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The burden of proof: How to demonstrate workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Employment Law |

Workplace discrimination can have a devastating impact on the affected worker, resulting in lost opportunities, lower pay and a hostile work environment. This is in addition to the potential psychological effects such as stress and lower self-esteem.

If you believe you have experienced workplace discrimination, it is crucial to understand the burden of proof necessary to demonstrate your case. This refers to the responsibility to prove a fact or assertion in legal proceedings. For workplace discrimination cases, the burden of proof rests with the employee alleging the discrimination. In other words, it is up to you to provide enough evidence to show that discrimination based on a protected characteristic, such as race or gender, has occurred.

Documentation is key

Keep detailed records of any incidents of discrimination, such as emails, pay records, discriminatory company policies or statements made by your employer or supervisor. It could also help to record statements from your colleagues who witnessed the discriminatory acts of our employer and copies of any reports of workplace decoration made to the HR department. Proper documentation can help support your case and provide the necessary evidence to prove discrimination or a pattern of discriminatory behavior.

Circumstantial evidence can also help

In some cases, obtaining hard evidence of discrimination can be challenging. As such, you may have to rely on circumstantial or indirect evidence that suggests discriminatory intent rather than direct proof. For example, if you are passed over for a promotion or a job in favor of a less-qualified individual without valid reasons or justification, it may suggest discrimination, even without direct evidence. In such cases, the burden of proof will shift to the employer, and it is up to them to show their actions were non-discriminatory.

Get help building your case

Fighting back against workplace discrimination can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seeking necessary legal representation and guidance can make all the difference in building a strong case. By standing up for your rights and seeking justice, you will help protect your rights and interests while potentially contributing to a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion.