punitive damages an employee can recover.

Some employment claims don’t allow for emotional distress or punitive damages at all. For instance, the Family and Medical Leave Act doesn’t permit recovery of emotional distress or punitive damages. It does, however, allow employees to recovery what are called “liquidated damages” in some cases—basically, up to twice the amount of the lost wages and benefits.

Can you get attorneys fees in discrimination cases?

Lastly, but significantly, because victims of employment discrimination cannot usually afford to pay an attorney out of pocket, the law allows a successful plaintiff to recover attorneys’ fees and costs of suit.

Ohio discrimination and retaliation lawyers

Whether it’s racial discrimination, age discrimination, sexual harassment, or any other type of wrongful termination case in Ohio, settlement value will hinge on a wide range of factors.

If you have been discriminated against at work and have questions about discrimination and retaliation settlements in Ohio, now is the time for action. The discrimination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius have helped countless employees get a fair settlement in their discrimination and retaliation cases. We may be able to help you too.