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How to prove workplace discrimination took place

Workplace discrimination is far more prevalent than many employers want to believe. In fact, one report from Pew Research shows how 42 percent of women in the American workforce experienced discrimination at work as a direct result of their gender. 

In many cases, employment discrimination takes the form of snide or inappropriate comments. If discrimination exists only as verbal comments, then it can be difficult to present any hard evidence in a court of law. Fortunately, there are different types of evidence you can rely on to build your case. 

Direct evidence

This will be the most useful type of evidence. It includes direct statements employers or coworkers made that clearly show discrimination. For example, inappropriate comments or an admission of terminating employment due to race, gender or another protected factor will help greatly in court.

Circumstantial evidence

Most employers and coworkers know not to leave evidence if they know they discriminated against someone. Therefore, a court case will require circumstantial evidence to create a case. To begin, you need to show you are a member of a protected class, such as how you are a woman or over the age of 40. 

Next, you need to show that you possess all necessary qualifications to do the job. This can include any essential licenses or an adequate number of years in the industry. After that, you need to show that the employer replaced you or hired someone else who is not a member of your protected class. In some cases, the person who received the job over you will have fewer qualifications to do the job well. If you are unsure if circumstantial evidence will work in your case, then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a history of discriminatory practices with this particular employer?
  • Have you received different treatment than other employees with your job who are not in your protected class?
  • Are there any unusual or unjust circumstances surrounding your termination of employment?
  • Do other employees have similar stories about receiving discrimination?

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