Plaintiffs Cannot Recover Compensatory or Punative Damages for Federal Disability Retaliation Claims … at Least for Now

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an employer-friendly decision in Alvarado v. Cajun Operating Company. The appellate court ruled that, based upon the plain language of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), compensatory (i.e., emotional distress) and punitive damages are not available to plaintiffs claiming retaliation under the ADA. Instead, only so-called "equitable remedies," such as reinstatement, back pay or front pay, are available to persons claiming retaliation under the ADA. Because remedies for retaliation under the ADA are strictly equitable in nature, the Ninth Circuit also ruled that plaintiffs making such claims are not entitled to a trial by jury.

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