Recent polling conducted by the National Women’s Law Center and the National Employment Lawyers Association with Morning Consult in March 2024 shows that voters overwhelmingly support holding employers who discriminate against employees fully accountable for the harm they cause.

Federal workplace anti-discrimination law is intended to deter discrimination and restore the victim to the position they would have been in had they not experienced the discrimination. Once a jury finds that an employer has discriminated against an employee, it can order the employer to provide compensatory damages to pay for emotional harm the employee suffered, as well as expenses the employee incurred because of the discrimination, including the cost of finding a new job or medical expenses. A jury may also award an employee additional punitive damages to punish an employer for particularly egregious or malicious discriminatory behavior and to deter the employer and others from repeating that behavior.

Under current federal law, however, the amount of money damages that can be awarded to an employee who has suffered harm because of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or sex is limited based on the size of the employer. These limits apply no matter how severe the discrimination is.