You would think that unlawful discrimination would be nearly eliminated from American workplaces. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Colorado workers continue to face discrimination on a daily basis. And when this discriminatory behavior is reported, all too often workers are retaliated against, causing them to face reduced pay, demotion, reassignment, or even termination.
As scary as that sounds, if you’ve been discriminated against at work you don’t have to accept the reality that’s befallen you. Instead, you can choose to take aggressive legal action in hopes of finding accountability, deterring future discriminatory behavior, and recovering compensation for the damage that’s been caused to you.
Tips for building your discrimination case
Although taking legal action can be extremely helpful, simply filing a claim isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll achieve the outcome that you want. Instead, you’re going to have to diligently work to build your claim so that you’re better positioned to advocate for yourself at the negotiation table or in court.
There are several steps that you can take now to build your case. Here are some of them:
- Gather communications with your employer: Very rarely is your employer going to make overtly discriminatory statements that are indicative of illegal activity. However, you might be able to use their statements to piece together your argument that actions taken against you were motivated by a discriminatory purpose. Therefore, it’s crucial that you keep and maintain any written correspondence you have with your employer, whether that’s in the form of email, text messages, memos, or even handwritten notes. Oftentimes these communications provide valuable evidence necessary to support one of these claims.
- Talk to co-workers: You shouldn’t expect that a judge or jury is going to take you at your word when it comes to proving workplace discrimination. That’s why it’s important that you talk to your co-workers to see if they’ve observed behavior in the workplace that supports your arguments. They might also help you demonstrate that the egregious behavior in question is more far-reaching than you anticipated.
- Consider the impact of existing policies: Not all workplace discrimination is intentional on its face. Sometimes seemingly innocent policies and practices can turn out to be discriminatory when applied. This is known as disparate impact. So, if you felt targeted by a company policy or practice and others of a protected class were similarly impacted, then you might want to consider looking at the matter further to see if you can argue that you were discriminated against and suffered harm as a result of that policy or practice.
- Focus on your work record: If you suffer an adverse employment action such as demotion or termination, then your employer is going to try to justify it based on your work performance. You might be able to counter that argument, though, by showing that you have positive performance appraisals and a number of compliments from your supervisor. This can then shift the burden back on your employer to show that the reason for the adverse action wasn’t discriminatory in nature.
Now is the time to act
You don’t deserve the harm that’s come to you. And you might be able to correct the matter by taking aggressive legal action. However, you can’t sit on your claim for too long. If you do, then you might end up losing evidence or missing the window during which you can file your case.
If you’ve been damaged by workplace discrimination, then now is the time to take action. Researching this area of the law further and figuring out what you can do to support yourself while you pursue your claim can be a great first step down the path to success.