United States v. Burke, 504 U.S. 229, 12 (1992)

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240

UNITED STATES v. BURKE

Opinion of the Court

insult and indignity, racial discrimination might be treated as a dignitary tort" (internal quotation marks omitted)). Indeed, the circumscribed remedies available under Title VII stand in marked contrast not only to those available under traditional tort law, but under other federal antidiscrimination statutes, as well.10 For example, Rev. Stat. 1977, 42 U. S. C. 1981, permits victims of race-based employment discrimination to obtain a jury trial at which "both equitable and legal relief, including compensatory and, under certain circumstances, punitive damages" may be awarded. Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, Inc., 421 U. S. 454, 460 (1975). The Court similarly has observed that Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, whose fair housing provisions allow for jury trials and for awards of compensatory and punitive damages, "sounds basically in tort" and "contrasts sharply" with the relief available under Title VII. Curtis v. Loether, 415 U. S., at 195, 197; 42 U. S. C. 3613(c).11

10 Title VII's remedial scheme was expressly modeled on the backpay provision of the National Labor Relations Act. See Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U. S. 405, 419-420, and n. 11 (1975); 29 U. S. C. 160(c) (Board shall order persons to "cease and desist" from unfair labor practices and to take "affirmative action including reinstatement of employees with or without back pay"). This Court previously has held that backpay awarded under the Labor Act to an unlawfully discharged employee constitutes "wages" for purposes of the Social Security Act. See Social Security Board v. Nierotko, 327 U. S. 358 (1946).

11 Respondents' attempts to prove that Title VII redresses a personal injury by relying on this Court's characterizations of other antidiscrimination statutes are thus unpersuasive in light of those statutes' differing remedial schemes. For example, respondents' reliance on Goodman v. Lukens Steel Co., 482 U. S. 656 (1987), is misplaced, as that case involved the interpretation of 1981. See Brief for Respondents 35-37. Respondents' attempt to apply the Court's statement in Curtis v. Loether, 415 U. S., at 195, that Title VIII "sounds basically in tort" to the Title VII context similarly fails. See Brief for Respondents 32. Indeed, Curtis itself distinguishes Title VII from Title VIII on a host of different grounds. See 415 U. S., at 196-197. The dissent commits the same error as respondents in attempting to analogize suits arising under Title VII to

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