Myths In Employment Civil Rights Litigation: Odds

Myth 6. Plaintiffs have high odds of success and win large awards.

Although media coverage gives that impression, we find that some 36 percent of plaintiffs have their cases dismissed or thrown out on a motion for summary judgment and 50 percent of plaintiffs receive settlements early on, with an average settlement of $30,000. Of those cases that go to trial (6 percent), only one-third end with a win for the plaintiff.

More significantly, we find that plaintiffs often pay a high personal cost for their involvement in discrimination lawsuits. Beginning in the workplace, once they start to raise the possibility that they were discriminated against and certainly if they file a charge, they face ostracism from management and even co-workers...