Our employment discrimination attorneys are often faced with employers that believe that their worst exposure for age discrimination cases is the back wages and then only the back wages for the reasonable amount of time. Wrong. First, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), if a plaintiff proves that the employer’s age discrimination violation was “willful,” which under the ADEA means that the employer knew or showed reckless disregard for whether its conduct was unlawful, that employee may recover liquidated damages equal to a doubling of his damage award. The employee need not prove a specific intent to violate the ADEA to recover liquidated damages. But, there’s more.
Here is the example: David Nelson, 55, was a district manager for Radio Shack, where had been employed for more than 25 years and appears to have been making about $40,000 per year. Within four months of RadioShack assigning a new, 43-year-old regional manager to supervise Nelson in the fall of 2007, he received his first to performance improvement plans. From there, Nelson complained to HR. Then within five days of his first complaint – and with time still remaining on the performance improvement plan – Radio Shack fired Nelson. In September 2012, the case went to the jury, who sided with Nelson and awarded $187,000 in back wages.
But, the damages did not stop there. Because the jury found the conduct willful, several more damages were left for the judge to determine.
On February 27, 2013, Federal Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock held an evidentiary hearing and then ruled that Nelson was entitled to liquidated damages of $187,706, front pay damages of $199,470, and an additional $101,657 to offset the increased tax burden. In total, the judgment is for $674,938.
So, there you have it. Damages can rack up really quickly against an employer.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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