How to Document Discrimination in the Work Place from an Experienced Workplace Discrimination Attorney
Written by Cooper and Friedman on April 9, 2019
Any employee who is being treated unfairly as the result of a protected characteristic, is likely experiencing a form of workplace discrimination. Harassment is one example of an unlawful form of discrimination that includes inappropriate verbal or physical behavior based on one’s sex, religion, race, color, national origin, disability or age.
Many federal laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit discrimination against anyone on the basis of such protected characteristics including women with any medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. State and local laws may have additional protections in place regarding one’s gender identity, immigration status or sexual orientation.
However, when it comes to a court of law, discrimination in the workplace is rarely clear cut. In order to effectively prove workplace discrimination, the act or acts in question must also be un-welcomed, severe, and or demonstrate a pattern of illicit behavior over a period of time. Those dealing with an unfair or hostile work environment should consult an experienced lawyer in order to protect their rights. The next best course of action is to properly document all incidents involving workplace discrimination.
7 Tips to Document Workplace Discrimination
1. Keep a Detailed Record of Events
Any potentially unlawful act should be recorded as soon as it happens. Keeping a log of the occurrence itself, including the date, time, place and possible eye witnesses will go a long way in providing a written record should you need one. Relevant emails, written notes, texts or voice messages should also be cataloged.
2. Document Your Work
Although illegal, retaliation is a possible outcome of reporting discrimination (especially if the claim involves someone in an authoritative role). Therefore, it is important that those facing workplace discrimination also document the quality of their work should it come into question. Evaluations or other notes in one’s personnel file most effectively illustrate one’s workplace performance and prevent employer retaliation.
3. Find The Company Policy
Be thorough by getting a copy of the company handbook and thoroughly reading it to ensure you follow the guidelines when it comes to harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
4. File an Internal Complaint
In order for an employer to be legally responsible, they must be made aware of the discrimination; so be sure to report it as soon as it happens. The longer one waits, the greater the chances the complaint will not be taken seriously. Additionally, once reported, get a copy of the report. Also keep a record of who it was reported to as well as what was said or done in response.
5. Keep a Paper Trail
If work is missed or treatment is sought as a result of the discriminating act(s), keep a paper trail of all the pay periods or medical records. In addition to punitive damages and attorney fees, an experienced lawyer may be able to seek compensation for emotional distress as well as lost benefits, front and back pay.
6. Gather Witnesses
Those who may have witnessed the discrimination or have been treated unfairly themselves can provide powerful legal support for a claim.
7. Contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Before seeking a case against an employer, one must first file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC can also help clarify one’s workplace rights.
At Cooper and Friedman, we have over 45 years of combined experience with workplace discrimination. If you or someone you know has been a victim of workplace discrimination, contact us today by calling 502-459-7555 or visiting our contact us page. We are proud to have collected millions of dollars for people like you who live in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.