After filing a harassment lawsuit, your potential settlement will depend on the unique set of circumstances surrounding your case and the extent and severity of the harassment you endured. There are many factors that need to be measured to get the final value.
Thus, the average settlement for sexual harassment lawsuits in New York will vary significantly from plaintiff to plaintiff. Our personal injury lawyers can help you determine the value of your harassment lawsuit based on their calculation of your damages.
Harassment Is Never Acceptable
If you are being harassed at work, you might have the basis of a lawsuit against the at-fault party or your employer. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment includes any form of unwelcome attention based on:
- National origin
You deserve to go to work every day in a safe environment. However, if harassment of any kind is making your workplace uncomfortable or intolerable, you have the right to file a complaint and potentially pursue compensation.
Understanding the Three Types of Harassment
There are three types of harassment: verbal, physical, and visual. It doesn’t matter how harassment takes place. If it affects you in any way, know that state, federal, and local laws all protect you and help you get justice.
The type of harassment can influence the amount you can get from your harassment lawsuit, so let’s look at some examples of harassing behavior in the three types.
This is the most common variety of harassment, and one that’s multiplied by technology. One nasty text message or rude email can spread quickly through a company. Having embarrassing or offensive things spread about you that way could increase your settlement because of the extent of the exposure.
A physical gesture doesn’t have to touch you to count as harassment. Someone making a lewd gesture or face can qualify as an incident, even if it isn’t directed at you. As long as it’s in the open and you see it, it could count. Unwanted touches or following too closely fall into this category as well. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, it could qualify.
This is the most subjective of the three categories. Let’s say someone posts a comic strip in their cubicle. They might find it funny, but you might find it offensive. It could qualify. Showing anything vulgar, pornographic, or violent in the workplace could create a hostile work environment and qualify for compensation.
When Harassment Breaks the Law
People who work together on a daily basis often joke around. They might even prank each other. These actions do not constitute harassment. Harassment becomes problematic, breaks the law, and positions you to file a lawsuit when:
- Your employment is conditioned on tolerating the harassment
- The harassment is severe and frequent enough to make your workplace intolerable
- A reasonable person would consider the harassment intimidating, antagonistic, and unwelcome
No one has to live with being harassed at work. However, if the harassment caused you to file a lawsuit, or you got retaliated against for filing a harassment complaint, a lawyer may be able to help you fight against your harasser on your behalf. You can review the situation at your job with a lawyer near you today.
Define the Severity of the Harassment You Endured
Harassment at or outside of work can be a frightening experience. New York laws define harassment in the following categories:
- New York Penal Law (PEN) §240.25, or harassment in the first degree: This includes stalking someone or repeatedly intimidating them.
- PEN §240.26, or harassment in the second degree: This includes striking or threatening someone, following them, or repeatedly and intentionally annoying them.
- PEN §240.30, or aggravated harassment in the second degree: This includes unwanted communication, anonymous communication, annoying someone, or striking someone.
- PEN §240.31, or aggravated harassment in the first degree: This includes premises damages, unwanted communication, pointless communication, physical assault.
Your lawyer can help you define the depth and severity of your harassment. After proving the cause of your harassment, your lawyer might also be able to help you assign a monetary value to your harassment lawsuit.
What Exactly Is the Average Settlement Amount for Harassment Lawsuits?
On average, harassment lawsuits can settle for around $50,000. Remember, every harassment case is different. Yours could end up with a lot more depending on how severe your case is and how extensive your damages are. If you want an accurate estimation of how much your harassment case is worth, get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Your Lawyer Can Negotiate a Favorable Settlement
If you are the victim of harassment, you might consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your damages and losses. Your lawyer may help you prove how the harassment happened and identify the right place to assign financial liability. However, you might not have to go to court if the opposing party decides to quietly settle your case outside of the courtroom.
A financial settlement is a final and permanent resolution to your case, which means understanding the value of your case is essential. Speak to your legal team about the value of your lawsuit and how a settlement offer might get negotiated, received, and distributed.
You do not have to accept harassment without fighting back. Your lawyer will fight hard for the compensation you might be entitled to receive while also preparing your lawsuit in time to meet the statute of limitations. If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer may take your case to court to continue your pursuit of compensation.
How to Calculate Your Sexual Harassment Settlements
Compensation for sexual harassment claims in the workplace can be difficult to calculate because there’s likely little evidence to prove that you suffered losses. Your lawyer will look at various potential damages when calculating your losses. These damages may include:
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
You and your lawyer may review your recoverable damages as you build your case. Assessing your financial expenses and losses can help your lawyer assign a financial value to your harassment lawsuit and ensure your case is not undervalued or underpaid.
Back pay consists of the wages you would have received from the time you were denied a promotion or raise or were fired as a result of harassment until the case gets settled. Back pay may include the following losses:
- Wages, including raises you would have received
- Sick and vacation pay
- Retirement or pension
- Stock options
- Commissions and bonuses
- Value of insurance benefits
The law typically limits back pay to two years from the lawsuit filing date. Your sexual harassment lawyer can inform you of any extension on this deadline. If you find a new job, your back pay will get reduced by your new salary amount.
Front pay is designed to compensate you for wage loss you’re likely to incur from the date of your settlement or award into the future. The date when front pay will end is determined by how long you would have probably stayed at the job had you not been sexually harassed and how long it’ll take you to get a new job.
Compensatory and Punitive Damages
Even if you haven’t suffered any wage loss, you may still be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, reputation damage, and any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the harassment.
In addition, punitive damages may also be awarded if your employer (supervisor, human resources, upper management) knew about the harassment and did nothing to stop it.
Compensation Limit for Sexual Harassment Settlements
According to federal law, there is a limit on damages for unlawful workplace harassment claims set at $300,000. This includes back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
State limits may vary, so your personal injury attorney can inform you of any additional caps in your case. If you win your case, you can also have your legal fees covered by the other party, including your lawyer’s fees, filing fees, and court fees. Your sexual harassment lawyer will provide the court with a statement of all fees to ensure they are reasonable.
Federal law caps the amount of money that can get awarded for punitive and compensatory damages based on how many employees the company has:
- $50,000 for employers with 15-100 employees
- $100,000 for employers with 101-200 employees
- $200,000 for employers with 201-500 employees
- $300,000 for employers with 500+ employees
It is possible your state may have a different limit on your compensatory and punitive damages. Again, hiring an attorney can help you determine how much compensation to demand and which laws apply to your situation.
What Is the Lawyer’s Share in Harassment Cases?
In harassment cases, the common method of paying for your case is through contingency fees. This means that they can only get paid if you win your case. If your case fails, they get nothing. Contingency fees allow anyone to approach a harassment lawyer for a consultation without fear of running out of money.
During the consultation, the lawyer will assess your case and your chances of success. That will help them determine the fee. It is usually a percentage of the final judgment or settlement. That allows both the client and the lawyer to get money even if the amount is less than desired.
Statute of Limitations for Harassment Lawsuits
Harassment lawsuits have a general statute of limitations of three years in New York. So, the chances of winning the maximum amount of compensation diminish as you get closer and closer to the expiration date.
Remember, your goal is to fight against the insurance companies and your employer. Sitting on your hands and letting time go by won’t help you. Instead, you run the significant risk of losing a large portion of your settlement. Don’t let evidence deteriorate. Act now while you still can.
Let Morelli Law Firm Calculate the Value of Your Harassment Lawsuit
Find out what an average settlement for a harassment lawsuit is and what your potential financial recovery might be by calling our law firm. Our results reveal a record of winning large compensatory packages for clients, and we can do the same for you. Contact the client intake team at Morelli Law Firm for your free consultation today.