How to Prove Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace makes a huge impact on workers in Florida and around the country. It not only can make work a very uncomfortable and even scary place, but it can also have a tremendous effect on a person’s career and financial circumstances. Discrimination is the workplace is not only wrong — it is against the law. If you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, there are a number of things that can be done to prove it. As experienced employee rights lawyers, we understand what it takes to prove a case of workplace discrimination. First, it is important to know what may constitute a case.  

What is Discrimination in the Workplace?

There are several laws that determine the definition of illegal discrimination in the workplace. Essentially, there are protected categories or classes that would qualify for protection under federal law against workplace discrimination. The federal laws that protect employees include but are not limited to: The Florida Civil Rights Act also protects a wide range of classes of workers. The protected classes of workers include:
  • Race, Color, and National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • AIDS/HIV status
  • Sickle Cell trait
If an employer has violated your employee rights because of discrimination in the workplace due to one of the above-protected classes, you may have a case.  

What You Need to Prove Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination has serious consequences. It can dramatically affect employees and their families — and employers should be held accountable. Proving discrimination in the workplace is all about documentation, and there are multiple types of documentation that may be used to prove your case.  

Company Policies & Employee Handbooks

When employees are first hired into a company, they are often given packets or booklets of information that describe a variety of policies, including ones that detail anti-discrimination policies. Anything that you have like this should be kept and can be utilized for your case. Some employers will not have handbooks but will post flyers in the breakroom regarding their policies against workplace discrimination. If possible, obtain a copy of that for your records.  

Personnel Files

An employment record will need to be made if you file a case. Personnel files contain key information such as performance reviews and any potential disciplinary reports. If you are unable to obtain your personnel file, an employee rights lawyer will obtain a copy of your file on your behalf. Also, if you have any personal copies of any work-related documents at home – save them.  

Physical Evidence of Harassment or Discrimination

The types of physical evidence that can act to prove harassment or discrimination can vary. This may include things like offensive physical pictures (or pictures sent to you via text, email, or social media). For example, this is not an uncommon tactic for people who sexually harass their employees. Other types of physical evidence could be offensive handwritten notes, jokes, or comments. If you have received offensive emails or other types of virtual communications, make sure to save those too.  

Personal Journals or Diaries

It is not uncommon for employees to keep personal records of unwanted and unlawful behavior at work. Know that if you are currently experiencing harassment – know you have the right to say no. If it is still ongoing, document everything and speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Record everything in a personal journal or diary with as much detail as possible – dates, times, what happened, who it was, and any further details. If you do not have a personal journal or diary of the events that took place, that does not mean you do not have a case. You may have more evidence to prove discrimination in the workplace than you think.  

Medical and Mental Health Records

If enduring discrimination in the workplace has inflicted personal harm to you, whether physical or emotional, and you have needed to seek help, these records could prove valuable to your case. For example, if you began having high blood pressure after the discrimination took place, this would be important to document in your case. Additionally, if the stress of harassment or discrimination in the workplace has affected your personal mental health and you have sought out help from a counselor or other professional, these records could also prove to be important.  

Witness Information

Do you believe there were any witnesses to the harassment or discrimination? If so, your employee rights attorney could find their contact information very helpful. A note: consulting with your attorney prior to approaching potential witnesses, if that has not already occurred, is a good idea due to the sensitivity of the situation.  

Workplace Discrimination Lawyers Fight for Employee Rights

When employees have been the victim of workplace discrimination, having expert legal help can make a huge difference in the case. With experience and expertise with you every step of the way, you are more likely to have the optimum outcome. You do not have to go through this difficult experience on your own. Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., has helped thousands of workers across the state of Florida and fights hard for employee rights. Discrimination should never be tolerated, and employers should be held accountable. Outcomes of cases may include:
  • reinstatement to your job after being fired for reporting harassment or workplace discrimination,
  • hefty fines against employers,
  • new policies put in place at companies to keep it from happening again,
  • compensation for lost wages and benefits, and
  • additional damages as awarded by the courts
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we have the best discrimination lawyers to tackle workplace violations and pursue justice. Your employer will have a lawyer or team of lawyers, and you have the right to have one too. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
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