Employees victimized by illegal retaliation, harassment or other violations of the Civil Rights laws unrelated to compensation often do not have back pay claims. That could lead the victim to decide that fighting the matter is not worth the effort. But, as we have said before, “compensatory damages” can be awarded up to $300,000 on top of any back pay or even without a back pay order. We won’t cover all the grounds for claiming these damages. Even though we have touched on examples in other posts, any employee considering a claim for damages needs someone to thoroughly research all possibilities. Nonetheless, we believe it is worth passing along some of the more surprising precedents in any field of employment law because the memory just might ring a bell in someone’s future. This week’s EEOC releases contained a case where a woman claimed damages from her discriminatory treatment by management for the harm done her relationship with her daughter. We thought that was one of those cases unusual enough that it should be stored in a few memories around the blogosphere. The following is an excerpt from the decision that gave the employee $35,000 in damages.

EEOC wrote, “Here, the AJ found that Complainant was able to show that for a period of 14 months, she suffered stress, anxiety, fear of losing her job, became easily frustrated and angry, had trouble sleeping, and that the harassment negatively affected her relationship with her daughter. Despite Complainant’s contentions on appeal, we find that the AJ’s award of $35,000.00 in non-pecuniary, compensatory damages is appropriate. We find that this award is not “monstrously excessive” standing alone, is not the product of passion or prejudice, and is consistent with the amount awarded in similar cases. See Smith v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0720070031 (Dec. 7, 2009) ($30,000 in non-pecuniary damages where complainant suffered from emotional harm in the form of humiliation, harassment, sleeplessness, and feelings of uncertainty about her job and career, and a relapse of depression); Carlson v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 01A51437 (April 27, 2005) ($30,000 in non-pecuniary damages where complainant testified that he suffered depression, anger, alienation, humiliation, embarrassment, and loss of status); and Garrett v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 07A30024 (February 25, 2004) ($35,000 in non-pecuniary damages where complainant experienced emotional distress, depression, anger, embarrassment, humiliation, headaches, and sleep difficulties).” For more details, see Nannie D. v. Eric Fanning, Acting Secretary, Department of the Army, EEOC No. 0720150021 (4/2016)

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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