May 24, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
Jury awards in employment practices liability (EPL) cases in the U.S. rose 18% last year, according to new research by Pennsylvania-based Jury Verdict Research. The study notes the median EPL award rose to US$250,000, including cases for discrimination and wrongful termination.
However, compensatory damages awards in discrimination cases alone actually fell last year, by just 2% to US$232,322.
Overall, EPL awards are on the rise over the past two years, and since 1997 have blossomed from US$133,691 to the US$250,000 mark. In 2001, the median award in such cases was just US$168,000, but this jumped in 2002 to US$212,500.
And while the median compensatory award for discrimination cases fell last year, the overall trend since 1997 is an increase from US$150,000 to 2002’s high point of US$236,500.
Juries gave the largest compensatory awards in cases of age discrimination, followed by discrimination against those with disabilities. Awards for discrimination based on sex and race were much lower, and below the median overall, in fact.
Among the other types of EPL cases studied are constructive discharge, hostile work environment, retaliation, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.