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Proving a Claim of Employment Discrimination

In Georgia, employment discrimination claims are decided under federal law, which prohibits treating people differently based on race, sex, age, religion or national origin. However, not all management actions that an employee may consider unfair rise to the level of illegal discrimination. Proving discrimination requires presenting persuasive evidence that the conduct in question would not have occurred but for the employee’s membership in a protected category.

If you suspect unlawful discrimination, you initiate your claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will require proof of the following:

  1. You are a member of a category protected under federal law based on your sex, race, national origin, color, religion or age.
  2. Your employer took adverse action against you but not against other employees of similar position, rank or job duties who are not in the same category.
  3. There was no legitimate, job-related reason for the disparate treatment.

Since no employer will admit a discriminatory motive for a job action, your case must be supported by objective evidence. By consulting with an experienced Georgia employment discrimination attorney you can identify potential sources of evidence, including testimony, documents and statistical data.

Occasionally, a manager or employer will give direct evidence of employment discrimination. This can happen if the person relays that the employee, who is over 40, is going to be let go as part of the company’s attempt to have a “younger” or “more lively” appearance. Direct evidence can also be found in internal notes and communications, such as emails and text messages among managers, which may reveal a discriminatory intent.

Circumstantial evidence of employment discrimination may also be available. This can include performance reviews and other proof that an individual was qualified for and good at his or her job yet was treated less favorably than similarly or less qualified people who were not members of the same protected class. Sometimes there is evidence that other members of the protected class were also treated worse than non-members.

In larger companies, statistics about the demographics of the workforce can also be circumstantial evidence of discrimination. For example, are white employees promoted at a higher rate than employees of color? Are women given raises at a slower pace than male counterparts in similar jobs? If so, further analysis may disclose that there is company-wide discrimination against a protected class.

In some cases, it may be possible to prove discrimination by showing that an employer’s facially neutral policy had a disparate impact on a protected group, even if there was no discriminatory intent. For example, if introducing a requirement that all employees have college degrees would result in a greater proportion of African-American workers being let go, the policy may constitute race discrimination unless the employer can demonstrate a business justification.

The Reddy Law Firm, P.C., located in Suwanee, has wide experience representing Georgia residents in employment discrimination cases. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call 678-629-3246 or contact us online.

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    11175 Cicero Drive
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