The Ineffectiveness of Capped Damages in Cases of Employment Discrimination: Solutions toward Deterrence


Although the Civil Rights Act of 1991 helped victims of employment discrimination in a variety of ways, including the authorization of jury trials and the accompanying possibility of compensatory and punitive damages, the caps Congress placed on damages do not serve the purpose of deterrence. Because the caps are based on the number of employees a defendant employer has, the goal of protecting small businesses from exorbitant damages is accomplished. However, because the top category of the caps is “500 or more” employees, giant corporations escape meaningful awards. This article identifies the problem citing specific examples, and proposes several solutions that would render punitive damages more effective as to large employers.


Business Organizations Law | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Labor and Employment Law | Law | Legal Remedies | Legislation

Date of this Version

April 2006