woman discriminated by male employees

Proving Employment Discrimination

It’s important that no one is discriminated against in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are many forms of employment discrimination. Whether you are treated unfairly because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin, the law is on your side. It protects employees from wrongful termination or other forms of discrimination by making it illegal to endure discrimination or harassment of any kind based on your race, religion, color, sex, age, or disability.

It’s important to understand that not all workplace mistreatment qualifies as employment discrimination. In fact, most poor treatment and management in the workplace is not considered unlawful employment discrimination. Additionally, unfair employment decisions can still be legal – even if they are based on false assumptions.

However, if you are, in fact, being subjected to a hostile work environment under the law, you may want to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You must remember though that there are certain standards that the act(s) in question must meet before they can be considered workplace discrimination. 

Types of Discrimination Claims

There are three types of workplace discrimination complaints that you can file dependent upon the types of discrimination that you have experienced:

1. Discriminatory treatment 

Discriminatory treatment occurs when a manager or supervisor treats you unequally from your other coworkers due to your age, race, gender, sex, religion, or disability.

2. Disparate impact

Disparate treatment occurs when a company’s policy puts you in an adverse situation. In other words, when a company’s policy seems to be neutral on its surface but ends up having an adverse impact on certain members of a protected class.

3. Workplace retaliation

Workplace retaliation occurs when your manager or supervisor attempts to punish you for taking part in any legal process in order to protect the company’s interests or your own rights. This type of retaliation may include things such as termination, demotion, or salary reduction.

Proving Your Workplace Discrimination

In order to prove that you have been the victim of employment discrimination, you may present two different types of evidence: direct and circumstantial. 

Direct evidence is any statement or testimony of an individual who witnessed how your employer treated you unequally. Alternatively, circumstantial evidence is that which comes from indirect sources such as documents or data that demonstrates the unfair treatment in question. When you mostly or only have circumstantial evidence, it is even more important that you provide as much of this type of evidence as you can. This may include things such as recordings, letters, notes, and company policies and procedures. 

Prima Facia Case

It’s important to note that prior to building your case on circumstantial evidence, you must present a prima facia case of discrimination. In other words, you must prove to the EEOC or the court that you are a member of a protected class. If you are not a member of a protected class, you are cannot bring a claim for employment discrimination. You must prove:

  1. You’re a member of a protected class;
  2. You were qualified for the position;
  3. Your manager or supervisor in charge took harmful action towards you during the course of your employment (this may include before your employment as well); and
  4. Someone else who was not a member of a protected group replaced you.

If the court finds that you were subjected to workplace discrimination, you may be awarded any of the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Back pay
  • Future pay
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Attorneys’ Fees

The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help

If you or a loved one believes that you were the victim of employment discrimination, you should not have to pay the price. You should be able to hold accountable those who are responsible. Luckily, the compassionate attorneys for negative work environments at ST Legal Group can help. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!