Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bill Proposes Elimination of Damages Caps

On the heels of the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Congress continues to try to tinker with the federal employment discrimination laws. Senator Edward Kennedy has introduced legislation that would eliminate the caps on the amount of non-economic compensatory damages and punitive damages plaintiffs can recover in employment discrimination cases under Title VII and the ADA -- the Equal Remedies Act of 2007. Senator Kennedy bases this legislation on the inequities in available damages between race and national origin discrimination and all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VII and the ADA (sex, religion, disability, etc.). Employees suing under Title VII or the ADA are capped in the amount of damages they can recover, while employees suing under 42 U.S.C. 1981, which only prohibits race and national origin discrimination, has no such limits. Of course, the Senator could just propose capping damages under Section 1981. As with most of the other pro-employee legislation currently pending in Congress, there is little chance of President Bush actually signing the Equal Remedies Act into law. January 2009, however, is not that far off.