Twenty Years of Compromise: How the Caps on Damages in the Civil Rights Act of 1991 Codified Sex Discrimination

69 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014 Last revised: 28 Oct 2014

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This article takes a novel approach and reexamines the legislative history surrounding the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 with a central focus on exploring the issue of capped damages. Part I begins by briefly contrasting and summarizing the diverging remedies available under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1981 and Title VII. The article then shifts in Part II to an examination of the political climate and legislative history that forged the enactment of the 1991 Act, paying particular attention to the debate surrounding damages. This history reveals that many members of Congress had a discriminatory motive in capping damages for victims of sex discrimination under Title VII, and therefore, that these capped damages represent a codified version of injustice. Although prior scholarship documents the legislative history of the 1991 Civil Rights Act, it fails to adequately address the issue of capped damages. Thus, this legislative history is a substantial contribution to contemporary Title VII scholarship, as it provides necessary context for the current debate about whether to abolish the existing Title VII damage regime.

Keywords: Civil Rights Act of 1991, Title VII, Capped Damages

Suggested Citation

Zehrt, Lynn, Twenty Years of Compromise: How the Caps on Damages in the Civil Rights Act of 1991 Codified Sex Discrimination (2014). 25 Yale J.L. & Feminism 249 (2014); Belmont University College of Law Research Paper 2014-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2491724

Lynn Zehrt (Contact Author)

Belmont University - College of Law ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
United States

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