Proving Discrimination In The Workplace: A Guide For Employees

Discrimination in the workplace can take place in many forms, including on the basis of your age, race, sex, religion, disability and many others. In most cases, such discrimination is subtle and very difficult to prove. If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer, read on for simple steps you should take to gather sufficient evidence to support a discrimination claim when your day in court arrives.    

Document it

Writing down the specifics of any discriminatory actions against you in a diary can help strengthen your claim, as it would allow you to recount specific details of the events if you take your claim to court. For instance, if your manager uses any derogatory remarks about your disability, be sure to note it down including the date and time, location and names of anyone else who witnessed it. Finding a witness who would be willing to testify to what they witnessed can strengthen your claim even further. This way, you will be able to make a credible case about the incident other than relying on vague, non-specific complaints. 

You should also document any damages that you incurred due to the discrimination. For instance, if you were denied a promotion and suspect foul play, document the amount of money you could have made in the future had you received the promotion. Be sure to also seek medical attention for any medical conditions such as depression or insomnia that you may have suffered as a result of the discrimination.  

Investigate and report it

Keep in mind that you actually have to prove discrimination so as to recover legal damages. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, do what you can to investigate your suspicions. For instance, if you were denied a promotion, find out the age, sex, qualifications and race of the person who got it and ask around to find out if the employer has ever expressed bias in similar situations. 

Next, try to report the issue to your superiors, as a judge will often expect to see some evidence that you tried to expose and stop the discrimination internally before filing a discrimination claim. Sometimes, blowing the whistle on discriminatory acts at work could actually result in the person involved correcting their behavior and thus avoiding a messy court battle. However, if no action is taken, you will at least have an official complaint to back your claim in court.

Finally, approach an employment lawyer early on with all the evidence you have so they can help you gather more evidence and prepare your claim.