Often when discrimination happens, you, the Complainant, have been harmed in some way. The negative impacts on you are the injuries (also called damages) you have suffered. The Hearing Examiner decides what “damages” you should be awarded. He or she decides this based on the evidence presented at the Hearing on the Merits.

When awarding damages, the goal of the Hearing Examiner is to “make you whole.” “Making you whole” means putting you in a condition that is at least as good as if you had never been discriminated against.

Types of Damages

There are two different types of damages you can suffer. They are emotional damages and economic damages.

Emotional Damages

Emotional damages are:

  • emotional hurt
  • embarrassment
  • humiliation or distress related to the amount of suffering you have experienced due to discrimination.

If you claim to have suffered from emotional damages, you must be able to speak at the Hearing about how the discrimination has negatively affected you, your life, and your relationships. You may also know other people who have witnessed these negative effects in your life, like your husband, wife, or domestic  partner.

It is a good idea to have these individuals explain what they have seen or heard at the Hearing. If they are not able to attend you may collect a witness statement.To learn how to collect these statements read Preparing Witnesses.To learn how to collect and submit evidence read The Discovery Process.

You may also collect statements from mental health professionals or have them speak on your behalf at the Hearing.

Economic Damages

  • Economic damages are money losses that you can measure due to the discrimination you suffered.
  • Economic damages can be measured through receipts, lost wages, etc.
  • If you claim economic damages, you must be able to present evidence that shows that you lost money because you were discriminated against. This type of evidence may include things such as bills for additional storage costs in a housing case, or expenses related to searching for a new place to live.

Proving Damages

To receive compensation for damages, you must present evidence to the Hearing Examiner at the Hearing on the Merits. To learn more about how to submit evidence read: The Discovery Process.

Trying to Show the Hearing Examiner that You Suffered Damages

To prove to the Hearing Examiner that you have suffered damages, you must identify what losses you have experienced. If you are claiming economic damages, you must show that you attempted to put yourself in a condition similar or better than you were before the discrimination happened. This is called “mitigating your damages.”