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How to document verbal discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination

Some employers seem to think they’re above the law – and they’re bold about putting things in writing. Most employers, however, are smart enough to know that they can “say it and forget it” but “put it in print, and you’ll have to justify it in court.”

So, when you are experiencing workplace discrimination that’s largely verbal in nature, how do you gather evidence about what’s been said? 

Make use of your email and create a memo

Essentially, you can create your own electronic or paper trail by taking a few simple steps to protect yourself. 

Every time you experience verbal harassment or discrimination, immediately turn around and write up notes for yourself about exactly what was said, who was present and any other details you can remember. Then, using those notes, send out the most professional email or text message you can muster that bluntly summarizes what you were told and any understandings that were reached. Make sure that everybody who was in the meeting or encounter receives a copy of the email.

For example, your email might include things like:

  • “I was informed by my supervisor, Jane, that she doesn’t want me to take calls from my medical provider at my desk because she feels that it is “gross” and says it makes my coworkers uncomfortable. I have been instructed that I must go to the back room to make or receive any medical calls.”
  • “Jane discussed the fact that she researched my upcoming medical tests on Google and feels that I should not require a full day off, as I requested. I will still be taking the full day off, based on my doctor’s recommendation.” 
  • “I requested the use of a stool to accommodate my medical condition and fatigue. Jane has informed me that this is not a reasonable accommodation because she does not believe my fatigue is severe enough to warrant it based on her personal research. I have been denied the requested accommodation at this time.”

While this may make you uncomfortable, this kind of documentation can prove invaluable later – especially if you have to take your discrimination claim to court.


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