The United States Congress explained the reason for including the payment of a employee plaintiff’s fees and costs as part of the damages in employment cases in the Senate Report on Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U. S. C. § 1988: “If private citizens are able to assert their civil rights, and if those who violate the nation’s fundamental laws are not to proceed with impunity, then citizens must have the opportunity to recover what it costs them to vindicate these rights in Court.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has noted that these fee shifting statutes are intended by the U.S. Congress "to ensure effective access to the judicial process" by properly compensating attorneys to ensure that employees had the ability "to attract competent counsel" to represent their claims. Justice Alito, in Perdue v. Keeney, wrote that these fee shifting provisions are intended "to ensure that federal rights are adequately enforced."
Many state statutes that protect civil rights and employees from retaliation also include attorney fee provisions that allow a successful plaintiff to recovery attorney fees and costs incurred. The policy is the same as noted above.
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