If your employer terminated you or took action against you for discriminatory reasons, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and loss of benefits, as well as compensatory damages. These compensatory damages may include damages for the mental anguish, loss of sleep, psychiatric conditions, harm to your reputation, and other forms of emotional distress you endured as a result of the discrimination.
Recovering emotional distress damages in an employment discrimination lawsuit can be challenging, as it requires you to prove that the discrimination was the cause of your distress. Testimony from your friends and family can provide insight into your everyday mental state, giving jurors an idea of how the discrimination affected the employee’s life. Journals, text messages, and other personal records can also give the jury a better understanding of how the discrimination affected the employee.
Expert and non-expert testimony can prove emotional distress
Testimony from medical professionals can serve as an expert-level analysis of the employee’s mental health and how the discrimination impacted the employee’s health. Medical records and medical testimony can be helpful to explain any mental health diagnoses (e.g. depression, anxiety) stemming from the discrimination and the treatment and medications that were prescribed to the employee to help them cope with their conditions.
How do juries determine emotional distress damages?
The amount of compensation awarded for emotional distress will vary on a case-by-case basis, but generally, employees who experienced more severe discrimination for extended periods of time and sought professional help for their distress will recover higher damages. However, state and federal laws can put a limit on how much you can receive. Also, if the employer can show they had legitimate reasons to take action against you, you may not recover damages, even if there was evidence of discrimination.
It can be difficult to recover damages for emotional distress in an employment discrimination lawsuit. An experienced employment law attorney can handle your case and give you the best chance to obtain the maximum recovery available.