Justice Thomas, delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents the question whether a front pay award is an element of compensatory damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1991. We conclude that it is not.
Petitioner Sharon Pollard sued her former employer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), alleging that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment based on her sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, 42 U. S. C. § 2000e et seq. After a trial, the District Court found that Pollard was subjected to coworker sexual harassment of which her supervisors were aware. The District Court further found that the harassment resulted in a medical leave of absence from her job for psychological assistance and her eventual dismissal for refusing to return to the same hostile work environment. The court awarded Pollard $107,364 in backpay and benefits, $252,997 in attorney's fees, and, as relevant here, $300,000 in compensatory damages—the maximum permitted under the statutory cap for such damages in 42 U. S. C. § 1981a(b)(3).
The issue presented for review here is whether front pay constitutes an element of "compensatory damages" under 42 U. S. C. § 1981a and thus is subject to the statutory damages cap imposed by that section. Although courts have defined "front pay" in numerous ways, front pay issimply money awarded for lost compensation during the period between judgment and reinstatement or in lieu of reinstatement. For instance, when an appropriate position for the plaintiff is not immediately available without displacing an incumbent employee, courts have ordered reinstatement upon the opening of such a position and have ordered front pay to be paid until reinstatement occurs. See, e. g., Walsdorf v. Board of Comm'rs, 857 F.2d 1047, 1053-1054 (CA5 1988); King v. Staley, 849 F.2d 1143, 1145 (CA8 1988). In cases in which reinstatement is not viable because of continuing hostility between the plaintiff and the employer or its workers, or because of psychological injuries suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the discrimination, courts have ordered front pay as a substitute for reinstatement. See, e. g., Gotthardt v. National R. R. Passenger Corp., 191 F.3d 1148, 1156 (CA9 1999); Fitzgerald v. Sirloin Stockade, Inc., 624 F.2d 945, 957 (CA10 1980). For the purposes of this opinion, it is not necessary for us to explain when front pay is an appropriate remedy. The question before us is only whether front pay, if found to be appropriate, is an element of compensatory damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and thus subject to the Act's statutory cap on such damages.
Here, the District Court observed that "the $300,000.00 award is, in fact, insufficient to compensate plaintiff," 16 F.Supp.2d 913, 924, n. 19 (WD Tenn. 1998), but it stated that
The Sixth Circuit's decision in Hudson was one of the first appellate opinions to decide whether front pay is an element of compensatory damages subject to the statutory cap set forth in § 1981a(b)(3). Contrary to the Sixth Circuit's resolution of this question, the other Courts of Appeals to address it have concluded that front pay is a remedy that is not subject to the limitations of § 1981a(b)(3). See, e. g., Pals v. Schepel Buick & GMC Truck, Inc., 220 F.3d 495, 499-500 (CA7 2000); Kramer v. Logan County School Dist. No. R-1, 157 F.3d 620, 625-626 (CA8 1998); Gotthardt, supra, at 1153— 1154; Medlock v. Ortho Biotech, Inc., 164 F.3d 545, 556 (CA10 1999); EEOC v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 619, n. 10 (CA11 2000); Martini v. Federal Nat. Mortgage Assn., 178 F.3d 1336, 1348-1349 (CADC 1999). We granted certiorari to resolve this conflict. 531 U.S. 1069 (2001).
Plaintiffs who allege employment discrimination on the basis of sex traditionally have been entitled to such remedies as injunctions, reinstatement, backpay, lost benefits, and attorney's fees under § 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act
The Sixth Circuit has concluded that front pay constitutes compensatory damages awarded for future pecuniary losses and thus is subject to the statutory cap of § 1981a(b)(3). 213 F. 3d, at 945; Hudson, supra, at 1203. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that front pay is not an element of compensatory damages within the meaning of § 1981a, and, therefore, we hold that the statutory cap of § 1981a(b)(3) is inapplicable to front pay.
Under § 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as originally enacted, when a court found that an employer had intentionally engaged in an unlawful employment practice, the court was authorized to "enjoin the respondent from engaging in such unlawful employment practice, and order such affirmative action as may be appropriate, which may include, but is not limited to, reinstatement or hiring of employees, with or without back pay." 42 U. S. C. § 2000e— 5(g)(1). This provision closely tracked the language of
In 1972, Congress expanded § 706(g) to specify that a court could, in addition to awarding those remedies previously listed in the provision, award "any other equitable relief
In 1991, without amending § 706(g), Congress further expanded the remedies available in cases of intentional employment discrimination to include compensatory and punitive damages. See 42 U. S. C. § 1981a(a)(1). At that time, Rev. Stat. § 1977, 42 U. S. C. § 1981, permitted the recovery of unlimited compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional race and ethnic discrimination, but no similar remedy existed in cases of intentional sex, religious, or disability discrimination. Thus, § 1981a brought all forms of intentional employment discrimination into alignment, at least with respect to the forms of relief available to successful plaintiffs. However, compensatory and punitive damages awarded under § 1981a may not exceed the statutory limitations set forth in § 1981a(b)(3), while such damages awarded under § 1981 are not limited by statute.
In the abstract, front pay could be considered compensation for "future pecuniary losses," in which case it would be subject to the statutory cap. § 1981a(b)(3). The term "compensatory damages . . . for future pecuniary losses" is not defined in the statute, and, out of context, its ordinary meaning could include all payments for monetary losses after the date of judgment. However, we must not analyze one term of § 1981a in isolation. See Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Assn., 505 U.S. 88, 99 (1992) ("`[W]e must not be guided by a single sentence or member of a sentence, but look to the provisions of the whole law' "). When § 1981a is read as a whole, the better interpretation is that front pay is not within the meaning of compensatory damages in § 1981a(b)(3), and thus front pay is excluded from the statutory cap.
In the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Congress determined that victims of employment discrimination were entitled to additional remedies. Congress expressly found that "additional remedies under Federal law are needed to deter unlawful harassment and intentional discrimination in the workplace," without giving any indication that it wished to curtail previously available remedies. See Civil Rights Act of 1991, 105 Stat. 1071, § 2. Congress therefore made clear through the plain language of the statute that the remedies newly authorized under § 1981a were in addition to the relief authorized by § 706(g). Section 1981a(a)(1) provides that, in intentional discrimination cases brought under Title VII, "the complaining party may recover compensatory and punitive damages as allowed in subjection (b) of [§ 1981a], in addition to any relief authorized by section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from the respondent." (Emphasis added.) And § 1981a(b)(2) states that "[c]ompensatory damages awarded under [§ 1981a] shall not include backpay, interest on backpay, or any other type of relief authorized under section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "
As discussed above, the original language of § 706(g) authorizing backpay awards was modeled after the same language in the NLRA. This provision in the NLRA had been construed to allow awards of backpay up to the date of reinstatement, even if reinstatement occurred after judgment. Accordingly, backpay awards made for the period between the date of judgment and the date of reinstatement, which today are called front pay awards under Title VII, were authorized under § 706(g).
As to front pay awards that are made in lieu of reinstatement, we construe § 706(g) as authorizing these awards as well. We see no logical difference between front pay awards made when there eventually is reinstatement and those made when there is not.
Because front pay is a remedy authorized under § 706(g), Congress did not limit the availability of such awards in § 1981a. Instead, Congress sought to expand the available remedies by permitting the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages in addition to previously available remedies, such as front pay.
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The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
Justice O'Connor took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Equal Employment Advisory Council et al. by Robert E. Williams, Ann Elizabeth Reesman, Stephen A. Bokat, and Robin S. Conrad; and for the Society for Human Resource Management by Paul Salvatore.