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Pursuing accountability for discrimination at work

Despite the adoption of laws prohibiting employment discrimination, people in Florida continue to be mistreated, fired or denied work because of their protected characteristics. There are legal options that people can pursue if they are subject to discrimination at work, especially intentional discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion or genetic information. Sex discrimination can include not only traditional gender discrimination but also unjust treatment based on pregnancy, sexual orientation or gender identity. As a rule, legal remedies are designed to put the victim in a position as if the discrimination had not occurred.

For example, compensatory damages for discrimination are designed to make the victim whole. Someone who was fired or never hired for a job due to workplace discrimination may receive back pay, benefits and placement in the job. The employer may also be required to change its practices to prevent future incidents of discrimination. Compensatory damages can also include related expenses caused by the discriminatory practices, such as medical bills, job search expenses, attorney's fees and court costs. Compensation for emotional harm caused by employment discrimination is also included under this umbrella.

Punitive damages are also allowed in some employment discrimination cases, particularly when the employer's conduct was so severe or extreme that it appears highly malicious. These types of damages are intended to punish the employer rather than strictly compensating the victim for losses. However, there are restrictions on the amount in damages people can receive in discrimination cases, depending on the size of the company involved. Larger employers may be required to pay more in damages.

People who have been subjected to workplace discrimination may feel dejected or disempowered as a result. An employment law attorney might help workers to learn more about their rights and take legal action to pursue justice and accountability.

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