Being treated unfairly by your employer can lead to emotional strain, but it can also create significant financial hardship. This is especially true if you’ve suffered an adverse employment decision such as demotion or termination. If you think that your adverse employment decision was based on discrimination or retaliation, then you might be justified in taking legal action against your employer.
But before you take the step of initiating a claim, you have to carefully think through the facts of your case to determine how best to gather and present evidence to support your position.
Gathering evidence of discrimination and retaliation
Even if you think that the facts of your case are obvious, you’re probably going to end up facing legal issues at some point as you navigate your claim. However, you may be able to head off some of these difficulties and increase your chances of success by doing each of the following:
- Keep track of your communications: What you say to your supervisor and your human resources department as well as their responses to you can be pivotal in your case. Although a lot of these interactions may occur in a written format, you may find yourself having face-to-face contact more often than you realize. Here, you still need to keep track of what’s said so that you’re better positioned to present evidence of improper behavior. Therefore, you may benefit from writing down information about those interactions shortly after they happen.
- Track your losses: Even if you’re able to show that you were subjected to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, you’re still going to have to show the extent of your damages. This might include lost wages, lost earnings capacity, and emotional pain and suffering. You’ll need to be diligent in gathering evidence of these losses, which may require you to really think through how the adverse employment action has impacted your life.
- Talk to co-workers: You don’t want your employment law case to turn into a he-said, she-said situation, which is what often occurs in these situations when you don’t have witnesses to back up your position. That’s why it’s important to talk to your co-workers to see if they’ve observed actions and behaviors that may support your claim. Make sure that you obtain their contact information, too, so that you know how to contact them if they leave their current employment.
- Gather evidence of positive work performance: Your employer is probably going to try to defend its actions by arguing that it was justified in demoting or firing you because of your poor work performance. So, if you have performance appraisals or emails touting your work, then gather those records so that you can contradict any claims that your employer makes in regard to problematic performance.
Don’t let your employer walk all over you
Far too many people don’t take action when they’ve been wronged by their employer. They’re either afraid that they’ll lose their case, which will make things worse for them at work, or that they’ll simply waste a lot of time and money in hopes of obtaining a minimal recovery. But your losses may be more significant than you think.
That’s why you should consider discussing your case with a legal professional who knows the ins and outs of employment law. By doing so, you may be able to gain a better understanding of your case and it’s positioning while also securing the advocacy that you need to hopefully position yourself for a successful outcome.