The Evidence You Need to Win a Discrimination Case

Discrimination Gossip colleagues in front of their office, handsome businessman portrait in front and gossip out of focus in background.

Gossip colleagues in front of their office, handsome businessman portrait in front and gossip out of focus in background.


 e all deserve a workplace free from discrimination. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, as evidenced by research that illustrates how pervasive workplace discrimination still is.

If you or someone you know feel that you’ve experienced discrimination, you’re likely considering taking legal action and hiring a civil rights lawyer.

That’s a great idea, but that alone isn’t going to be enough to win your case.

To truly influence a just outcome, you’ll need a large body of evidence to support your claims. So what exactly qualifies as evidence of discrimination in the workplace?

Read on to learn about the most common and helpful examples of evidence used in these cases.

The McDonnell-Douglas Test

The first step to proving workplace discrimination involves passing what is known as the McDonnell-Douglas Test.

In order to establish your case, you’ll need to answer yes to each of the following questions:

  • Are you a member of a protected class?
  • Were you qualified for your position?
  • Did your employer take action to keep you from advancement or fulfilling your duties?
  • Was your replacement a member of a protected class?

If you can truthfully say that each of these four questions is relevant to your experience, you’re ready for the next step.

Now you’ll need to take out what’s known as a prima facie case, which more or less states your argument.

A prima facie case is required for legal proceedings, so evidence of both the McDonnell-Douglas Test and your prima facie case matter a great deal.

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The best evidence is hard evidence, and there’s no hard evidence quite as strong as proper documentation. Employees that keep a paper trail of their experiences stand a far better chance of winning their case than those who rely on circumstantial evidence.

Any communications relevant to your discrimination should be saved and given to your lawyer for safekeeping.

The most common examples of documentation include:

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Memos
  • Video

In general, anything with some sort of metadata that gives a timestamp to prove authenticity is a slam dunk.

Circumstantial Evidence Through Misconduct

By far, circumstantial evidence is the hardest type of evidence to gather, as it’s considered less reliable than more concrete types of evidence such as documents.

However, that doesn’t mean that circumstantial evidence isn’t valuable. For instance, proving that your employer treated you different than your colleagues can strengthen your assertion.

Let’s say that you have a disability. One day, you notice that your boss is only giving new projects to your colleagues — none of whom have a disability.

If this were to occur one time, you could maybe chalk it up to coincidence. But once a pattern starts to emerge, a case begins to present itself.

In the context of discrimination cases, circumstantial evidence often requires testimony. As a result, your colleagues and employer may be called to present their recollections of your employer’s behavior in court.

No One Deserves To Experience Discrimination In The Workplace

We all deserve a fair and equal opportunity to learn a living. But that doesn’t mean we’re all afforded that chance.

If you believe you’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace, please, get in touch today to learn more about how to take the next step. We’d love to talk with you about how we can help you find justice through legal channels.