Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) remedies and damages caps

Timing requirements for filing an ADA claim

As with a Title VII claim, in order to proceed on an ADA claim, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies by: (1) filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurred; or (2) in a case in which the unlawful practice occurred in a deferral state (i.e., a state in which the state FEP agency has work-sharing plan with the EEOC) within 300 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurred, or within 30 days after receipt by the individual of notice of termination of proceedings under State law, whichever is earlier.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act broadens the type of occurrences that are unlawful employment actions for purposes of triggering a pay discrimination claim and provides for an expanded filing time period.

In addition to exhausting your remedies in a timely fashion, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days after the EEOC gives notice of the right to sue. The court (and not the jury) must make determinations regarding equitable relief, including back pay.

What are the damages that are available to me if I succeed in my ADA claim?

The ADA generally adopts the remedies set forth in Title VII. Thus, the ADA provides that a prevailing plaintiff will normally be entitled to recover: (1) equitable (declaratory and injunctive) relief, including reinstatement, back pay (limited to two years), and front pay; (2) actual adamages, including standard tort damages; and (3) punitive damages.

However, where an employer’s discriminatory practice involves the failure to provide a reasonable accommodation, damages may not be awarded where the employer demonstrates good faith efforts, in consultation with the person with the disability who has informed the covered entity that accommodation is needed, to identify and make reasonable accommodation that would provide such an individual with an equally effective opportunity and would not cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business.