H.P. 1213 - L.D. 1713
An Act Relating to Compensatory and Punitive Damages Under the Maine Human Rights Act
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §4613, sub-§2, ¶B, as amended by PL 1991, c. 474, §1 and affected by §3, is further amended to read:
B. If the court finds that unlawful discrimination occurred, its judgment must specify an appropriate remedy or remedies for that discrimination. The remedies may include, but are not limited to:
(1) An order to cease and desist from the unlawful practices specified in the order;
(2) An order to employ or reinstate a victim of unlawful employment discrimination, with or without back pay;
(3) An order to accept or reinstate such a person in a union;
(4) An order to rent or sell a specified housing accommodation, or one substantially identical to that accommodation if controlled by the respondent, to a victim of unlawful housing discrimination;
(5) An order requiring the disclosure of the locations and descriptions of all housing accommodations that the violator has the right to sell, rent, lease or manage; and forbidding the sale, rental or lease of
that those housing accommodations until the violator has given security to assure compliance with any order entered against the violator and with all provisions of this Act. An order may continue the court's jurisdiction until the violator has demonstrated compliance, and may defer decision on some or all relief until after a probationary period and a further hearing on the violator's conduct during that period;
(6) An order to pay the victim, in cases of unlawful price discrimination, 3 times the amount of any excessive price demanded and paid by reason of that unlawful discrimination;
(7) An order to pay to the victim of unlawful discrimination, other than employment discrimination in the case of a respondent who has more than 14 employees, or, if the commission brings action on behalf of the victim, an order to pay to the victim, the commission or both, civil penal damages not in excess of $10,000 in the case of the first order under this Act against the respondent, not in excess of $25,000 in the case of a 2nd order against the respondent arising under the same subchapter of this Act and not in excess of $50,000 in the case of a 3rd or subsequent order against the respondent arising under the same subchapter of this Act, except that the total amount of civil penal damages awarded in any action filed under this Act may not exceed the limits contained in this subparagraph;
(8) In cases of intentional employment discrimination, compensatory and punitive damages as provided in this subparagraph.
(a) In an action brought by a complaining party under section 4612 and this section against a respondent who engaged in unlawful intentional discrimination prohibited under sections 4571 to 4575, if the complaining party can not recover under 42 United States Code, Section 1981 (1994), the complaining party may recover compensatory and punitive damages as allowed in this subparagraph in addition to any relief authorized elsewhere in this subsection from the respondent.
(b) When a discriminatory practice involves the provision of a reasonable accommodation, damages may not be awarded under this subparagraph when the covered entity demonstrates good faith efforts, in consultation with the person with the disability who has informed the covered entity that accommodation is needed, to identify and make a reasonable accommodation that would provide that individual with an equally effective opportunity and would not cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business.
(c) A complaining party may recover punitive damages under this subparagraph against a respondent if the complaining party demonstrates that the respondent engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the rights of an aggrieved individual protected by this Act.
(d) Compensatory damages awarded under this subparagraph do not include back pay, interest on back pay or any other type of relief authorized elsewhere under this subsection.
(e) The sum of compensatory damages awarded under this subparagraph for future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, other nonpecuniary losses and the amount of punitive damages awarded under this section may not exceed for each complaining party:
(i) In the case of a respondent who has more than 14 and fewer than 101 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $50,000;
(ii) In the case of a respondent who has more than 100 and fewer than 201 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $100,000;
(iii) In the case of a respondent who has more than 200 and fewer than 501 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $200,000; and
(iv) In the case of a respondent who has more than 500 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $300,000.
(f) Nothing in this subparagraph may be construed to limit the scope of, or the relief available under, 42 United States Code, Section 1981 (1994).
(g) If a complaining party seeks compensatory or punitive damages under this subparagraph, any party may demand a trial by jury and the court may not inform the jury of the limitations described in division (e).
(h) This subparagraph does not apply to recoveries for a practice that is unlawful only because of its disparate impact.
(i) Punitive damages may not be included in a judgment or award against a governmental entity, as defined in Title 14, section 8102, subsection 2, or against an employee of a governmental entity based on a claim that arises out of an act or omission occurring within the course or scope of that employee's employment; and
(9) In addition to other remedies in subparagraphs (1) to (8), an order to pay actual damages in the case of discriminatory housing practices. This subparagraph is not intended to limit actual damages available to a plaintiff alleging other discrimination if the remedy of actual damages is otherwise available under this Act.
Sec. 2. 5 MRSA §4622, sub-§1, as amended by PL 1995, c. 393, §30, is further amended to read:
No attorneys' Attorney's fees under section 4614 and no civil penal damages or compensatory and punitive damages under section 4613 may not be awarded to a plaintiff in a civil action under this Act unless the plaintiff alleges and establishes that, prior to the filing of the civil action, the plaintiff first filed a complaint with the commission and the commission either:
A. Dismissed the case under section 4612, subsection 2;
B. Failed, within 90 days after finding reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination occurred, to enter into a conciliation agreement to which the plaintiff was a party; or
C. Issued a right-to-sue letter under section 4612, subsection 6 and the action was brought by the aggrieved person not more than 2 years after the act of unlawful discrimination of which the complaint was made as provided in section 4613, subsection 2, paragraph C.
This subsection does not apply to or limit any remedies for civil actions filed under subchapter V if one or more additional causes of action are alleged in the same civil action that do not require exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Effective September 19, 1997, unless otherwise indicated.
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