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When employers are faced with employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits, they are often scarred stiff at the prospect of having to pay hefty punitive damages awards to former employees. That, of course, is the point of punitive damages. The state legislature created the threat of punitives so employers have a reason to stop or prevent workplace harassment and discrimination. Sometimes, the economic damages an employee can prove are not substantial enough to deter an unmotivated employer. Adding punitive damages to plaintiffs’ arsenals turns almost every employment lawsuit into a potential financial bloodbath for an employer, making it a strong deterrent.

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