September 24, 2019

Gillibrand, Booker Introduce Bill To Help Make The Legal System More Fair By Banning The Use Of Discriminatory Calculations When Determining Civil Damages

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced legislation to ban the use of discriminatory calculations, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation, when determining damages in civil lawsuits. The Fair Calculations in Civil Damages Act would help make the legal system more fair by prohibiting federal courts from awarding victims of crimes less compensation on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation.

“We need a legal system that is fair, professional, and lives up to the principle that all are created equal. But discriminatory practices have stopped far too many from getting the justice they deserve,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Fair Calculations in Civil Damages Act would help make our court system more just by ensuring that victims of crimes are given the appropriate compensation, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. I am proud to introduce this legislation in the Senate with Senator Booker, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill.”

“Federal courts promise to provide equal justice under law, but in practice, women and minorities are often assigned a monetary value that is less than white men,” said Senator Booker. “There’s nothing equal about that. The law should not value one identity over another, and the Fair Calculations in Civil Damages Act seeks to uphold this principle by ensuring that race, ethnicity, and gender are not used to withhold compensation form victims of civil comers.”

This bill was first introduced in the 114th Congress, following troubling news reports showing that some courts have awarded women and people of color significantly less than white men in similar civil cases. In these examples, a person of color was deemed to have less lifetime earning potential than a comparable white counterpart, leading the court to give a low and unequitable assessment of damages.