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Civil Rights Legislation and the Equal Remedies Act No. 116

Adopted 1992
Reaffirmed 1994
Reaffirmed 1995
Reaffirmed 1996
Reaffirmed 1997
Reaffirmed 1999
Reaffirmed 2001
Amended 2003
Reaffirmed 2004
Amended 2006


Until 1991, victims of sex-based violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were not able to seek money damages for discrimination. The 1991 Civil Rights Act extended the damages remedy to sex-based discrimination plaintiffs for the first time. However, the CRA imposes severe limits on money damages.

The limits set by the CRA for combined punitive damages: emotional distress and future pecuniary loss are pegged to the size of the employer as follows:

Employers of 15 to 100 employees: $50,000

Employers of 100-200 employees: $100,000

Employers of 200 to 500 employees: $200,000

Employers of 500+ employees: $300,00.

About 97.5% of all employers and half of all working Americans are covered wither by the lowest cap ($50,000) or are not included under Title VII at all.

ADA strongly opposes limitations on what judges or juries may decide is a just remedy for a given victim of discrimination.

Therefore, ADA calls for a repeal of Title VII caps on damages.

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No. 116


Social and Domestic Policy Commission

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