Despite acknowledgment that noneconomic damages address 'the primary elements of life' and that 'it turns reality on its head to give transcendence to the pecuniary' (Komesar, 1990, p. 58), the importance of nonpecuniary losses has long been neglected (Abel, 2006). In cases of workplace discrimination where psychological injuries arise, the plaintiff can recover nonpecuniary or compensatory damages. Lawyers, forensic evaluators, and courts who must assess the eligibility of a plaintiff for compensatory damages may be guided by a five-stage model to assess the status of the plaintiff before the alleged harassment, during those events, and following harassment incidents. By examining the complainant's status at these points in time, legal causation can be assessed, and symptoms or problems compensable by the defendant distinguished from those that are a result of other life events. This chapter describes the types of mental and emotional injuries most commonly caused by workplace harassment and discrimination; distinguishes garden variety emotional distress from claims that put a plaintiff's medical condition at issue, and outlines the role of a mental health practitioner in evaluating plaintiffs and testifying about these matters in court.
|Title of host publication||Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Handbook for Lawyers|
|Editors||Ronald Roesch, Patricia A Zapf|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||36|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
Goodman-Delahunty, J., & Foote, W. E. (2013). Evaluation for harassment and discrimination claims. In R. Roesch, & P. A. Zapf (Eds.), Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law: A Handbook for Lawyers (pp. 170-205). Oxford University Press.