How To Show You Have Suffered Discrimination
One of the challenges in employment cases involving discrimination is that usually, the employer has all the evidence of the discriminatory action and the motive. Proving discrimination is a time-intensive and fact-specific task. Employers generally do not admit to wrongdoing of any kind. Attorney Kavaja knows this and can examine your facts to determine the best method to use to demonstrate the discrimination you have suffered.
There are a variety of methods that may be used to demonstrate you have suffered discrimination in the workplace, including:
- Direct and circumstantial evidence: Direct evidence is evidence that “if believed, results in an inescapable, or at least highly probable, inference that a forbidden bias was present in the workplace.” – Wynn & Wynn, P.C. v. MCAD, 431 Mass. 655, 666-667 (2000). Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, is evidence that, when the circumstances are looked at as a whole, will show a jury what is really going on.
- Disparate treatment: A way to prove illegal employment discrimination. An employee who makes a disparate treatment claim alleges that he or she was treated differently than other employees who were similarly situated, and that the difference was based on a protected characteristic.
- Disparate impact: In employment law, this refers to practices in employment that adversely affect one group of people of a protected characteristic more than another, even though rules applied by employers are formally neutral.
- Pattern or practice: Plaintiffs in employment discrimination may prove discrimination by showing that the defendant employer engages in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination. This theory is often advanced in addition to disparate treatment and disparate impact claims.
An additional type of discrimination involves individuals with handicaps. The issue is whether an employee was able to perform the essential job duties. This is explained in the Massachusetts case of Gannon vs. City of Boston, 476 Mass. 786, 794-795. There are two general categories of handicap discrimination cases, which differ according to the explanation given for the adverse employment action by the employer. These are:
- Category 1: The employer denies that the employment action was motivated by the plaintiff employee’s handicap and contends that the action was either based on other conduct by the employee, such as insubordination, poor job performance or chronic tardiness, or resulted from a reduction in force that was unrelated to the plaintiff’s handicap.
- Category 2: The employer admits that the adverse action was taken because of the plaintiff employee’s handicap but contends that the employee is not protected under the statute because the employee was not capable of performing the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodation, and therefore is not a qualified handicapped person.
In this type of case, the employee needs to make a basic showing of four elements: The plaintiff employee must show that he or she suffered an adverse employment action; that he or she has a “handicap,” as defined in G. L. c. 151B, § 1; that he or she is a “qualified handicapped person,” as defined in § 1; and that the adverse action was taken because of his or her handicap.
Attorney Kavaja understands this material may be confusing. He can help you understand what this means in your specific case and what your legal options are in dealing with discrimination or other issues involving employment law.
Call Today To Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one has suffered some discrimination in the workplace, Kavaja Law can help you deal with complex legal questions and work to resolve your issue. Contact the office in Boston today at 617-515-5545 or fill out the contact form.