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NYC Litigation Blog

Monday, July 27, 2020

How Do You Prove Employment Discrimination?

There are laws in place, both federal and state, that protect employees and prospective employees from being discriminated against based on a number of different things which place them in a protected class. Discrimination may happen in a number of different ways. If you feel like you have been discriminated against by an employer or a prospective employer, you will need to know how you can prove this. Here, we discuss what you need to prove in an employment discrimination case and how you can prove it.

How Do You Prove Employment Discrimination?

An employee may be a member of a protected class based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender or sex
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Veteran status

To prove discrimination, the employee must first be a member of a protected class. Additionally, the employee must have suffered an adverse job action. The employee may have been demoted or lost benefits. In the alternative, the employee may have been fired or forced into retirement. A prospective employee may have suffered an adverse job action by not being hired for a position due to qualities associated with being a member of a protected class.

Furthermore, to prove employment discrimination, it will need to be shown that the employer treated similarly situated employees who were not members of a protected class more favorably. If an employee or potential employee failed to get a job or a job promotion, he or she will need to prove that he or she was otherwise qualified for the position, but failed to get the job or promotion due to discriminatory reasons.

In order to support a claim of employment discrimination, an employee must be prepared to present evidence to corroborate and demonstrate the truth of the claim. Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence would include statements made by managers or supervisors that are directly related to the adverse action the employee suffered due to protected class status. While direct evidence is, of course, the best way to demonstrate the fact that an employee was discriminated against, it can be difficult to come by. Employers are often well trained in hiding evidence of discrimination as they receive extensive training on discrimination in the workplace. You may be hard-pressed to find any direct evidence of workplace discrimination.

In the alternative, circumstantial evidence may be used to support an assertion of employment discrimination. Circumstantial evidence essentially includes anything other than direct, discriminatory statements made by an employer or supervisor that support an assumption of discrimination. Circumstantial evidence may include things such as your personnel file. This may show something like you being a model employee with no complaints made against you and no other reason to support the adverse employment action you suffered.

Other circumstantial evidence may be a journal with a log of any repeated incidences of discriminator behavior. Such a journal may record the time, date, and location, as well as the nature of any possibly discriminatory behavior. Other relevant circumstantial evidence, depending on the nature of the claim, may include pay records, medical and mental health records, as well as witness information of anyone who witnessed any allegedly discriminatory behavior occurring.

Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you believe you have suffered from employment discrimination, talk to trusted employment discrimination attorney Thomas M. Lancia PLLC. Attorney Lancia is prepared to thoroughly evaluate your case and explore your options going forward. Contact us today.


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