A Uniform Standard for Exemplary Damages in Employment Discrimination Cases
67 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2014
Date Written: March 1999
This article re-asserts the desirability of the interpretation of the standard for liquidated damages under the ADEA as clarified by Hazen Paper and recommends that that interpretation be applied to the other anti-discrimination statutes, § 1981, the ADA, as well as Title VII. In effect, punitive damages should be presumptively appropriate in all cases in which the defendant has intentionally discriminated, absent a showing that the employer believed in good faith based on reasonable grounds that he was not violating the statutory rights of the plaintiff.
The article explains the four principal anti-discrimination laws and the theories of discrimination generally in Part II. Part III discusses the historical development of the standard for punitive damages under the 1991 Civil Rights Act and § 1981 and frames the problem by presenting recent cases under the 1991 Civil Rights Act and § 1981. Part IV elucidates the solution by discussing the relevant Supreme Court cases under the ADEA and the recent interpretation of those cases by the lower courts. Part V recommends that the Supreme Court adopt the same standard for punitive damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1991 as it adopted for willful violations under the ADEA. Part VI concludes.
Keywords: Exemplary Damages, Employment Discrimination, ADEA, Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1991
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