If you believe you have been discriminated against in your workplace, but you are wondering how to prove it, the experienced legal team at the Crone Law Firm can help. We will explain how direct or circumstantial evidence can support your claim. We can even assist you in exploring whether discrimination is a common practice by your employer.
How does discrimination occur in the workplace?
Many employees incorrectly believe that discrimination must be overt and obvious before it is actionable. However, discrimination by your employer may be any adverse employment action that is taken because the employee is in a protected class under the law. There are different federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, but an “adverse employment action” may include:
- discharge or termination of employment
- refusal to promote
- coercing the employee to quit
- denial of workplace benefits
- reduction of the employee’s hours or pay, or
Under the law, certain classes of people who do not have an employment agreement are protected. For example, it is generally unlawful to discriminate against somebody based upon their age, race, religion, national origin, gender/gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or mental/physical disability. There are specific laws that protect against certain kinds of discrimination. Your employment attorney can review the facts surrounding your case and explain which laws are applicable to your claim.
How do I prove workplace discrimination?
Your employer is highly unlikely to come forward and admit that certain groups of employees were treated differently. In order to prove your claim of discrimination, our legal team will explore whether there is direct and/or circumstantial evidence of discrimination, as well as whether your employer has a pattern of discriminating against a specific group of people.
Direct evidence of discrimination is anything your employer does that demonstrates discriminatory behavior. For example, an email from your supervisor refusing to promote you because of your religion. Another example could be a written policy stating that the company does not hire people over a certain age. Direct evidence of workplace discrimination is rare, but not impossible to find.
Many workplace discrimination cases are based upon circumstantial or indirect evidence. In other words, you only have facts that indicate there was discrimination. It also means that your employer may have a non-discriminatory reason for taking the adverse action. The employee typically must present enough evidence (referred to as establishing a prima facie case) that there was discrimination, then the burden of proof shifts to the employer to establish a non-discriminatory reason for the action taken. At this point the burden shifts back to the employee to prove that the employer’s non-discriminatory reason is merely an excuse or red herring.
Finally, an employee can submit evidence that the employer has a pattern of workplace discrimination. For example, if the employer is providing training opportunities to only the males in the company, the female workers have evidence of discrimination.
The Crone Law Firm is passionate about helping victims of discrimination stop the discrimination and recover damages for the injuries sustained. If you have been refused employment, passed over for a promotion, unjustly fired or refused full payment of your earnings and you believe it was because of discrimination, contact us to determine if your rights have been violated. We want to help you work it out. Call us at 901-737-7740 to see how we can help.