Most Rhode Island employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on an employee’s race, age or other protected characteristics. However, it can be difficult to prove that you were demoted, transferred or terminated based on one or more of those attributes. Fortunately, there are several pieces of evidence that you can use to bolster your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Digital communications can be powerful
Text messages, emails or other digital conversations can serve as powerful proof that your manager engaged in discrimination. For instance, a text message may contain language implying or implicitly stating that you are going to be fired because of your race, gender or age. Social media posts or other online chatter may also be used as evidence in court even if those posts weren’t directed toward you in particular.
Performance reviews may be used against your employer
A company may try to justify terminating or demoting an employee because of poor performance as opposed to any type of workplace discrimination. However, a court will typically be skeptical of a poor performance review given just days or weeks before you were terminated. They may be even more skeptical if you had a series of glowing reviews prior to the poor report.
Point to patterns in personnel decisions
It may be possible to prove that you were discriminated against by using other cases involving others with similar characteristics. For instance, if you allege that you were terminated because of your age, a court may place weight on a report showing that the company had few workers over the age of 50. If you were a woman, you may bolster a gender discrimination claim by pointing to the fact that females were rarely given raises or promotions despite their performance.
If your discrimination claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for back pay, value of benefits lost or other damages. Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to resolve the matter by talking with your supervisor or filing a charge with the EEOC.