My prove workplace discrimination article helps workers protect their basic employee rights! Millions of employees in America and around the world are exposed to various forms of discrimination. Even job seekers are routinely denied the opportunity to work and provide for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, most career seekers and employees are not aware of how to prove workplace discrimination.

This is not surprising because my research shows the overwhelming majority of job applicants and employees know little or nothing about their Basic Employee Rights! Many at best, have made erroneous conclusions of what their rights are based on false assumptions. For example, a lot of career seekers believe an employer cannot fire them for no reason. Well, unless they live in Montana that’s also a false assumption.

Why? Because of that little 19th century employment model called “At Will”. Simply put, "at will" means the employer can fire the employee with or without notice for any reason or no reason. Our employers can also fire us for "good cause, bad cause, or no cause". I personally hate “At Will” employment doctrine because there is ample research to show it has and is used as a pretext to discriminate against various cultures, groups and races. There are Thank GOD some exceptions to At Will such as…

  • the employer and employee have a binding written contract.
  • an implied contract even if no written one exists.
  • the employer engaging in unlawful discrimination, like age, gender, disability or race.
  • a violation of public policy. My boss can’t fire me because I wouldn’t lie about his embezzlement of company funds.
  • “promissory estoppel”. You relied on a promised employment condition that your boss failed to follow through on and it I caused you some damage or injury.

    Sometimes things happen to employees that are unfair, unjustified, unpleasant or insulting. Nonetheless, this doesn’t make it unlawful discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the (ADEA) Age Discrimination in Employment Act says discrimination involves:

    • disability (mental or physical)
    • age
    • gender or sex
    • religion
    • race

    For job seekers and employees in these “protected classes”, workplace discrimination can be hidden or in your face. Disparate treatment means the job applicant or employee is treated differently from other applicants and employees. The U.S. Supreme Court defined “disparate treatment” in the groundbreaking McDonnell Douglas v. Green civil rights case of 1973.

    Disparate treatment is people being treated differently with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment because of their race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age and mental or physical disability. Employees or job seekers, who have been denied equal treatment because of prior discriminatory practices or policies, must be given equal opportunities that were in place for other employees or job applicants during the time of discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines for proving discrimination in the workplace are threefold:

    • Were you treated differently
    • Was there an employee in the same or similar job
    • Does the employer have a nondiscriminatory reason for the negative employment action taken against you.

    The EEOC will make a determination based on the proof we as employees must be prepared to give. There are two methods employees must use to prove workplace discrimination. We will need direct proof and indirect proof.

    Indirect Proof

    • Am I in a protected class (race, gender, disabled, age, religion)?
    • Am I qualified for the job?
    • Did the company take a negative action against me?
    • Was I replaced by someone who is not in a protected class?

    If the answer is yes to these questions, the EEOC may presume discrimination. However, indirect proof may not be enough.

    Direct Proof

    • Comments made or actions taken by the employer, vendors, customers other employees
    • Witnesses to discrimination
    • Inconsistent follow through of company policies and procedures
    • emails, memos, letters, notes, employee handbooks
    • tape recordings

    My fellow employees here is a great tip!

    One of the strategies I used to help me in gathering proof of discrimination was sending and responding to emails from my manager that required a response from him. Using email with a required response created a nice paper trail that revealed…

    • my employer’s “bad faith intent towards me.
    • my employer’s ignorance, arrogance and incompetence in attempting to violate my basic employee rights.

    Your company or organization will always have a “just cause” explanation for taking adverse action against you with the EEOC. Your next step will be to prove the reason was a “pretext” or excuse for workplace discrimination.

    You will be required to show the reason…

    • does not line up with the facts
    • was not enough to justify the action taken
    • was because of your protected class
    • was a pretext by presenting powerful direct and indirect evidence

    Unfortunately, discrimination in employment is on the increase. Employees and job seekers, here is my most powerful and important tip! There are 3 things that give us a huge advantage when it's time to prove workplace discrimination

    1. Learn your basic employee rights before accepting employment!
    2. Most managers and supervisors do not know basic employee rights!
    3. Companies usually assume you don’t know your basic employee rights!

    I have proven these strategies in my own employment experience, I KNOW they work when properly applied. Oh and by the way, when it becomes necessary, always seek the advice of a qualified employment law attorney to assist in protecting your rights in the workplace.

    My page on proving discrimination provides more great info on the How To in protecting your basic employee rights.

Author's Bio: 

Yancey Thomas Jr. has functioned as a certified and trained mediator in alternative dispute resolution of employment and general civil issues for over 10 years. He is a national panel mediator/neutral through the Cornell University Alliance for Dispute Resolution with emphasis on employment/workplace disputes. As an employee, he has a unique perspective on how to prepare for employment. Yancey's you can learn basic employee rights site offers the job seeker and employee more information on achieving workplace success!