How do I Prove Discrimination at Work?

Tara Barnett

In order to prove discrimination at work, you must collect sufficient evidence to convince the relevant party that discrimination has occurred. The types of evidence that will convince a jury are different than the types that will convince your superiors in the office. Even so, it is best to collect the most convincing and comprehensive forms of evidence possible no matter where the case will be considered. More generally, in order to prove discrimination at work, you must also prove that the discriminatory actions had negative effects on your person. Not all areas recognize discrimination in the same way, so making sure that the discrimination you experienced is actually illegal is also important if you wish to take the case to a court.

Sexual harassment often occurs in office settings.
Sexual harassment often occurs in office settings.

When trying to prove discrimination at work, the most important step is collecting and preserving evidence. This is the most important step because if the case boils down to the accounts of the victim and the perpetrator, it can be very difficult to win the case. Evidence comes in many different forms, from witness testimony to emails and memos. Making a file that organizes all the evidence is a good way to preserve your future options and help a lawyer build a strong case.

Depending on the type of discrimination, it is sometimes more difficult to prove discrimination at work.
Depending on the type of discrimination, it is sometimes more difficult to prove discrimination at work.

You must be sure to prove not only that the perpetrator in question was of a discriminatory mindset, but also that he or she acted on that mindset. For example, it is not enough to prove that the perpetrator holds racist thoughts. He or she must act on the racist thoughts in a way that has physical, monetary, or social effects on the world. Simply holding discriminatory thoughts is not usually enough to constitute discrimination at work.

Depending on the type of discrimination, it is sometimes more difficult to prove discrimination at work. For example, hiring decisions are often complicated and depend on many factors. Even when a case might seem to be discrimination from one perspective, it can be honorable from another. Discrimination that takes the form of harassment is much easier to prove, particularly when the harassment can be documented.

When trying to prove discrimination at work, it is important to be sure that discrimination has actually occurred. If, for example, you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your age but it turns out that the problem was actually experience, you can be at a disadvantage in the future in your job. As such, it is very wise to approach collecting evidence for a discrimination case very discreetly. Discrimination is a serious problem, and all cases of discrimination should be prosecuted, but it is important to protect your interests should you change your mind about the case.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Work discrimination and harassment are difficult to prove, especially if you are the only person being discriminated and harassed by everyone inside the office. You cannot prove such thing exists, especially if they have already made a campaign to discredit your mental and intellectual abilities. Your credibility had been ruined, your work had been sabotaged, your career is ruined and there is no way or no person to trust. You can never prove anything if everyone around you is against you. Your word will never win over theirs.


@burcinc-- There are laws against wage discrimination and if you can prove this, I think you have a very good chance of winning a case against the employer. I urge you to speak to a lawyer about the best way to prove this.

I'm not a lawyer but as far as I know, patterns are important. So your lawyer may suggest getting in touch with the other female employees at the workplace to find out if they too are being paid less than male colleagues for the same jobs. If that's the case and if you ladies file a case together, you will have a better chance at court. Don't do anything without getting some legal advice first though.


I think I'm being discriminated against. I'm one of the few women at my workplace and I've found out that I make less money than a male colleague who is doing the same exact job. What do I do now?


I like that this article has made the point that one may think that there is discrimination when there isn't. It can be difficult sometimes to understand why an employer is acting in a particular way. Those belonging to minority groups or a certain gender may feel that they are being discriminated against because of these things. But it's possible that that's not the case at all.

So it's a good idea to look for any evidence of discrimination, but to do it discreetly in case it doesn't exist. If one does realize that the employer wasn't actually discriminating, having negative communication with the employer isn't a good idea.

Post your comments
Forgot password?