March 21st, 2016
There are many statutory and common law limitations on the recovery of damages in employment cases. For example, the only damages recoverable under the FMLA and EPA, in addition to economic damages, are liquidated damages and attorney fees. Under Title VII, the amount of compensatory damages that can be recovered depends on the size of the employer: (1) $50,000 for employers of 15 to 100 employees; (2) $100,000 for employers of 101 to 200 employees; (3) $200,000 for employers of 201 to 500 employees; and (4) $300,000 for employers with 501 or more employees. 42 U.S.C. § 1981a (b)(3). The cap on damages recoverable under Title VII does not apply to an award of front pay, which is not compensatory damages.
Under Ohio law, while there is no limitation on the amount of actual lost wages that can be awarded (subject to the duty to mitigate damages and collateral source rules), an award of compensatory (non-economic) damages is limited to the greater of three times the amount of lost wages or $250,000. R.C. § 2315.18. The amount of punitive damages that can be awarded under Ohio law is not more than two times the amount of compensatory damages awarded for large employers, and for small employers (less than one hundred employees), two times the amount of compensatory damages, not to exceed 10% of the employers net worth or $350,000, whichever is less. R.C. § 2315.21. Damages for violation of R.C. § 4111.10 (Ohio minimum wage and overtime) are limited to the amount of unpaid wages and attorney fees.