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What Damages Can I Recover In A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit In Texas?

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If a person experiences sexual harassment and can demonstrate that the sexual advances were unwanted, unjustified, and not consensual, the victim may have the opportunity to seek various forms of relief. One option is to file a personal injury lawsuit and request monetary compensation, which can cover expenses such as lost wages, medical costs, and other financial losses related to the harassment. Sexual harassment often leads to emotional distress, which the courts may compensate for by awarding damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury may consider additional evidence to determine the amount of compensation awarded for emotional distress.

If the defendant is found liable, the judge may also award punitive damages to the victim, which are designed to punish the defendant for their actions. The amount of punitive damages awarded will depend on the circumstances and the extent of the harm caused to the victim by the perpetrator, who may be a coworker, supervisor, or manager. To be eligible for punitive damages, the defendant’s behavior must be particularly egregious and malicious, potentially shocking the jury and prompting the judge to issue punitive damages to penalize the defendant for the significant harm caused to the victim. These damages are separate from normal compensation and can cover legal fees in addition to the sum awarded to the victim.

Factors To Consider Regarding Sexual Harassment Damage Calculations

Calculating damages in sexual harassment cases requires forensic experts to consider several factors and gather extensive data to arrive at an accurate valuation. These factors may include:

  1. Back pay
  2. Front pay
  3. Compensatory damages
  4. Punitive damages
  5. Legal expenses
  • Back Pay

Back pay refers to the compensation a victim of sexual harassment would have received from the date of the harassment until the final judgment, including wages, fringe benefits, additional compensation, and other economic losses. This type of restitution covers:

  • Lost wages
  • Earnings the victim would have received from deserved pay raises
  • Benefits like health and life insurance
  • Contributions towards retirement or pension plans
  • Vested interests such as stock options

To be eligible for back-pay awards, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they made a good faith effort to mitigate their financial losses by actively seeking employment between the time they filed the lawsuit and the final judgment. When the court awards back pay, it will typically equal the total lost wages minus the income earned from the victim’s new job.

For instance, in a hypothetical case, a janitor was awarded $19,086 in back pay, consisting of $17,430 in gross lost wages and $1,656 in retirement contributions.

  • Front Pay

Federal law allows a victim of sexual harassment to return to their former position, but this “reinstatement” is often not feasible, and the plaintiff may instead opt to pursue front-pay awards. Front pay is a compensation for the wages the victim is likely to lose from the date of the judgment into the future. Similar to back pay, the plaintiff must demonstrate a good-faith effort to mitigate damages. When determining the value of a front-pay award, the jury will take into account factors such as:

  • The victim’s age
  • The victim’s pre-incident earnings capacity
  • The fringe benefits offered by the victim’s previous employment
  • The duration of their previous position
  • The time it will take to find a similar job

For example, in a hypothetical case, a court awarded a janitor a front pay total of $53,805, consisting of $48,338 in future lost income and $5,467 in future loss of retirement contributions.

  • Compensatory Damages

In addition to back pay and front pay, a victim of sexual harassment may be eligible for compensatory awards to cover damages caused by the harassment, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, harm to reputation, medical bills, job search expenses, and other out-of-pocket costs.

For instance, in a hypothetical case, a janitor was awarded $84,160 in compensatory damages, consisting of $74,160 for emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and the humiliation and intimidation suffered, as well as $10,000 for future medical treatment related to anxiety and adjustment disorder resulting from the harassment.

  • Punitive Damages

In cases where the employer’s conduct is particularly egregious, such as exhibiting malice or reckless indifference towards the claimant’s rights, the court may award punitive damages to punish the employer. For instance, if the employer was aware of the harassment but failed to take corrective actions, they may be liable for punitive damages.

For example, in the hypothetical case of the janitor, since the employer took appropriate action upon learning about the harassment, no punitive damages were awarded.

  • Legal Fees

In the event that the claimant prevails, they may also be eligible to recover their legal costs from the defendant, which includes reasonable attorney fees, filing fees, and court fees.

For instance, in the hypothetical case of the janitor, the defendant was obligated to cover the janitor’s attorney fees, which amounted to $46,815, equivalent to 30% of the total settlement value of $156,051.

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Are There Limits For Damages Awarded To Sexual Harassment Victims?

The federal law places limits on the amount of damages a claimant can receive for pain and suffering and emotional distress, depending on the number of employees the employer has. The limitations are as follows:

  • If the employer has 15-100 employees, the limit is $50,000.
  • If the employer has 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000.
  • If the employer has 201-500 employees, the limit is $200,000.
  • If the employer has more than 500 employees, the limit is $300,000.

How Can A Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help Your Claim For Damages?

To clarify, sexual harassment is not solely about sexual desire, but rather it is about power and control. Harassers in the workplace use it to intimidate and control their victims. Therefore, it is important to have a skilled attorney who can demonstrate to your harasser that they cannot exercise this power over you.

A sexual harassment lawyer can help you develop your case and provide support throughout the legal process, giving you the confidence to fight for your rights. With their experience, they can help you identify the most appropriate remedies for your particular claim. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will stand with you in court to advocate for your rights and negotiate for the relief you deserve.

Contact Our Dedicated Sexual Harassment Attorneys For Your Free Consultation

At Sexual Harassment Lawyer Texas, we understand the distressing and overwhelming experience of dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace. That’s why we are committed to advocating for your rights and holding your harasser responsible for their actions.

We believe that everyone deserves access to justice, regardless of their financial resources. Therefore, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if we win your case. Our team will work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus on your recovery and moving forward.

We offer free consultations to discuss your case and provide answers to any questions you may have. Our experienced attorneys will lend an ear to your story, offer guidance and support, and explain your legal options. We want you to feel empowered and confident in your decision to pursue justice.

We are here to support you at every stage of the process. Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation, and let us help you take the first step towards healing and justice.

Sexual Harassment Lawyers of Texas

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Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls or communications. However, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until an attorney-client relationship has been established, which will be via a signed, written, retainer agreement. This website contains articles and commentary regarding certain jury verdicts. However, a jury verdict often does not reflect the actual amount that a plaintiff receives. Judges often reduce jury awards. Sometimes Judges add attorneys’ fees and other damages to awards. As a result, final awards or settlements, are often for different amounts than the amount awarded by the jury. Many of the jury awards discussed on the website, ended up being dramatically reduced. The depictions on the website that portray lawyers/clients are models and are not the actual lawyers/clients of the firm. The scenes depicted on this website are fictionalized.