Disability Discrimination Settlement Amounts: Understanding Compensation Trends

Learn about disability discrimination settlement amounts, factors influencing these settlements, and how Waltman Employment Law can help you navigate your case.

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How much can someone expect from a disability discrimination settlement? Depending on the specifics of the case and the evidence presented, settlements can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than one million

Picture this: an employee denied reasonable accommodation or even terminated due to a disability, standing up for their rights and seeking justice. 

This scenario is all too common, yet many are unaware of the financial implications.

Did you know that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recorded a significant number of disability claims last year? According to their 2023 Annual Report, “the EEOC resolved 14 systemic cases, obtaining just over $11.7 million for 806 victims of systemic discrimination and significant equitable relief.” With settlements sometimes reaching such heavy sums, the stakes are high. 

So, how does one navigate these complexities? 

Having a seasoned attorney with knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can make a crucial difference in the outcome of these negotiations.

Our goal at Waltman Employment Law is to illuminate these settlement amounts and guide you through the critical factors that influence them. From the role of the ADA to the strategies used in securing fair compensation, exploring these elements can provide you with the clarity needed in such challenging times.

Schedule a free consultation today, and let us help you navigate these troubling times. 

Understanding Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified applicant or employee unfavorably because they have a disability. This discrimination may involve different aspects of employment, such as hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, training, and benefits. Moreover, according to the EEOC, “The disability laws forbid discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.” 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important law that protects individuals with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, including modifications or adjustments to the job or work environment.

Other important laws for people with disabilities include the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act. These laws ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights in various settings, including housing and employment.

If an employee faces disability discrimination, legal help can be crucial. Seeking advice from professionals, such as discrimination lawyers, can help navigate the complexities of these cases. They can assist in understanding rights and potential compensation.

For example, employers should avoid asking prohibited disability-related questions during the hiring process and should not refuse to hire qualified applicants based on stereotypes or misconceptions about disabilities. Compliance with the law helps avoid legal consequences and promotes a fair and inclusive workplace.

What Are Disability Discrimination Settlements?

Disability discrimination settlements are agreements made to resolve discrimination claims without a court trial. When an employee with a disability faces unfair treatment at work, they can file a complaint. Settlements help both parties avoid lengthy litigation.

These settlements usually involve a monetary payment to the employee harmed by discrimination. They aim to compensate for lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages. For example, in 2023, the PNM reached a $750,000 settlement in an ADA disability case.

Settlements can also include other terms. For example, they may require employers to implement policy changes or training programs to prevent future discrimination. 

The goal is to ensure a more inclusive workplace.

As noted above, common settlement amounts in disability discrimination cases can vary widely. They depend on factors like the severity of the discrimination and its impact on the employee’s life. Settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars.

Factors influencing settlement amounts include:

  • Severity of discrimination: How serious the discriminatory actions were.
  • Impact on the employee: How much the discrimination affected the employee’s mental and financial well-being.
  • Duration of the discrimination: How long did the discriminatory behavior last?
  • Employer’s ability to pay: Financial capacity of the employer to settle the claim.

Settlements aim to provide a fair resolution for the employee by addressing these factors. They also hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices.

Factors Influencing Settlement Amounts

Severity of Discrimination

The severity and duration of discrimination significantly influence settlement amounts. More severe cases, especially those lasting over a prolonged period, typically receive higher settlements. For instance, cases with blatant and continuous discrimination might result in significant awards, such as the EEOC disability case against Werner Trucking, which resulted in a $36 million award.

Economic Losses and Emotional Distress

Economic losses are a major factor. These can include lost wages, medical expenses, and other financial burdens caused by the discrimination. Calculating these losses can be straightforward, based on actual financial records and projections.

Emotional Distress

Psychological harm and emotional pain caused by discrimination can significantly increase settlement amounts. Claims of emotional distress often need to be supported by evidence like medical reports and professional testimony. For example, in February of 2024, a distribution company from Syracuse refused to interview and hire a qualified deaf applicant, and a jury awarded a total of $1.675 Million in an EEOC disability discrimination case, which included ​​$150,000 for “emotional distress damages.” 

Employer’s Conduct

The employer’s actions can also impact the settlement. If the employer retaliates against the employee or fails to provide reasonable accommodation, it can lead to higher settlements. Demonstrating the employer’s lack of response or attempts to mitigate the situation can be pivotal in these cases.

Legal Representation

Having skilled legal representation is crucial. Experienced attorneys can often secure higher settlements due to their experience in negotiating and presenting cases effectively. Success in past cases, like the Amtrak disability settlement from 2022, demonstrates how quality legal aid can make a significant difference.

Process of Reaching a Settlement

Filing a Claim

First, individuals need to file a disability discrimination claim with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is essential for people to follow all procedural requirements and be aware of the time limits for filing a claim. These steps are crucial in ensuring your case is accepted and processed correctly.

Investigation and Mediation

Once the claim is filed, the EEOC begins an investigation. This process helps gather relevant evidence and facts about your case. During the investigation, the commission might offer mediation as an option. Mediation is a voluntary and informal way to resolve disputes to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages mediation to settle complaints. You can find more information about this resource on the EEOC’s website under “Questions and answers about mediation.” 

Negotiation and Finalization

If mediation is successful or if people decide to proceed to negotiation, they enter the settlement negotiations. These discussions focus on resolving our claims and agreeing on settlement terms. The finalization of a settlement involves documenting all agreed terms, including any monetary compensation, and ensuring everything is in the public court record, as stated by the EEOC’s standards. Once all parties sign the agreement, the case is officially settled.

Are You Experiencing Disability Discrimination? Schedule a Free Consultation with Us Today

If you think you’re facing discrimination, it’s important to take action. We believe that if you’re facing disability discrimination at work, it’s in your best interest to document incidents, keep records of communications, and Save copies of any relevant emails or messages. These steps can help you build a strong case.

At Waltman Employment Law, we have experience handling disability discrimination cases and are committed to fighting for your rights. We understand the challenges you might face and are here to support you. Additionally, we offer a free consultation to discuss your situation, which will help us understand your case and provide you with tailored legal advice.

Don’t wait to protect your rights. Addressing workplace discrimination quickly can make a significant difference. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Reach out to us now and take the first step towards justice.