Workplace discrimination is more common today than most people realize. In fact, some studies show that more than 60% of individuals have either experienced or witnessed some sort of workplace discrimination. If you’ve been subjected to that kind of egregious behavior, then you might be fearful about what it has done to your career and what your future will look like. After all, far too many individuals who are subjected to workplace discrimination end up losing their job and suffer damage to their credentials.
Fortunately, though, the law seeks to protect people like you who have been negatively impacted by workplace discrimination. However, in order to succeed on a retaliation or wrongful termination claim, you’ll need to be prepared with strong evidence that supports your claim. Here are some tips to help you build you do just that:
- Take notes: Our memories tend to get hazy over time, which won’t do you any favors as you pursue legal action. That’s why writing down each instance of discriminatory behavior can be helpful. Here, be sure to notate when the incident occurred, what exactly happened, and who all was involved. You can also mark what action you took afterwards and how the behavior made you feel. This will ensure that you’re able to present a clear picture to the judge and jury should your case end up going to trial.
- Talk to witnesses and co-workers: This may sound obvious, but witnesses can be crucial to your case. Talk to co-workers to see if the discriminatory behavior is more prevalent than you thought. Make sure that you take down contact information for those who may prove beneficial to your case just in case you need them to testify on your behalf.
- Retain communications: Make sure that you print and keep any written communications with your supervisor or the human resources department. These documents can be indicative of whether your employer failed to take proper action upon the reporting of discriminatory behavior, and it may show that an adverse employment action taken against you was motivated by some discriminatory purpose.
- Gather documents that show strong work performance: If you’re subjected to an adverse employment action, such as reassignment, demotion, or termination, then your employer is going to argue that the action was justified based on your poor work performance. Therefore, you should be prepared to counter those arguments with your performance appraisals and any written compliments that are contrary to your employer’s position.
- Consider disparate impact: Even seemingly neutral workplace policies can turn out to be discriminatory in practice. This is still illegal and can have a major detrimental impact on your career. So, if you suspect that one of your employer’s policies has had a disparate impact on members of a protected class, then you’ll need to gather statistics to support your position. This may mean working with an expert in this area of the law and speaking to everyone who has been negatively impacted by the policy’s implementation.
Fight to protect your rights
Although being subjected to workplace discrimination can be scary, frustrating, and infuriating, the law provides you with a lot of protections. However, the onus is on you to use those laws to protect yourself. That’s why it’s imperative that if you suspect that you’ve been subjected to workplace discrimination that you take the steps necessary to build a compelling legal claim. We hope that the steps outlined above are a good starting point for you, and that you end up achieving the outcome that you deserve.