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The importance of documentation in employment cases

When discussing employment law issues, such as sex discrimination or retaliation, we often mention the significance of documentation to a case. While the media often likes to highlight what it may view as baseless claims, in reality, there are likely as many or more meritorious claims that are dismissed due to lack of evidence than there are innocent employers forced to pay unfair claims.

When you recognize that something has gone wrong in your workplace, and you are suffering from any form of illegal employment discrimination, that is the time to begin to keep careful and complete records of your interaction with other employees and supervisors.

If you manager or other coworkers are creating a hostile work environment or are retaliating against you for asserting your rights, your best defense is to record with precision any acts that demonstrate this behavior.

For instance, if you engage in protected workplace activity, such as reporting discrimination or union organizing, and are reassigned job duties, are no longer invited to meetings, are transferred to a different area, given less attractive shifts or few hours, such changes could all support claims of retaliation.

Keeping care notes of meetings with supervisors or managers, preserving emails or other memos affecting your job and even keeping a diary of phone conversations, noting the purpose of the conversation, any quotes you can recall and time and duration of the calls can greatly support the construction of a successful discrimination case.

You want to make your documentation as objective and straightforward as possible, avoiding name-calling or your subjective thoughts on motivation. If you are suffering genuine discrimination, your record of "just the fact" may speak volumes and could help you to obtain a favorable outcome in any necessary litigation.

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