Litigating Damages in Discrimination and Retaliation Cases

June 2012

This CLE webinar provides guidance to employment litigators for defending against and mitigating damages awards in discrimination and retaliation lawsuits. The panel will discuss the recurring issues that arise in damages determinations in employment suits due to the weak labor market.

A weak labor market makes litigating damages in discrimination and retaliation cases far more challenging for employers' counsel. Juries may be more inclined to consider the lack of available jobs when deciding front pay awards—and to grant emotional distress or punitive damages.

Employment counsel defending discrimination and retaliation lawsuits must determine their client’s exposure, understand how to evaluate the evidence supporting a plaintiff’s damages claim, and develop specific and current strategies for mitigating, defending and settling damages awards.

Listen as our authoritative panel of employment litigators examines recurring damages issues in discrimination and retaliation lawsuits in a down labor market and provides strategies for defending against and mitigating damages awards.


  1. Recurring damages issues in the current labor market
    1. Sympathetic jury
    2. Calculating front pay awards
    3. Emotional distress damages
    4. Punitive damages
  2. Strategies to mitigate and defend against damages awards
    1. During litigation
    2. During settlement
    3. Benefits

The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How are judges and juries determining front pay awards in discrimination and retaliation cases in light of the economic downturn and weak labor market?
  • What evidence is critical to defend against claims of emotional distress and punitive damages?
  • What strategies have been most effective for employment counsel for mitigating damages issues during trial or settlement proceedings?

Joshua M. Davis, Director, Goulston & Storrs, Boston
He specializes in the area of labor and employment law and related litigation. He represents employers in a wide range of employment-related matters and provides counsel to companies in distress. His clients include financial services firms, law firms, pharmaceutical companies, media companies and non-profit entities.

Timothy R. Newton, Partner, Constangy Brooks & Smith, Atlanta
He represents employers in state and federal court litigation involving employment discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other state and federal laws. He also counsels and guides clients on resolving employee relations issues.

Ellen J. Zucker, Partner, Burns & Levinson, Boston
She has successfully litigated and resolved employment matters involving harassment, discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract for both companies and individuals. Her clients include executives and professionals, as well as construction workers, private businesses and public charities. She has been lead counsel for clients with disputes in several jurisdictions.