Blog Post

Damages in an employment case

Punitive damages are available when an employer retaliates against an employee who files an internal complaint of discrimination or illegal harassment.

Employees who raise internal complaints about illegal discrimination or harassment are engaging in legally protected activity.  Even when the employer’s investigation concludes there is no basis for the claim, it is still unlawful for the retaliate against the employee.  The employer has a duty to remove all bias and emotion from the investigation.  This may necessitate retaining a neutral third party to conduct the investigation.

Punitive damages can be awarded on not just the illegal discrimination or harassment, but because of the employer’s flawed, biased investigation.  Employers should not prejudge an investigation, use biased parties as investigators, refuse to interview witnesses, or decline to consider evidence that is offered.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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