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The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a federal law that provides the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages, while limiting the amount that a jury could award.
The Act was passed in response to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions which limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination.
The Act aims to:
a. strengthen and improve federal civil rights laws;
b. provide for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination;
c. clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions;
d. provide additional protections against unlawful discrimination in employment; and
e. deter unlawful harassment and intentional discrimination in the workplace.