Drawing a Line: The Need to Rethink Remedies Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

This Note considers the circuit split regarding the treatment of front-pay damages under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Specifically, courts disagree as to whether a liquated damages award should affect the determination of front-pay damages. This Note begins with an analysis of the remedies available under the ADEA and the nature of punitive damages. Drawing on this background, the author explains the rationales underlying the two approaches for determining front pay—either considering liquated damages when determining front pay or independently considering front-pay damages. The author concludes that a fear of overcompensating the plaintiff motivates the former approach, while an emphasis on the different rationales for the remedies—compensatory and punitive—underlies the latter. To suggest a resolution to this disagreement, the author analyzes liquidated damages and then weighs the strengths and weakness of both methods. This Note concludes with the proposition that liquidated damages and front-pay damages should be considered independently in order to further the purpose of the ADEA and to maintain the integrity of the underlying rationales for the awards.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.