Using indirect evidence in discrimination cases

If a California employee is involved in a workplace discrimination case, there may be strength in numbers. Specifically, people may have better odds of succeeding if it can be shown that others were discriminated against as well. For instance, a minority worker may want to show that other minorities were passed over for positions while women may want to show that females were treated worse than males.

Such circumstantial evidence is critical to proving a case because direct evidence is rarely available. Most employers are not going to say that a job wasn’t offered specifically to minorities or that women don’t get promoted because of their gender. Instead, a plaintiff may need to gather indirect clues that a workplace decision was made with the intent to discriminate.

It is important to note that the Supreme Court considers the treatment of other employees neither admissible or inadmissible per se. Such evidence is more likely to be heard in a given case if the decision maker was the same in several instances where a certain race or gender was discriminated against. Furthermore, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has ruled that discrimination cases may also be viewed in the light of how an employer treats workers of other races or genders.

If an employee feels that he or she has been the victim of workplace discrimination, legal action may be possible. An attorney may be able to help show that a company violated employment law by denying a promotion or for other reasons. This may be done by looking at hiring patterns or how others with protected attributes were treated by an employer. If successful, a worker may be entitled to compensation for back pay and other damages.

FindLaw Network