Many unpleasant, unfair, unkind, or downright insulting things can happen at the workplace. While all these can result from poor management or even because your employer is mad at, or dislikes you, sometimes they can be due to your race, age, gender, color, or sexual orientation.
Fortunately, employment laws protect employees from being treated differently or less favorably than others by employers. That means you may be able to hold your employer accountable and pursue legal remedies if you are discriminated against during hiring, firing, layoffs, pay, promotions, or job assignments.
But what does it take to prove workplace discrimination?
Here are three things you should know.
1. Various Laws Protect Employees from Workplace Discrimination
Federal laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees. However, protection applies only if employment discrimination happens to someone in a protected class, such as race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or pregnancy status.
That means it is not unusual to feel like an employer is making discriminative decisions based on skill or merit, only to find that you are not in the protected classes. Additionally, federal discrimination laws may not always apply to your employer, depending on the number of employees in the organization.
Fortunately, some state and local laws also protect employees against different forms of employment discrimination. That is why you need to work with a law firm that focuses on employment law, such as Wieand law, if you believe that your employer is discriminating against you.
2. You Need Sufficient Evidence to Prove Your Case
Proving an employment discrimination case can be complicated as you will rarely have direct evidence where the employer admits their discriminatory acts. Therefore, you have to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove your case.
Circumstantial evidence can include anything like:
• Evidence showing that you were disregarded for an opportunity despite having the qualification of merit and skill.
• Evidence that shows others receive better treatment yet they are not in your protected class.
• The suspicious timing of an employer’s decision.
A good example is when you are constantly bullied, harassed, or intimidated by your supervisor or employer for wearing a hijab to the extent you are denied promotion opportunities even with the necessary qualifications. In such a case, you can claim that your employer is discriminating against you because of your religion and use the lack of promotion you qualify for as evidence.
3. Remedies Will Depend on the Specific Employment Discrimination
In most cases, a discrimination case aims to hold the employer accountable for their actions and ensure that the employee’s rights are protected.
For instance, if an employee is discriminated against during hiring or promotion, the legal remedy may include placement in the job as well as back pay and benefits the employee would have earned. The victim of discrimination may also be able to recoup court costs, expert witness fees, and lawyer’s fees from the employer.
Additionally, the employer will be required to stop any discriminatory conduct and put measures in place to prevent any form of discrimination in the future.
It is important to note that the extent of your legal remedies will depend on the strength of your case, the nature of the discrimination you experienced, and the strength of your legal representation.
Many offensive workplace cases are not deliberate and can be solved by letting your supervisors or employer know that you feel uncomfortable with certain conduct and are willing to work together to resolve the issue. However, some discrimination practices are deliberate, and you will often require outside help to protect your rights
If you are being discriminated against at the workplace, it’s time to contact an attorney or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you experience retaliation after filing a discrimination complaint, be sure to add those details to your case.