Discrimination is a very real and very serious problem for people who have been identified in a protected class under state and federal laws. California happens to have one of the most expansive sets of protected classes, which include unlawful discrimination based on race, nationality, age, disability, sex, sexual identification, military service, and status as a domestic violence victim (to name a few).
When you experience discrimination from your employer, you often know what it feels like and what it looks like. Unfortunately, there is much more to proving discrimination than your gut feeling. You have the burden to link your employers decisions and actions to the unlawful consideration of your protected class. Long story short, you will need an attorney and you will need to help build proof of discrimination through documentation.
Before you consult with your attorney, consider gathering the following:
· If you have already lodged a discrimination complaint within your HR department without satisfactory results, retain all letters, emails, and correspondence that you received regarding your complaint.
· Get your employee handbook. This can help to establish whether your employer has adequate anti-discrimination policies and whether the policies were followed.
· Request a copy of your personnel file. You have a legal right to request it. This will provide valuable background and foundational evidence, such as a pattern of disciplinary actions.
· Put everything you possibly can in writing. This means for important matters, you should correspond by email. Written proof is a lot more compelling and convincing to a judge or jury than people giving conflicting testimony about a conversation that took place a long time ago.
· Keep a journal with significant dates and notes. Write down significant events, what happened, who was present, and what was said. Providing you attorney with a list of witnesses can be invaluable to building a case.
· Save all of your documentation, emails, texts, social media postings, and recordings of any voice messages that relate to discrimination. This includes events and communications that occurred during and after work hours.
· Any medical or mental health records. It is common for victims of discrimination to experience emotional and physical trauma due to the discrimination. If you have sought medical or mental health treatment, keep documentation.
Contact Moss Bollinger
If you have been the subject of employment discrimination, you need to speak with an attorney. Federal laws offer broad legal protections against discrimination. California expand on these laws and provide one of the strongest collection of anti-discrimination authority in the country. Since 2008, attorneys Ari Moss and Jeremy Bollinger have aggressively advocated for the interests of employees against discrimination. We work on a contingency basis, which means we do not get paid unless you do. Call our office at 800-249-1175 for a free consultation or reach us online.