What Kind of Evidence Can Be Used in a Discrimination Case?

What Kind of Evidence Can Be Used in a Discrimination Case?

When you have been subject to discrimination while applying for a job or while employed, it is critical to find out if you can file a claim for compensation for the losses resulting from discriminatory behavior prohibited under state and federal law. Many employees and job applicants in the Chicago area are unsure if they have enough evidence to prove employment discrimination, and they do not know how to hold an employer accountable. Our Chicago employment discrimination lawyers have years of experience handling cases involving various types of discrimination, and we can help you to build a case.

In the meantime, the following are types of evidence that you may be able to use to win an employment discrimination claim in Chicago.

Direct Evidence of Discrimination in Your Workplace

When it is available, it is powerful to be able to show direct evidence of employment discrimination. Direct evidence can include any materials or documentation that demonstrates clearly and specifically that an employer or another party engaged in discrimination in your workplace. You should know that many employment discrimination claims do not have direct evidence, so you should not worry that you will be unable to win your case if you cannot produce direct evidence. However, this type of evidence can be especially useful. What does direct evidence look like? Consider the following examples:

  • Email sent by your employer that expressly indicates that you will be treated adversely based on your identity in a protected class (e.g., race, sex, religion);
  • Job ads specifying that the employer only wants people of a particular race or sex to apply;
  • Recorded phone call (assuming you had the consent of your employer since Illinois is a two-party consent state) in which your employer indicates that you will be treated adversely as a result of your race, sex, or other protected identity; or
  • Communication from a supervisor telling you that you will only be promoted or receive another benefit if you submit to a request for a sexual favor.

Indirect Evidence of Discrimination in Your Workplace

Most often, employees who have been subject to employment discrimination will have indirect evidence of discrimination. This type of evidence may suggest that discrimination occurred, but you will not have any direct, objective evidence (like the examples cited above) that clearly demonstrate discriminatory behavior. In a case involving indirect evidence, you will typically need to show the following elements:

  • You are a member of a protected class (e.g., you are a person of a particular race, sex, religion, age, or with a disability);
  • You were qualified for the job or benefit you were denied;
  • You experienced an adverse action (e.g., you were not hired, or you were denied a promotion, or you were terminated); and
  • You have evidence that suggests you experienced the adverse action as a result of protections you have under state or federal law. 

What types of indirect evidence can be used to suggest discrimination? Examples of indirect evidence can include, for instance:

  • The person hired or promoted in your place was less qualified than you;
  • Employer or supervisor has used language that suggests they hold particular beliefs about your protected class; and/or
  • Your employer or supervisor has engaged in similar behavior in the past, suggesting a discriminatory pattern.

Contact an Employment Discrimination Attorney in Chicago

If you were targeted by employment discrimination as an applicant or employee, it is critical to find out more about filing a claim under state or federal law. One of our experienced Chicago employment discrimination attorneys can evaluate your case today and provide you with more information about seeking a remedy. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline to learn more about the employment discrimination services our firm provides to clients in the Chicago area.