Key Evidence in a California Employment Discrimination Case
Key Evidence in a California Employment Discrimination Case

Key Evidence in a California Employment Discrimination Case

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination in the workplace, but not all adverse acts by an employer are actionable. To prove an employment discrimination claim, it is generally necessary for an employee to show that he or she was subjected to adverse employment action because of membership in a protected class. Like any legal action, meeting this burden of proof requires a plaintiff or claimant to present evidence to support the allegations. In employment discrimination claims, there can be multiple challenges in obtaining the necessary proof, but there are strategies for overcoming the legal hurdles. An experienced employment discrimination lawyer can assist with gathering evidence and filing a claim, but it may be useful to review the types of information that are key to meeting the legal burden.

Direct Evidence Can be Scarce

The most compelling form of proof in an employment discrimination case is direct evidence, such as letters, emails, memos, and notes that discuss the adverse action taken for discriminatory reasons. Statements from supervisors, managers, and others having oversight may also be proof of discrimination if they openly communicate adverse action due to an employee’s membership in a protected class.

The problem with obtaining direct evidence is that it is difficult to come by. Employers know they can be held accountable for employment discrimination, so they train their supervisors and managers to avoid making statements or sending written communications.

Solid Circumstantial Evidence May Be the Key

In the vast majority of claims, it is necessary for an employee to present proof of employment discrimination through indirect means. The US Supreme Court developed a test whereby employees  can raise a legal presumption of discrimination by proving certain factors, including facts that show:

  • The employee is a member of a protected class based on sex, disability, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, or age;
  • The worker is qualified for the position, such as by having the proper credentials, training, education, and other characteristics;
  • The employer took an adverse action against the employee by firing, failing to promote, reducing hours, lowering salary, denying benefits, changing work conditions, or other types of misconduct; and,
  • A person who is not a member of the employee’s protected class was hired as a replacement.

Still, proof with respect to these elements only gives rise to a legal presumption: It does not win an employment discrimination claim. An employer can – and most certainly will – rebut the presumption by attempting to show legitimate reasons for an adverse employment action. Employees must expect to follow up with evidence that the employer’s proffered reason for the adverse employment action is untrue, and that the true reason is discriminatory.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Employment Discrimination Attorney Today

Please call 1-415-551-0885 or go online to set up a free case evaluation with the employment discrimination lawyers at Minnis & Smallets, LLP. We can provide more information on employee rights and legal remedies for discrimination in the workplace.

facebook twitter instagram

Recent Posts

Call Us!



Our Team

Our Awards


If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

  • Please note that we are not able to schedule a consultation with an attorney for every matter. If we are able to schedule a consultation, then the initial consultation will be at no charge unless we specifically advise otherwise prior to the consultation.

Attorney Advertising. This information is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results and testimonials are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of the outcome of your case, and should not be construed as such. Past results cannot guarantee future performance. Any result in a single case is not meant to create an expectation of similar results in future matters because each case involves many different factors, therefore, results will differ on a case-by-case basis. By providing contact information, users acknowledge and give explicit consent to be contacted via the methods of communication provided, including SMS. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary. Reply STOP to opt out.

NUVEW | Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved | Accessibility Notice | Privacy Statement