We are still discussing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision about the Privacy Act and its waiver of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff sued a handful of federal agencies when his HIV status was made public; the agencies had shared information about him, including his application for Social Security disability benefits. In the majority opinion, the court focused on the act allowing individuals to file civil actions if they suffered "actual damages" because of an agency's violation.
The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a Privacy Act case has caused a stir among consumer advocates and in legal circles. The plaintiff accused the Federal Aviation Administration, the Social Security Administration and the United States Department of Transportation of violating the Privacy Act when the agencies shared information about his Social Security long-term disability benefits. As we said in our last post, the majority decision turned on the Privacy Act's use of the term "actual damages."
We are continuing our discussion of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The case started with a man, HIV-positive and near death, applying for Social Security disability benefits. It ended with a majority decision that the Privacy Act does not allow damages for mental and emotional distress claims.
Yes. If you have initiated an action against your former employer for violating your rights under the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, FMLA or most any other fair employment law, you have an obligation to mitigate your damages. In other words, the courts and their laws require you to take steps to remedy your unfortunate situation by attempting to earn money. In most cases, that means regularly and consistently applying for work, networking, starting or building a business, attending school, or a combination of those activities. It also means applying for unemployment insurance benefits.