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How Do I Prove Discrimination at Work?

If you feel as though you have been a victim of discrimination at your place of employment, it can be difficult to know where to turn. It is important to understand that there are laws in place to protect employees from this type of behavior, and that you do not have to suffer in silence.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways you can go about proving discrimination at work.

Where can you file a claim of workplace discrimination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. You can file a charge of discrimination if you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

Depending on the law the employer violated, you must file your charge within 180 or 300 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory event.

If you have been retaliated against because you filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, you can file a separate charge of retaliation with the EEOC.

What are the Different Types of Discrimination Claims?

There are two primary types of discrimination claims: "disparate treatment," and "disparate impact."

Disparate treatment is when an employer treats an employee differently than other employees who are similarly situated. This can be based on the employee's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

Hostile work environment is a form of disparate treatment discrimination and is created when an employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct that is based on their protected characteristic, and the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Disparate Impact is when an employer’s policy or practice harms members of a protected characteristic. It doesn’t matter if the policy or practice was not intended to be discriminatory, if it has a disproportionate impact on members of a protected class, the policy or practice may result in unlawful discrimination.

What Evidence Will You Need to Provide?

In order to prove discrimination, you will need to show by direct or circumstantial (indirect) evidence that your employer took a negative action against you, and that this action was motivated by your protected characteristic. For example, if you are claiming disparate treatment based on race, you will need to provide examples demonstrating that you were treated differently than other employees who are of a different race.

If you are claiming a hostile work environment, you will need to show that the conduct was severe or pervasive, and that it was based on your protected characteristic.

Direct evidence refers to comments or statements directed at your protected characteristic. Circumstantial evidence includes anything other than direct evidence. Most employers are too sophisticated to make statements directed at a protected characteristic, so circumstantial evidence is used to create a presumption of discrimination.

You will also need to show that you were harmed by the discrimination. This can include lost wages, emotional distress, or other damages.

Contact My Office for Assistance

If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, please contact my office. We will review your case and advise you of your legal options.

Direct Evidence Direct evidence is the best way to show that you experienced discrimination. Direct evidence of discrimination includes statements by managers or supervisors that directly relate the adverse action taken against you to your protected class status


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