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How should you document workplace discrimination?

When you go to work, you want to freely do your job without your employer or coworkers subjecting you to discrimination. Any form of discrimination, no matter how severe, can make it harder to complete your job and maintain your mental health.

In the United States in general, and specifically in the State of California, you have the right to work without discrimination. If you believe you have become the victim of workplace discrimination due to your religion, sex, color, gender identity, disability, national origin or another protected status, you should document both physical and indirect evidence.

Physical evidence

Physical evidence refers to any documentation that backs up the discrimination. For example, physical evidence may include text messages, emails, written letters or voice recordings that are discriminatory toward you.  When physical evidence exists in your case, you should make efforts to preserve it in its original form.

Indirect evidence

Comparatively, indirect evidence refers to any form of proof that is not physical. In order to gather this, you will need to record it yourself. For example, you can write down summaries of conversations you have with an employer, which included discriminatory content, making sure to note the date and who was involved in the conversation.

Although physical evidence is very valuable in proving a case, indirect evidence is more common and easy to come by. Simply put, employers and managers who are aware of discrimination laws are less likely to provide any physical evidence. Ultimately, any record you can provide, whether of physical or indirect evidence, will be helpful.

Collect your evidence

When allowed to continue, discrimination in the workplace can result in emotional pain and suffering, loss of income because of denied promotions and other consequences, including loss of income because of terminated employment. If you believe discrimination is occurring against you at work, start collecting indirect and physical evidence as soon as possible.


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