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Employer Settlements in Harassment, Discrimination, and Hostile Work Environment Claims

Unfortunately, most financial settlements for discrimination include confidentiality agreements that forbid the disclosure of information about the settlement;[1] however, there is a small sample of financial settlement records from the Northern District of Illinois settled between 1999 and 2004.[2], [3], [4] A study found that the mean settlement amount of this sample was $65,950, with values ranging from $350 to $1,250,000.[5], [6], [7] This study asked whether various litigation stages influence the amount of the final settlements.[8] It found that the plaintiff’s demand and the defendant’s offer were the most influential, and higher plaintiff demands and higher defendant offers corresponded with higher final settlement agreements.[9] However, this study concluded that the plaintiff’s demand was best understood as a response to the defendant’s offer.[10] The defendant’s initial offer was the most influential factor, and the final settlement agreement was usually closer to the defendant’s initial offer than it was to the plaintiff’s.[11] Establishing a trial date also influenced the amount of the final settlement, albeit far less than plaintiff demands or defendant offers, because of the additional incentive to settle.[12]

Cite this article as:

Heck, E. (2017). What bad things happen if you don’t instigate retaliation, discrimination, or a hostile work environment? Retrieved from

[1] Stewart J. Schwab, S. J. & Michael Heise, Splitting Logs: An Empirical Perspective on Employment Discrimination Settlements, 96 Cornell L. Rev. 931, 933-934 (2010-2011).

[2] These were collected by magistrate judges to assist them in overseeing employment discrimination settlement conferences.

[3] Schwab & Heise, supra at 935.

[4] Id. at 940.

[5] This amount is in 2004 dollars. The author used the CPI calculator on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to calculate the buying power of those amounts at present. The author calculated the mean to be $88,417.61 and the range to be $444.69 to $1,588,188.19.

[6] Schwab & Heise, supra, at 942.

[7] Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPI Inflation Calculator, inflation_calculator.htm (last visited Feb. 13, 2017).

[8] Schwab & Heise, supra, at 935.

[9] Id. at 948.

[10] Id. at 954.

[11] Id.

[12] Id. at 948