Under the well-settled “American Rule,” litigants, win or lose, generally must pay their own attorneys’ fees, unless an award of attorneys’ fees is authorized by contract, statute or equitable grounds constituting an exception to the rule. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v. Wilderness Society, 421 U.S. 240, 260-62 (1975). One major area of exception to the “American Rule” arises under federal anti-discrimination statutes, which generally contain fee-shifting provisions.

This article examines attorney fee awards to prevailing parties — both plaintiffs and defendants — in employment-related cases arising under anti-discrimination statutes.

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