Month: November 2011

Is $45,000 a Lot for a Sexual Harassment Settlement?

One of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment while at the National Restaurant Association received a $45,000 settlement. A second accuser settled for $35,000. What’s the going rate for sexual harassment claims?

It’s about what the National Restaurant Association paid to these women. Many litigants reach a confidential settlement before completing a trial, so tabulating statistics about sexual harassment claims is very difficult. One study looked at 50 sexual harassment settlements (PDF) in cases before Chicago magistrate judges, and found that amounts average around $53,000, with a median of about $30,000. Employees who take their case to trial—and win—fare significantly better, averaging more than $217,000, according to a separate study. That ratio is normal in employment litigation: Settlements are typically around one-quarter the size of trial verdicts. (The plaintiff wins in about 40 percent of the employment-related cases that make it to the jury.)

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