The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled recently that a jury improperly awarded a sex discrimination victim nearly half a million dollars in punitive damages in a lawsuit brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, because the perpetrator was not high enough up in the company to be said to have acted on the company’s behalf.

The ruling by the appeals court in EEOC v. Exel, rejecting the arguments of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), upheld a determination by the trial court judge that there was not enough evidence to justify a punitive damages award.

The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in Exel is instructive because it provides a good example of the facts and circumstances that courts typically will consider in deciding whether an award of punitive damages is appropriate in an intentional discrimination case.

A copy of the decision is available here.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.