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What Types of Damages are Available in Illinois Civil Rights Lawsuits?

You might wonder whether it is worth it to file a civil rights lawsuit if an employer or someone working for the government violated your civil rights. Will they merely get a reprimand, or will the court make it financially worth your while to hire a lawyer to take action on your behalf? If you win your case, what types of damages are available in Illinois civil rights lawsuits?

Civil rights cases are sophisticated litigation, so you will want to talk to a Chicago civil rights attorney about your case.

Damages in Civil Rights Cases for Employment Discrimination

If your boss or a government employee engages in illegal discrimination against you, winning your civil rights case could result in damages like these:

  • Lost income and benefits, both past and future.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Attorney fees and litigation expenses.

The actual damages you could recover will depend on the specific facts of your situation.

Employment discrimination in violation of your civil rights can include your employer taking an adverse employment action against an employee based on their gender, sexual orientation, gender-related identity, physical or mental disability, and military status. Other protected classes under the Illinois Human Rights Act include race, color, ancestry, national origin, pregnancy, order of protection status, citizenship status, age, or religion.

Adverse employment actions can include the following:

  • Firing, demoting, or refusing to hire based on illegal discrimination
  • Failing to promote
  • Cutting an employee’s pay or benefits
  • Having unequal terms or conditions of employment applied in a discriminatory manner
  • Unequal pay or benefits
  • Retaliation 
  • Workplace harassment

These cases can be challenging to win because the employer has much of the evidence in their possession and can destroy the papers you need for your case. 

Damages in Police Misconduct Civil Rights Actions

There have been multi-million-dollar verdicts against and settlements with cities that employ police officers found guilty of violating the civil rights of people when carrying out their official duties. You will want to work with a lawyer on your civil rights claim because you can count on the defendants to have a team of lawyers working for them.

Juries used to give the police the benefit of the doubt, but with notorious police misconduct cases, body cameras, and ordinary citizens capturing cell phone footage of these events, the tide is turning. When police misconduct leaves people dead or with life-changing injuries, a civil rights lawsuit can bring justice to the victims, even though money cannot heal all wounds.

Some of the circumstances that can be a violation of a person’s civil rights by the police include:

  • Using excessive force
  • Police chases that violate department protocols
  • Unjustified police shooting
  • Unreasonable searches and seizures
  • False testimony or planted or fabricated evidence that leads to a conviction
  • Injury or death from a Taser
  • False arrest

Any action against the government can require a different process than a case against an ordinary individual. Some cases alleging discrimination by an employer or the government can require the plaintiff to go through administrative procedures before filing a lawsuit, and the administrative steps have very short deadlines. You will want to talk to a Chicago civil rights attorney right away to protect your right to compensation for your losses. For help with your case contact our office today, we gladly offer a free consultation.