image of woman looking to the side as coworkers are talking behind her back

What Kinds of Documentation Can Prove Discrimination?

Although New Jersey employers have made substantial progress in addressing workplace discrimination, sadly, this practice continues to happen. Consequently, state and federal laws exist to protect employees against all types of discrimination. 

If you’ve been a victim of discrimination in the workplace, you’ll need to provide evidence of the discrimination to pursue a valid claim and hold your employer accountable.

Because discrimination can happen in many ways, not one case is ever the same as another. Evidence in a discrimination claim will vary greatly and depends on the unique circumstances. 

If you’ve experienced discrimination at your job, an employment law attorney can help you gather the appropriate documents and present a case against your employer.

Workplace Discrimination in New Jersey

All types of workplace discrimination are prohibited under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The LAD makes it a serious legal offense for any employer to deny privileges, rights, or services based on protected categories. 

In addition, federal protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act establish a strong foundation for protections against discrimination and are generally the basis for most claims against employers.

Some examples of protected categories include: 

  • Race and ethnic origin
  • Religion 
  • Gender and sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability 
  • Pregnancy

Protections in the workplace apply to almost every aspect of a worker-employee relationship, such as job benefits, hiring and firing, conduct, discipline, and role assignments. If you’ve been the victim of harassment or discrimination at work, you’ll need to make a formal report to the appropriate body.

Documentation to Support a Discrimination Claim

As with any legal claim, evidence is key in proving that a violation occurred. Courts and investigative agencies will need any combination of the following documents and other elements to support your claim:

Employee Files

In some cases, copies of your personal work record can help establish a pattern of bias or discrimination.

Often, employers will maintain written records outlining disciplinary actions, performance evaluations, pay increases, assessments, and training. 

Pay stubs and financial records may also be helpful whenever your discrimination claim relates to unequal pay.

Human Resources Documents

Most companies will have a dedicated human resources (HR) department that handles employee-related matters such as hiring, disciplining, and payroll. 

In many cases, the HR department also distributes workplace policies through handbooks that outline discrimination and harassment. Other times, companies may even provide workplace training to address discrimination.

Whenever companies have internal anti-discrimination policies, you can present these as added evidence in your claim. 

Personal Diary or Journal

When you are dealing with systematic discrimination or sexual harassment, personal diary entries can be excellent resources that document the precise moment, locations, and accounts of when the discrimination occurred. 

When you log instances of discrimination, you can help provide a more comprehensive view of what happened and when. 

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence is one of the essential elements in proving a discrimination case. Some examples of physical evidence include:

  • Photos or videos
  • Text messages and emails
  • Voicemails
  • Notes and objects
  • Printed materials

Even if the evidence is a stark reminder of gross misconduct, you’ll need to safeguard it to ensure you have a strong claim against the perpetrators of the discrimination you suffered.

Witness Statements

Witnesses, such as coworkers or clients, can help support many discrimination claims.

If someone else can support your claim and provide testimony about the discrimination, you can significantly improve your chances of finding relief.

An attorney can help interview witnesses and obtain the most fundamental information on their behalf. You’ll also want to provide updated contact information should they be summoned for in-person testimony or deposition. 

NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC represents victims in workplace discrimination claims across New Jersey. If you suffered discrimination, contact us today for a free case evaluation.