How To Prove Retaliation After Reporting A Case Of Discrimination

Posted on: 8 March 2021

You have the right to report discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, some employers will not respect this right and will try to retaliate as a result of your report. If this is the case, you may need to consult with an attorney who has experience with retaliation cases. 

Protected Activities

While your employer is allowed to punish you or even terminate employment for your actions, they are not allowed to retaliate against you for certain protected activities. This includes your attempt to report discrimination against yourself or another party. 

Retaliation can be a very broad topic because it can be any actions that affect your mental or emotional well-being and can also include actions that affect your workplace condition. For example, you may not be demoted or experience a pay cut, but you may find that your employer interacts with you in a much more hostile manner. While these behaviors are against the law, they can be difficult to prove.

When You Can File a Claim of Retaliation

If you believe you are being retaliated against, you must first prove that you reported an incidence of discrimination, that your employer retaliated as a result, and that you suffered damages as a result of the retaliation. 

Most importantly, the incident you reported does not have to be accurate. For example, you might report what you believe to be an incident of discrimination, and the authorities might determine that no discrimination occurred. However, if your employer retaliates you for this report, you may still make a claim of retaliation. 

How to Prove Damages

If you are earning lower wages as a result of the act of retaliation, you can present pay stubs that show that you were earning more money prior to the discrimination report than afterward. Changes in your other benefit plans or policies can also be a sign of retaliation. 

For other forms of retaliation, you may need help from witnesses. However, the judge who is evaluating your case will consider you to be the most important witness. They will listen to what you have to say and will decide whether your testimony is credible.

What to Document

Make sure to document everything you experience and log your complaints with HR so you can have a paper trail. Any performance reviews you receive will also be important evidence to support your claim that you are being discriminated against. If you are not sure if a document will be helpful, make sure to bring it up with your retaliation lawyer.