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Resolutions & Amendments

31st International Convention - San Diego, CA (1994)

Civil Rights Act Cap on Damages

Resolution No. 46
31st International Convention
June 27-July 1, 1994
San Diego, CA


            The Civil Rights Act of 1991, for the first time, allows women, people with disabilities and religious minorities to collect monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination; and


            The Civil Rights Act of 1991 places a cap on the amount of damages a victim of discrimination under these categories can receive while no such limit exists in cases of racial or national origin discrimination; and


            Both compensatory and punitive damages act as a deterrent to employment discrimination; and


            Capped damages allow employers to budget for damage awards in discrimination cases, making discrimination a predictable business expense; and


            It is a basic issue of fairness that women, people with disabilities and religious minorities receive equal protection under the law including access to the same remedies as other discrimination victims; and


            Uncapped damages do not cause an increase in litigation and unreasonably high jury verdicts. From 1980-1991 fewer than sixty cases a year were decided under the statute that provides for unlimited damages to victims of racial and national origin discrimination. Less than 12 percent of those cases resulted in damage awards and only three awards were more than $200,000.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:                                                                          

            That AFSCME commit itself to removing the cap on punitive and compensatory damages for intentional employment discrimination based on gender, disability, or religion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:                                                                              

            That AFSCME support the Equal Remedies Act and any other federal legislation which would remove the cap on punitive and compensatory damages for intentional employment discrimination under current civil rights laws.



Flora Walker, President and Delegate
Lawrence A. Roehrig, Secretary-Treasurer 
AFSCME Council 25