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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > General > The Use of Circumstantial Evidence in a Case of Employment Discrimination

The Use of Circumstantial Evidence in a Case of Employment Discrimination


San Jose employment attorney

Employment discrimination cases cover a wide range of characteristics, having to do with age, sex, race, and ethnicity, among others. However, proving discrimination can be difficult to do. As a San Jose employment attorney can explain, if there is no direct evidence of discrimination, the case can be proven using circumstantial evidence.

Another term for this kind of evidence is “prima facie” evidence. Essentially, prima facie evidence is sufficient to raise a presumption or establish a fact unless it is rebutted or disproved. The employee will have to do two things. The first is to establish that employment discrimination took place. The second is to refute or rebut the employer’s argument that it had a non-discriminatory reason for its decisions or actions.

Factors that Establish Whether You Have a Case

There are four things that an employee will need to demonstrate to establish a prima facie discrimination case:

  1. The employee belongs to a legally protected class.
  2. The person was fully qualified for the position that he or she either sought or held.
  3. The employee was subjected to a detrimental employment action such as a refusal to hire, dismissal or passed over for advancement.
  4. Other individuals outside of the protected class were not the subject of the detrimental action.

Once the employee makes the case, the employer will have the opportunity to present its non-discriminatory and legitimate reason for the actions it took. The employee will have a chance to make an argument to challenge the employer’s reason for its action.

While other courts have decided that prima facie evidence is sufficient as long as it is enough to permit a jury to disbelieve the argument presented by the employer.

Talk to a San Jose Employment Attorney

If you have suffered from employment discrimination, you may want to meet with a San Jose employment attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case, review the evidence and help you file a lawsuit. To speak with San Jose employment lawyers, please call the office of Lori Costanzo at 408-993-8493.

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