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It's Settled

A new law makes it easier to reach settlements.

By Jane Easter Bahls

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It isn't often that plaintiffs' lawyers and businessadvocates work together to ensure the passage of a law, butthat's what happened in the months leading up to October 22,when President Bush signed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.Section 703, the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act, overturns a tax rulethat has divided circuit courts and bedeviled both sides inemployment discrimination cases.

Until now, when an employee has won or settled a lawsuit overwrongful termination or workplace discrimination, the award hasbeen taxable--including the contingent fees paid to the attorneys.The money awarded was supposed to make up for lost wages, butbetween attorney's fees and the taxes on them, plaintiffstypically took home less than 30 cents on the dollar. Knowing this,plaintiffs and their lawyers would push for higher settlements.

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