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How Much Can You Sue for Sexual Harassment?

Learning how to file sexual harassment lawsuit claims often appears complex, with different federal and state laws, statutes of limitations, complaint submission processes, and potential caps on how much you can sue for in a sexual harassment case.  Across the US, the average settlement achieved for a sexual harassment lawsuit is $53,000.


The first step is to consult your selected sexual harassment legal representation. Our accomplished team includes experts in sexual harassment claims who can provide clear, straightforward advice to ensure you understand all the options.


Any victim of workplace sexual harassment may be entitled to compensation for lost and future earnings and damages to assist with the recovery process and stress, anxiety, and harm sexual harassment or discrimination causes.


What Is the Average Settlement Value for a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim?


As mentioned, the average settlement for a sexual harassment lawsuit is $53,000; although claims that are escalated to court via an attorney accomplish a far greater average settlement value of $217,000.


In many cases, a lawyer will determine that the claimant has settled for a far lower compensation claim than they should have been awarded and has inadvertently selected the out-of-court route, assuming the settlement offered is fair and proportional. Some sexual harassment victims, of course, find the prospect of attending a court hearing difficult, making strong legal representation essential and ensuring that the full extent of the damage caused is realized.


Claims linked to Quid Pro Quo harassment, where a person in a position of authority or control over the victim harasses or discriminates against them, often command higher settlement awards due to the nature of the harassment.


What Factors Impact the Damages Claimable Via a Sexual Harassment Case?


Every case is different, and your attorney should work closely with you to define your expectations and the extent of losses suffered, both emotionally and financially.


As we’ve indicated, Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment cases and also those brought by multiple plaintiffs tend to achieve higher settlement claims, primarily because collective action can reassure harassment victims, and the weight of numerous harassment claims is more significant.


However, that does not necessarily mean an individual claimant cannot secure a maximum settlement. By lodging a formal complaint with the relative body, often the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you formalize your right to sue while the authority may choose to commence its own investigation.


Calculating the Value of a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit


Claimants are always advised to consult an experienced attorney to avoid missing elements from their claim calculations. For example, many sexual harassment victims appreciate the need to claim lost earnings due to being fired or leaving an employment position–but may not recognize other losses.


Federal law places a maximum claim value for workplace harassment suits at $300,000, which can include the following:


  • Back and front pay
  • Compensation
  • Punitive damages
  • Legal fees for the claimant
  • Court and filing fees for the claimant


‘Back pay’ refers to wages and other employment-related benefits the harassment victim has lost due to being fired, denied a pay rise, or passed over for a promotion. Front pay provides compensation for wages lost in the future after having reached a settlement agreement. Federal law states that employees who have lost their jobs due to harassment are entitled to resume that position, but in many cases, returning to the workplace may not be practical or feasible.


Instead, front pay compensation claims calculate the amount of time you would have remained in the job should the harassment not have occurred or based on the time anticipated before you will be able to find a new position. 


Claiming Punitive Damages for Workplace Sexual Harassment


Irrespective of whether you have any quantifiable lost wages, a harassment lawsuit allows you to claim compensation for the emotional damage caused by mistreatment in the workplace, referred to as pain and suffering. Claimants may be entitled to compensation for reputational damage, the costs of medical treatments such as counseling, and expenses incurred when searching for another job.


In some cases, the court will award punitive damages designed as financial punishment against an employer who had been informed of harassment and either refused to act, failed to investigate, or did not respond appropriately.


The maximum reparations claimable may depend on the employer’s size based on the number of people within the workforce. However, with the lowest cap of $50,000 for businesses with fewer than one hundred employees and the higher limit set at $300,000 for employers with 500 or more staff members, harassment victims can often claim significant compensation.



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