Discrimination in the workplace is an egregious practice that can harm a person’s ability to support themselves and fully pursue their career. If you have been discriminated against, an employment discrimination attorney in Jackson County, Missouri can help you prove your case. With sufficient evidence, you may be eligible for several types of compensation including back pay, front pay, punitive damages, and reinstatement.

How to Gather Evidence of Discrimination in the Workplace

Most companies receive coaching from their own legal teams when faced with a discrimination lawsuit. Your best strategy is to work with a skilled attorney of your own who can help you collect enough evidence to overcome the defense’s arguments. In a discrimination case, acceptable evidence falls into two categories:

Direct Evidence

Direct evidence is proof that an event occurred. In the case of workplace discrimination, direct evidence can include statements, emails, recordings, and other types of communication which state the intent to discriminate. Direct evidence can come from employers, managers, supervisors, and other individuals. For example, direct evidence of discrimination could include an email from your manager letting you know that you were let go because, as an older employee, you do not fit with the company’s youthful image.

Circumstantial Evidence

Legally, circumstantial evidence is evidence that proves facts by which another fact can be reasonably deduced. In other words, rather than prove discrimination directly, circumstantial evidence can lead a court to conclude that your employer likely discriminated against you. In an employment law case, both direct and circumstantial evidence are acceptable. Since most employers are trained to avoid discrimination lawsuits, most of the evidence you are able to collect will probably be circumstantial.  

What Is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Your attorney will help you collect evidence based on the legal definition of discrimination and the laws designed to protect you. Discrimination is defined as an adverse action against an individual based on characteristics that make that individual part of a protected group. By law, employers cannot discriminate based on:

  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Genetic information
  • Age
  • Pregnancy status
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Marital status

Both federal and state laws exist to prevent workplace discrimination. In most Missouri discrimination cases, plaintiffs cite the Missouri Human Rights Act. If your case involves pregnancy or disability, you might also refer to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives employees the right to take up to 12 unpaid weeks off for pregnancy or health-related reasons.

How Is Discrimination Expressed in the Workplace?

In the workplace, anti-discrimination laws apply to all aspects of hiring, firing, work distribution, and compensation. If any of the following statements are true, you may have grounds for an employment discrimination case:

  • You were passed over while an employee of a different group was promoted above you
  • You were fired based on race, age, sex, or another protected characteristic
  • A company’s hiring practices resulted in members of your group being under-represented
  • You were given a lower status or assigned different work based on your membership in a protected group
  • You receive unequal compensation or benefits, including fringe benefits
  • You do not receive access to the training programs and facilities available to members of other groups
  • You were transferred or laid off as a result of your employer’s attitude towards members of your group

Employer Retaliation

Sometimes, discrimination in the workplace results in the employer retaliating against an employee for speaking out against the unfair practice. Also called whistleblowers, employees who testify against their employers are protected from being fired, demoted, or otherwise punished for their actions. Employer retaliation even includes actions that extend beyond the employee’s association with the company, such as negative reviews or the refusal to recommend the individual to other potential employers.


Harassment occurs when your employer or other individuals in the workplace create a hostile environment by directing derogatory remarks, gestures, or jokes toward you. When the source of the harassment is a discriminatory attitude, you may have a case against your company.

Discrimination for Association

If you are the target of any discriminatory practices based on your association with a member of a marginalized group, you have the right to file a complaint. There have been cases involving discrimination against an individual as a result of attitudes towards his or her spouse, friends, or other close contacts.

What Evidence Will You Need to Gather?

In a discrimination case, you will need to first show that you are a member of a group protected under the Missouri Human Rights Act, and then that your employer had no other reason to take the adverse action.


Testimonies are statements made by witnesses and people who had access to information surrounding the circumstances of the adverse action. Any testimonies from individuals who witnessed discrimination in your workplace or had similar experiences can strengthen your case, especially if their observations pertain to you, specifically. Any individuals who testify on your behalf are protected by Missouri whistleblower laws.


Documents are paper or electronic records, including emails and audio files. In a discrimination case, you may be able to present emails containing remarks that reveal a derogatory attitude towards you.

If your case involves being fired, demoted, or unfairly compensated, you will need to present the records of your contract and your employer’s subsequent actions. If your case references company policies that have a negative impact on a certain group of individuals, you should try to secure written evidence of those policies.


In some cases, you will need to prove that your company’s policies discriminate against one or more groups. Statistics regarding the demographics of the company and average salaries can be helpful in supporting your arguments. To stand up in court, statistics need to go through a process of scientific interpretation. Your lawyer can help you bring in expert witnesses who can provide the correct analysis.

Disproving Your Employer’s Arguments

If your case goes to court, your employer will be given an opportunity to state an alternative reason for the allegedly discriminatory practice he or she engaged in, and you will need to have enough evidence to overcome this counterargument. Especially if you brought on a case because you were not hired or promoted, you will need to show that your level of education, skill, and experience was comparable to the other candidates.

Get Your Case Evaluated by an Employment Discrimination Attorney in Jackson County, Missouri

Employment law is highly nuanced, and your employer is likely trained to avoid and respond to discrimination lawsuits. Additionally, discriminatory practices can be elusive, having real-world consequences yet leaving little direct evidence. Having an attorney on your side can help you gather other types of evidence that have a big impact while adhering to legal standards.

Our firm offers free case evaluations. We will take the time to discuss the incident you experienced and your chances of successfully filing a claim or bringing a lawsuit against your employer. Our track record includes securing multi-million dollar settlements for clients who we represented in employment law cases.

Workplace Discrimination is Unacceptable

 You have the right to work in an environment that is free of all forms of discrimination. Our attorneys have extensive experience going up against large employers and winning. To secure expert representation by an employment discrimination attorney in Jackson County, Missouri, contact Holman Schiavone, LLC.