South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Retaliation Cases under ADA Have No Right to Jury Trial or Compensatory or Punitive Damages
Description Appeals court upheld the decision of a trial court that a suit for retaliation under the ADA does not have a statutory basis to request compensatory or punitive damages, only remedies in equity. Hence, there is no right to a jury trial.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Disability; Retaliation; Damages
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Kramer worked for BOA for four years. During her last year, she was under the direction of a new supervisor who was critical of her work. The supervisor removed Kramer from any managerial duties, but her salary did not change. Kramer’s attorney sent a letter demanding that Kramer be reinstated to the managerial position and informed BOA that Kramer had multiple sclerosis. This was the first time BOA was notified of the disease. When her status was not changed, Kramer sued BOA for disability discrimination and retaliation, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Soon after, Kramer was fired. The trial court held that only the retaliation claim could proceed, but since compensatory and punitive damages were not available as a remedy, there was no right to a jury trial. After a bench trial on the retaliation claim, the court found for BOA. Kramer appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The ADA, via the remedies allowed under the 1991 Civil Rights Act, does not provide for compensatory or punitive damages for a retaliation claim. Such damages are allowed in certain ADA cases, but not ones based on a claim of retaliation. Since the relief that would be available in a retaliation case is equitable in nature, such as reinstatement or back pay, there is no right to a jury trial.

Citation Kramer v. Banc of America Securities, LLC, --- F.3d --- (2004 WL 77917, 7th Cir., 2004)

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