How Much Can I Receive In A Sexual Harassment Case?


There are several laws in place to protect workers from the inappropriate actions and mistreatment from their employers. Despite strict laws, sexual harassment continues to happen in the workplace. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and it can involve unsolicited sexual advances or favors, verbal conduct of the supervisor or coworkers, or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, there are laws in place to protect you and you can act by filing a claim against your employer. Through a sexual harassment claim, you can recover compensation for the damages that you suffered because of the harassment and law violations of your supervisor and your employer.

The amount of compensation that you can recover is dependent on the details surrounding your claim, the amount of pain and suffering that you suffered, and your total losses. An employment law attorney will be able to review the details, assess your situation, and determine the best way for you to proceed with your claim and the value of your settlement.

Back Pay

One kind of damages that you can receive is back pay. You can ask for back pay to cover any lost wages or lost expenses associated with the sexual harassment. As an example, if you were fired because of your failure to comply to your supervisor’s requests for sexual favors, or if you quit because you felt so uncomfortable and were tired of being harassed in the workplace, there are several aspects of lost earnings that you should consider. Here are some of the things that you may request to be compensated for:

  • Back pay to cover either all or part of your lost wages and salary
  • Lost pension or retirement benefits
  • Lost overtime, lost bonuses, lost raises, promotions, and lost higher payrates
  • Any lost wages or benefits directly related to the act of sexual harassment

Of course, the amount you recover is dependent on your wages, your job role or title, how long you missed out on your wages and benefits, and the overall extent of your damages. An employee who made $25 an hour will recover more than an employee who was earning minimum wage. The time that you were without work or lost wages will also come into calculation and affect the overall value of your claim.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are used as a way to punish the employer for harassing the employee and for their disregard of employment laws. Sometimes if the victim of sexual harassment hasn’t lost wages, he or she may be eligible for compensatory and punitive damages. While compensatory damages cover the actual damages that you suffered, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress, harm to your reputation, and any out-of-pocket costs that you experienced directly related to the sexual harassment such as job search costs, punitive damages are only awarded if the employer is aware of the harassment and didn’t take action to remedy the situation.

Usually, punitive damages are awarded if someone in upper management or the human resources department was aware of the sexual harassment and failed to act. Although they knew it was illegal sexual harassment according to laws, they failed to respond. There are federal laws in place limiting the amount you can receive in compensatory and punitive damages, and those amounts are dependent on the size of your employer. The most you can receive in a lawsuit depends on how many people are employed by your company. Here is a closer look at those limits:

  • Employers with 15 to 100 employees have a limit of $50,000
  • Employers with 101 to 200 employees have a limit of $100,000
  • Employers with 201 to 500 employees have a cap of $200,000
  • Employers with more than 500 employees have a $300,000 cap

These are federal limits, and many states have enacted their own laws. Some states may have higher limits, or no limits at all. If you file a state claim in one of those states, you may be able to recover higher limits.

How An Employment Lawyer Can Help

If you have been the victim of harassment in the workplace, you will need to enlist the help of an employment law attorney. An attorney will be familiar with state laws as well as federal laws and will know the best way to proceed with your claim. To get your claim underway, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.

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