Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 4 minutes
How to Prove Workplace Discrimination in California

If you are a victim of discrimination in the workplace, speak to a knowledgeable attorney about the possibility of obtaining legal relief. An experienced attorney can identify your legal rights and knows how to prove workplace discrimination in California. The Law Offices of John Dalton can help you get the results you deserve in an employment discrimination case. John Dalton does not tolerate mistreatment in the workplace and has used his decades of experience to protect the California workforce. 

Signs of Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is any unequal treatment of an employee (or potential employee) because of one of the following:

  • Sex/Gender,
  • Race,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Disability,
  • Sexual Orientation,
  • National origin,
  • Religion, 
  • Age (40 or older), 
  • Color, or 
  • Genetic information. 

If you were harassed, fired, denied a job or promotion, disciplined without a valid reason, denied benefits, or otherwise mistreated because of one of the protected characteristics listed above, you are a victim of workplace discrimination. And if you have any thought that discrimination is at play in adverse actions taken against you at work, you should immediately call us about your experience. 

Discrimination is not always obvious, but there can be subtle indicators of illegal bias in your workplace. Comments from an employer or its agent that stereotype or target you based on one of your protected characteristics might prove that your employer has a discriminatory motive in any actions it takes against you. And if your employer does not betray its motives with its words, you might still find bias in your employer’s actions. When similarly situated employees are treated differently, and the only relevant difference between them is their sex/gender, race, religion, etc., there’s a good chance that unlawful discrimination has occurred. For example, if your supervisor, or a boss, treats you differently because of your gender as compared to other similarly situated employees (i.e. unwanted attention, flirting), you likely are a victim of sexual harassment.

Victims of workplace discrimination have legal rights to relief under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under FEHA and Title VII, employees can recover lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and legal fees. You can recoup these remedies through a lawsuit

Evidence Needed to Prove Workplace Discrimination

When you have trouble at work because of an employer’s illegal bias, please call us.  We will review your case and identify the bias, then we will work to prove it. An employer’s discriminatory intent through direct evidence, indirect evidence, or both. And these tasks are best handled by a seasoned attorney.   Therefore, it is important to call us as soon as you believe you have been a victim of any type of discrimination or harassment.

Direct Evidence

Direct evidence of unlawful bias can include the following:

  • An employer’s use of slurs that reference one of your protected characteristics; 
  • Stereotyping comments regarding your religion, race, sex/gender, disability, etc.; and
  • Discriminatory, non-verbal conduct (e.g., hand gestures intended to mimic the shape of male or female anatomy or gestures meant to depict stereotypes about physical characteristics of a racial group).

If you are aware of any of the above conduct, or any other type of conduct you believe is discriminatory, please contact us, either by phone or through our website. If any of the above conduct is in writing, you should save it. 

Indirect Evidence

To indirectly prove workplace discrimination, there must be disparate treatment between you and your similarly situated coworkers or that your employer’s “neutral” policies had a disparate impact on members of a protected class. A skilled lawyer can help you compile and present this evidence.  We can help, so contact us by telephone or through our website.

Disparate treatment

Disparate treatment is when other employees in your same (or a similar) position are not treated how you were treated.  For example, if you are a competent employee who was fired for being late a handful of times, while employees of a different gender/race/age/sexual orientation, etc., are chronically late and have not faced discipline, this is likely unlawful, disparate treatment. Another example is if your employer has not promoted qualified employees from your racial group for decades, that could also be proof of disparate treatment. Another example is women, or just you as a female worker in the workplace, being sexually objectified in the workplace in the form of sexual harassment.

Disparate impact

Sometimes an employer doesn’t intend to discriminate against employees, but its policies have that effect. For instance, an employer might have a strict grooming policy that requires all men to report to work clean-shaven. This policy could significantly impact men of African descent because of a higher incidence of a skin condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae among that group of individuals. And if an employer’s shaving policy is not a business necessity and a disproportionate number of employees of African descent have been punished for not shaving, the employer might be liable under Title VII or FEHA. 

Documents that can prove disparate impact or treatment

Indirect evidence that can prove disparate impact or disparate treatment discrimination includes personnel records, records regarding your employer’s history, employer guidelines, and studies regarding the needs of different protected groups. Much of this evidence can be challenging to access on your own. An employment discrimination lawyer often has the best tools to collect the proof an employee needs to achieve a victory in a discrimination case. 

Talk to the Law Offices of John Dalton

John Dalton has over 24 years of experience representing employees in workplace disputes. John has also set records with some of the largest employment law verdicts in California. If you are facing a discriminatory employer, John can protect you and maximize your damages. Call us or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
    • Contact Us for a Consultation Schedule your free consultation.