Labor & Employment Law Primer: Title VII of The 1964 Civil Rights Act

2011-05-28 002Title VII of The 1964 Civil Rights Act

Question:  What it Does Title VII Do?

Answer:  Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

An Employer under Title VII is:

  • a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce
  • employs fifteen (15) or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person

Question:  What damages are available under Title VII


Back Pay– Lost wages

Front Pay– Future wage losses

Compensatory Damages  – pay the victimized employee’s for out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discrimination (such as costs associated with a job search or medical expenses) and compensate them for any emotional harm suffered (such as mental anguish, inconvenience, or loss of enjoyment of life).

Punitive damages -may be awarded to punish an employer who has committed an especially malicious or reckless act of discrimination.

Limits – Under Title VII  limits compensatory and punitive damage awards based on the number of employees the employer had during the “current or preceding calendar year.” The maximum total amount of compensatory and punitive damages that may be awarded to the plaintiff are dependent upon the number of employees as shown below.

Number of Employees Damage Cap
015-100 employees $ 050,000
101-200 employees $ 100,000
201-500 employees $ 200,000
500 plus employees $ 300,000

Federal cases have interpreted “current or preceding calendar year” as meaning the year in which the discriminatory acts took place.