Anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace has the right to pursue legal action to recover damages. These damages are intended to compensate the victim for the harm suffered and to penalize the wrongdoer, and your Jackson County, Missouri sexual harassment lawyer can help you understand what damages you’re entitled to in your case. Keep reading for some of the damages you could potentially recover.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are designed to make the victim “whole” again, to the extent that this is possible. These damages cover a wide range of losses directly resulting from the sexual harassment.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible losses that can be quantified in monetary terms. These include lost wages, which are compensation for the income lost due to the harassment. This could be due to being forced to leave a job, being demoted, or missing work due to stress or trauma caused by the harassment.

These damages also include medical damages, which are costs incurred for medical treatment resulting from the harassment, which are often for mental health services such as therapy or counseling, though any medical costs you have which you can show resulted from the harassment should be covered.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages cover losses that are more subjective and not easily quantifiable. These include, for instance, emotional distress, which is compensation for the psychological impact of the harassment, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. Loss of enjoyment of life are damages for the decrease in the quality of life experienced as a result of the harassment. You may also be able to seek damages for reputational damage caused by the harassment.

Sexual harassment can strain personal relationships, and damages may be sought to compensate for this aspect of a victim’s life at times. The disruption to family life, friendships, and social interactions is a critical component of the overall impact of the harassment, and a skilled lawyer will ensure this aspect of your suffering is not overlooked.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded not to compensate the victim but to punish the perpetrator and deter similar conduct in the future. Under Missouri law, these damages are available in cases where the harassment was particularly egregious or where the perpetrator acted with malice or reckless indifference to the rights of others.

These are fairly rare, so you should always talk to a Jackson County, Missouri sexual harassment lawyer about whether there’s any chance they might apply in your case. To award punitive damages, a court must find clear and convincing evidence that the perpetrator acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the rights and safety of the victim. The amount awarded is often based on the severity of the misconduct and the perpetrator’s financial status.

Attorneys’ Fees and Legal Costs

In some sexual harassment cases, victims may also recover attorneys’ fees and other legal costs. This provision helps to ensure that victims have access to legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. The more egregious the harassment and the less cooperative the guilty party, the more likely a court will be to require them to pay the fees and costs incurred by the victim.


In addition to monetary compensation, victims of sexual harassment in Missouri may seek restitution, which involves restoring their position to what it would have been if the harassment had not occurred. This can include:


If the victim was demoted, transferred, or wrongfully terminated, they might seek reinstatement to their former position or an equivalent role.

Corrective Actions in the Workplace

Courts may order the employer to take specific actions to prevent future harassment, such as implementing training programs or establishing more effective reporting and response procedures.

Future Earnings and Opportunities

Victims of sexual harassment may also be able to claim damages for the impact on their future earnings and career opportunities. This aspect of damages acknowledges the long-term effects that such experiences can have on a person’s professional trajectory. This projection considers the potential promotions, salary increases, and career advancements that the victim might reasonably have expected had the harassment not occurred.

Special Considerations

Missouri law and federal law have specific statutes and case law that govern the awarding of damages in sexual harassment cases. These laws shape how damages are calculated and what types of compensation are available to victims, and this is just one reason it is so important to work with an experienced local attorney familiar with all the federal statutes and the Missouri Department of Labor rules.

At the federal level, there are caps on how much compensation any single employer can be required to pay for a sexual harassment lawsuit, for instance. For employers with 15 to 100 employees, the limit is $50,000. For those with 101 to 200 workers, the maximum is $100,000. For employers that have 201 to 500 employees, the maximum is $200,000. For employers with more than 500 employees, $300,000 is the maximum. Missouri has its own laws, and you will need the help of a skilled lawyer to understand how all federal and state laws applied to your situation.

Expert Testimony in Establishing Damages

In sexual harassment cases, expert testimony can help to establish the extent and impact of damages, particularly for non-economic losses like emotional distress.

Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals can provide insights into the psychological effects of sexual harassment, helping to quantify the emotional damages that a victim has suffered. Their assessments and testimony can lend credence to claims for emotional distress, anxiety, and other psychological impacts and also help laypersons to understand mental health issues they might otherwise not take as seriously as they should.

Vocational Experts

Vocational experts may be called upon to assess the impact of harassment on a victim’s career trajectory. They can offer opinions on lost earning capacity, the likelihood of future employment in the same field, and whether there will be any need for retraining.

Employer Liability

Employers can be held liable for the harassment perpetrated by their employees, especially if they failed to take appropriate actions to prevent or address the harassment. However, there are situations where they may not be liable.

For example, if an employee is harassed by a customer or client, and the employer responded appropriately as soon as they were aware, they would not be liable. Likewise, if an employer did all due diligence in hiring and in creating a safe workplace, but somehow a harasser still manages to slip in and violates company policies (which can happen), then so long as the employer responded immediately to deal with the situation properly, they may not be liable for the incident.

Contact a Jackson County, Missouri Sexual Harassment Lawyer for Help

Recovering damages in a sexual harassment case requires a good understanding of the types of compensation available, how to calculate and prove them, and all the legal processes involved in protecting the rights of a victim. The laws can be complicated, and the path forward may seem too difficult to walk: but remember that you do not have to walk it alone. If you’ve been harassed, the law is on your side. Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC right away for a free consultation on your case.