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Work: ADA Protections 101: Discrimination, Harrassment

How Do I Prove Discrimination Or Harassment?

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Pull together everything which indicates that you are being discriminated against or harassed. Include:

Everything that leads you to believe you are being discriminated against or harassed. Be specific.

  • Include conversations to the extent you can remember them as well as everything you can find in writing. When did they occur? In what setting? Were any witnesses present?
  • Include anything you can find in writing. For example, company publications, memos, e-mails, copies of work assignments. Do not take documents or access information you're not entitled to.
  • If the discrimination is from a company policy, get a copy of the policy.

All the good words, awards, pay raises, advances, and evaluations you've received.

They all show with clear evidence how qualified you are. If you've kept a work diary you already have everything you need in one place.

If you feel certain other employees are being treated better than you, make note.

Note how and why you think you're more deserving, or at least as deserving, as they are.

Include statistics if you can.

If there are no statistics about people with your health condition, perhaps there are for a group of health conditions, or more visible disabilities in general.

Statistics can be very useful in proving discrimination in the workplace cases of all kinds. This is especially true when the company is very large. In those cases, there are large enough numbers to do a real statistical analysis. If the numbers are good enough, they can be very strong evidence of discrimination.

Identify witnesses.

Make a list of the names and contact information of co-workers or others who have a first hand knowledge:

  • Of how qualified you are and what a good job you have been doing.
  • That you are being discriminated against or harassed.

Summarize what you expect the witnesses to say.

Also make a list of people who may not think you are doing such a good job, and what they may say. This list will be for you (and your attorney if you engage one) -- not for your employer. It helps you be ready in case these people are asked for information.

Ask friendly witnesses to give you a written statement.

The statement should include everything they saw or heard in person regarding your situation.

Get statements that specify the who, what, when, and where of the discriminatory or otherwise unlawful action.

Make sure the witnesses state only the facts of which they are personally aware and give specific examples of what they saw themselves or what they were told directly.

If possible, have the written statement signed in front of a Notary Public.

If you know of employees who were mistreated in the same way you were, ask them for statements about the way they were treated.

Even better, ask them if they will join you in stopping the discrimination and/or harassment.

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