Many people experience discrimination in the workplace every day. Often, these victims do not have the tools to stand up to mistreatment. While the public focus on workplace discrimination and harassment in recent years has shed light on this issue, there is still a great deal of work to do before workers can depend on fair, equitable treatment in the workplace.

If you believe that you have experienced workplace discrimination, you may have an important role to play in steering your own work environment in a more just, respectful direction with a strong discrimination claim.

If successful, you may recover fair compensation for your mistreatment, while shining light on immature, ignorant behavior that modern workplaces should not tolerate.

Forms of documentation

Discrimination claims often come down to a case of “your word against their word,” which is not a strong place to be without any evidence to back up your claims. To build a strong case, you must provide evidence to prove the truth and significance of your claims.

Begin with your own personnel file. This will give you a broader understanding of how your employer and others view you, as well as help identify any complications that may work against you. For instance, if your file contains several disciplinary warnings or bad performance reviews, the party you accuse of discrimination may use this against you. It is important to understand these potential problems before they harm your claim.

Similarly, you should gather all the payment records that you can. If you believe that your employer’s treatment of you impacts your pay, this is particularly helpful.

You should also obtain your employer’s policies on workplace harassment and discrimination. This may be in the form of an employee handbook, or may be posted in the workplace. Understanding exactly what these policies allow and do not allow can help you create a strong narrative to support your claim.

Sometimes, there is no third-party documentation of your discrimination. Any time that you experience discrimination, it is wise to document it in writing as soon as possible. Your own journal entries may provide strong support for your claims.

In other instances, your harassment or discrimination may result in physical evidence, such as written notes, lewd pictures or other tangible evidence. Always collect this and keep it whenever possible. If you cannot physically collect the evidence, be sure to take pictures or video of the evidence with your phone, if possible.

Build a strong plan to protect your rights

You have rights in the workplace, and you deserve to protect them. Rather than work under unfair conditions or with individuals who believe that they can treat you poorly without any consequences, take the time to build a sturdy legal strategy to keep your rights and priorities secure. A strong discrimination claim not only keeps your own interests protected, it helps to create a more just workplace for all.