Discrimination is not only morally wrong, it is often illegal. This is especially true in the workplace.

If you or someone you know has suffered discrimination at work, or in the hiring process, you could have a valid legal claim. That applies to any retaliation from your employer, or your prospective employer, for standing up to discrimination and harassment.

Thanks to Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace anti-discrimination rights have been enshrined into law. This does not, however, mean all claims will be honored. There are four criteria that must be met in every successful case, with the employer then having an opportunity to respond.

First, a claimant must be a member of a protected class. These are primarily based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.

Next, the person claiming discrimination had to be qualified. Did he or she meet all stated criteria for employment? Was this person performing competently? This would have to be documented in some manner.

A discrimination claimant would then have to show that they were rejected from the position, or passed over for a promotion, demoted, or fired in spite of meeting the employer’s standards.

Finally, an individual from outside the claimant’s legally protected class would have had to be hired or promoted in his or her place. For example, if a man was promoted over a pregnant woman with a history of meeting her employer’s expectations then a claim might be warranted.

Once these four elements are met, the employer can present evidence showing his or her actions were non-discriminatory and justified. For instance, if the employer fired a person of color, he or she might produce documents showing repeated instances of poor performance.

However, the employee would have an opportunity to rebut the employer’s defense. If the employee was fired for poor performance, with the help of an experienced employment law attorney, the employee may be able to show that other employees with the same performance record were not fired, or perhaps the employee was unfairly targeted in a performance review.

We know this question may raise more questions than it answers. When your job is at risk you have too much at stake to not get the answers you need. Do not wait to contact us with your questions to schedule a free case evaluation today.