Some California employees who are involved in a dispute with their employer over workplace discrimination might have heard of back pay damages. Back pay damages are the amount an employer may be required to pay to cover an employee’s economic losses. This may include both income and fringe benefits. Back pay damages may be awarded in several types of successful discrimination suits.

For example, a person might allege denial of a promotion based on discrimination, and a lawsuit might be successful. The plaintiff would then receive the difference in pay between the two positions. This could include bonuses and stock options in addition to salary.

If the workplace discrimination case involves a termination, the back pay would cover what the person would have earned. A hiring discrimination case would pay what the person would have made if given the job. These amounts may also include pension payments, health care costs and vacation leave.

A person who is concerned about potentially discriminatery practices during hiring, promotion or any other stage of employment or job seeking might want to talk to an attorney. For a lawsuit to be successful, it is necessary for a person to belong to a protected class and to demonstrate that the employer’s actions were discriminatery and not due to an issue such as the employee’s performance. California offers additional protections to employees in addition to the federal protections based on age, race, religion, gender, national origin and disability, among others. People might want to document incidents of discrimination and try to first discuss the issue with a supervisor or someone in the human resources department. Legal action may be the next step if this is unsuccessful.