Most suits for non-harassment discrimination fall within the category of “disparate treatment.” This means that you were treated differently than similarly situated employees under the same circumstances. You will have to prove:
1. You were in a protected category. These categories are race, age, sex, religion, national origin, pregnancy, color (meaning shade), genetic information and disability. Some states have other categories, such as marital status or sexual orientation.
2. You were treated differently than someone else in a different category under the same circumstances, or you were turned down for a position or promotion you were qualified for and it was given to a less qualified person.
3. You complied with the administrative requirements of filing with the correct agency.
Your employer will have to come up with a so-called “legitimate reason” for the action they took. This doesn’t have to be a good reason, just one that might be motivated by something other than discrimination.
Then, you’ll have to prove that the “legitimate reason” was really pretextual, and the real reason was discrimination. In the case of age discrimination, you’ll have to prove it was the only reason.
a. If your company is starting to document discipline on you, then keep good records of why their accusations aren’t correct.
b. If you’re keeping notes, records or other documentation of discrimination, keep it in your purse or your pocket and take it home. Don’t leave it in a desk drawer. If you are fired, the company will keep it.
c. Don’t assume your friends and coworkers will tell the truth. Most people will lie to save their jobs. Rely on your own documentation as much as possible.