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Supreme Court Finds Front Pay Awards Not Subject to Damages Caps

The United States Supreme Court finds front pay awards in cases brought under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are not subject to caps on compensatory damages imposed by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 amendment. Pollard v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 121 S.Ct. 1946 (2001). In the Pollard case, the Supreme Court reversed a court of appeals ruling that limited the plaintiff’s front pay damages to $300,000. Front pay is money awarded for lost compensation during the period between a judgment and reinstatement or in lieu of reinstatement where reinstatement is not an option, e.g., because of continuing hostility between the plaintiff and the employer or its workers. The 1991 amendment put a statutory cap on compensatory damages, based on the number of people working for the employer. The Court found this remedy previously authorized under the Section 706 of the 1964 Act, and therefore not an element of compensatory damages under the 1991 Amendment.