Employment lawyer sitting with client

Documents You Need to Prove Employment Discrimination

By Douglas Lipsky

Employees who experience discrimination at work need documents and other evidence to prove they were treated unfairly because of their race, gender, age, or another protected characteristic. With the help of an experienced employment discrimination attorney, you can collect all the evidence you need to prove your claim. 

Let’s take a look at the documents and any other evidence that will play an important role in the outcome of your employment discrimination case. 

Performance Evaluations

Companies typically give employees an annual performance evaluation to rate their work and results. These evaluations can be very important evidence to counter an employer’s defenses against employment discrimination. In particular, a history of positive performance evaluations will discredit an employer’s explanation for an adverse employment action against the employee, such as denying a promotion or terminating employment due to poor job performance. One common tactic is for an employer to retaliate against an employee who complains about discrimination or harassment by suddenly giving them a negative evaluation. 

Electronic Communications 

Email, chats, and other types of messages regarding projects or workplace decisions can also be very helpful in an employment discrimination claim. For example, if an employer claims that an employee was denied a promotion because they performed poorly on a specific project, but the employee has emails from their manager praising their work on the project, the emails may help to prove they were denied a promotion because of their race, gender or for another discriminatory reason. 

Arbitration Agreement

Many employers require new hires to sign employment agreements that include an arbitration provision. New York amended Section 7515 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) in 2018 to prohibit forced arbitration of harassment claims and expanded that prohibition to discrimination claims in 2019. However, the courts have disagreed as to whether that prohibition was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act. 

On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021” into law, which essentially bars employers from forcing sexual harassment claims to be resolved through arbitration. Moreover, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not bound by arbitration agreements. 

If you are considering taking legal action against an employer for discrimination, harassment, or other misconduct, an experienced employment lawyer can help to explain your rights under an arbitration agreement and explore all your legal options. 

Prior Discrimination Lawsuits Against The Company

Evidence that the company has previously been the subject of employment discrimination lawsuits can also help to support your claim. If the court admits this type of evidence, prior lawsuits may establish a pattern of discriminatory conduct by your employer. 

The Takeaway 

If you have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment, the above-mentioned documents can be a deciding factor in the outcome of your case. By working with an experienced employment lawyer, you can collect all the necessary evidence and increase the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.