Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The quality of evidence is crucial in employment law claims

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Firm News

In Oregon and across the United States, employees are being given more outlets to lodge complaints about employment law violations committed by their employer. This stems from greater attention being paid to various issues employees face including discrimination based on race, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and more. It is also relevant for cases involving sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

Despite the issue being taken more seriously, a greater understanding as to its pervasiveness and the damage it can do, many workers are still being mistreated. Often, they are uncertain of the steps available to them to lodge a complaint.

In addition, they might not know how to accrue evidence to prove their allegations. A fundamental part of a successful case is to ensure the threshold for quality of evidence is met.

EEOC guidelines detail evidentiary requirements

The quality of the evidence is based on four factors: material evidence. relevant evidence, reliable evidence and quantity of the evidence. When making a complaint or charge that a person’s employment rights were violated, they need to understand what each category means and gather evidence to prove their case.

Material evidence relates to the issue itself and how the employer responded. For example, if a person was discriminated against because of their age and were not treated in the same way as other workers were because of it, then this could show there was age discrimination.

Some workplaces function under the impression that work that uses new techniques older people are unfamiliar with precludes them from performing the job. If they use age as the determinative factor, that could be construed as discrimination. Showing that the worker was qualified to perform their duties and there was no reason other than age for them to be denied opportunities as they came up can help with the case.

Relevant evidence should prove the employee’s complaints. This can be viewed in the same category as material evidence, but as the investigation commences, its relevance will be assessed.

The reliability of the evidence is key and hinges on how trustworthy and dependable the source is. A person who is denied promotions and claims it is because of their race could show that they were treated differently than other workers who performed the same duties and got similar or worse results.

That can happen in a job in retail jobs where their number of sales is generally how they are judged. Someone with less experience and fewer sales being promoted over the individual with the better numbers could be viewed as evidence. Of course, untoward comments about a person can factor in and be used as evidence of discrimination. The evidence must also be of sufficient quality. Records from the job including the worker’s productivity and reviews can be helpful. So too can testimony from fellow employees and supervisors who might have witnessed or be aware of discriminatory acts.

Accruing evidence is crucial to a case

People who have had their rights violated and are considering an employment law case will have a lot to consider. The negative implications from being judged not on the work a person does but on other factors are significant. Discrimination and other forms of employment law violations should not be tolerated.

Having enough evidence to prove the case is foundational to reaching a positive outcome. This can be confusing to some, but it is imperative to act quickly to ensure all the necessary steps are taken to prove what has taken place. This can be a vital part of holding employers accountable.