Antidiscrimination Law - Punitive Damages in Germany and the European Union


Discrimination is an attack on human dignity and highly inefficient as well. The European Union anti-discrimination directives demand “effective, proportionate and dissuasive” protection against discrimination. Above and beyond full compensation for all losses, punitive damages are also necessary to ensure dissuasion. At the moment there is some reluctance to mete out punitive damages. For reasons unknown it seems perfectly normal for cartels to be ordered to pay hundreds of millions in punitive damages, or for tabloids to be ordered to pay huge sums of money to movie stars whose privacy was infringed, but for victims of discrimination in employment to be content with puny rather than punitive awards.

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