Proving Employment Discrimination: FAQs

Proving Employment Discrimination FAQs

Laws on both the federal and state levels make it illegal for employers to discriminate against their employers on the basis of personal characteristics. But unfortunately, as an employment discrimination lawyer in Washington, D.C. from a firm like Eric Siegel Law can explain, these laws do not keep cases of employment discrimination from appearing in the workplace.

If you believe you’ve experienced employment discrimination by being paid a lower wage, denied a promotion, or fired due to a certain protected characteristic, it’s important that you consider working with an attorney who understands this area of the law. 

The following questions are some of the most common that we receive from our clients asking about employment discrimination:

What must I prove in an employment discrimination case?

In order to successfully prove that you’ve faced employment discrimination, you will need to have evidence that:

  • You are part of a protected class. For example, you have a disability, are over 40 years old, or are a member of a certain race.
  • You were qualified for the job that you held, or to receive a particular benefit.
  • You were subjected to an adverse job-related behavior; for instance, were denied a promotion or fired.
  • Another individual who is not in your same protected class was not subjected to the same behavior.

As your attorney will tell you, it’s important to be able to prove all of these elements in order to file a successful claim.

What is a hostile work environment?

Harassment in the workplace is prohibited by the law in the same ways as employment discrimination. It is defined by unwanted conduct that’s based on a protected characteristic, and is usually an environment that an employee has to endure to keep his or her position.

This toxic culture ultimately leads to what is usually considered to be a hostile work environment. If you want to prove that you were subjected to a hostile work environment, you must prove that you faced this kind of behavior, that it was pervasive or severe, and that a reasonable person would have also found the environment to be hostile.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation is any instance in which employees are punished by employers simply for exercising their rights, and especially for reporting cases of harassment and discrimination. It’s prohibited per the same laws that make employment discrimination illegal. Specifically, an employer cannot retaliate in any of the following ways:

  • Firing or disciplining an employee for making a discrimination or harassment complaint,
  • Participating in an employment discrimination investigation, or
  • Asking for a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs or a disability.

Get in Touch with an Attorney Today

Do any of these elements sound like the apply to what’s happened to you in the workplace? If so, you shouldn’t have to suffer silently from the effects of employment discrimination. When you feel you’re ready to proceed with your claim, schedule a consultation with an accomplished employment discrimination lawyer.