If you experience a violation of your rights at work, it’s important to contact an employment discrimination lawyer. Kansas City offers attorneys who specialize in workplace harassment, unfair treatment, and systematic discrimination. When you meet with a lawyer, it’s essential to compile as much information as possible, so you can get the legal advice you need to build a case. Workplace discrimination impacts many employees, which can lead to devasting effects when no action is taken.
We consider workers’ rights and employment fairness a priority. If you experience discrimination on the job, there are important steps to take before meeting with one of our Kansas City attorneys. These steps will give you the advantage in any case, whether you settle with your employer or in court.
How to Build Your Case With the Help of an Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Consult with an Attorney
Are you uncertain about whether an incident at work is considered discriminatory? When you contact a lawyer for a free consultation, you’ll learn how to proceed and the next steps you need to take. If other employees have experienced similar discrimination, it’s important to mention this during the initial call, as their experiences can help build a much larger case than expected.
Employment discrimination attorneys can give you a solid idea of what to expect and the strength of your case. They will also provide a quick overview of how to build your case by collecting documents, statements and recording incidents as they occur.
Record Incidents of Workplace Discrimination
Report Workplace Discrimination to Human Resources
Most workplaces have policies that require employees to report incidents involving harassment and discrimination. This process gives your employer a chance to resolve the matter before legal action is needed, and it can strengthen your case if no action is taken. Once you file a complaint, you can expect to meet with human resources and provide further details. It’s important to summarize these events as well, as your employer will also maintain records.
If further investigation is required, your employer may initiate this process, often with a neutral third party. During the investigation, it’s important to cooperate and note any further incidents if they occur. If your employer is handling your complaint unfairly, it’s vital to note any discrepancies in the process.
Collect Documents and Reports
Gather every document that pertains to work, including items the company’s rules, any disciplinary warnings or reprimands, performance evaluations, and memos. In many cases, you’ll have access to these documents by email or through the company’s website. If workplace discrimination involves direct communication through a written memo, make a copy and file with other related documents. You should note verbal comments as accurately as possible.
Your employer’s human resources department keeps detailed records of all reports. For this reason, you must keep as many documents as possible, including internal memos (including policy changes), handbooks that detail the workplace policies, rules, and procedures. Letters of communication, copies of work assignments, and related correspondence may also help build your case.
Researching Your Company’s History of Discriminatory Practices
Identify Witnesses and Individuals Involved
Many incidents of discrimination occur in front of other employees or associates. For this reason, it’s important to make a note of anyone who’s directly involved in these incidents. Workers who observe wrongful treatment should also be listed, with as much information as possible, including names, their position, and contact information. Your attorney may ask you to summarize how each individual may respond to the situation and whether they are “friendly” or cooperative.
If a witness is willing to provide a written statement, this can significantly help your case. It’s important to ask them within a short time, as memories fade over time, and their recollection of events may not be as accurate later. Each statement should include specific statements or actions. Your statement should avoid making general assumptions about management’s practices or employees. Statements signed by witnesses and a Notary Public are ideal for providing maximum support.
Other Employees Impacted by Workplace Discrimination
If your workplace has a record of unfair practices, you’ll likely find coworkers with similar grievances. It’s important to identify which employees are mistreated similarly to you and ask them to provide statements about their experiences. Each account should be factual, with as many details as possible, including the date and time of each mistreatment. Avoid the inclusion of angry or opinionated statements that can overshadow the specific incidents that relate to the case.
Multiple statements from more than one worker can paint a bigger picture that’s helpful for your lawyer, the court, and any third-party investigators. If a supervisor or manager makes insulting or discriminatory remarks to several employees, it is important that everyone impacted makes a statement, even individuals who are not directly impacted. Paraphrasing or quoting specific remarks made by the offending parties is important to understand the overall situation.
Contacting a Union Representative
If you work in a unionized environment, there may be an agreement that requires you to contact a union representative about workplace discrimination. They may offer some useful resolution tools in some cases, which may involve mediation through a neutral third party. If you’re unsure of what your union or workplace offers, it’s important to inquire so that you know how to proceed.