Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Was Treated Differently From My Coworkers. Can I Sue For Discrimination?

            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.

Donna’s tips:
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.

1 comment:

I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.