If you have filed a discrimination claim against your employer, you know the decision was not an easy one. It is natural to feel scared or intimidated if you are going up against your employer in court, alleging that you are a victim of discrimination.
Once your claim is filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), you may be scheduled for a hearing. The following tips will help you prepare for your EEOC hearing and increase your chance of success.
Gather and organize your exhibits
Your hearing is going to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who will base their decision on the evidence.
Evidence can include documents and witness testimony. Having complete and organized documentation is extremely important. An ALJ who receives incomplete or disorganized documents may have a harder time understanding the case.
Documents can include pay stubs, annual reviews, employee handbooks, emails or anything else in writing you believe proves your discrimination claim.
Talk to many potential witnesses
Identify potential witnesses early in the process. You may only need one or two witnesses to testify, but it is best to talk to several people that you think would be good witnesses, since some of them might be nervous about testifying if they still work for your employer.
Practice your testimony with your witnesses. The hearing itself will be similar to a courtroom proceeding. Your witnesses will be asked questions by your attorney and your employer will ask them questions under cross-examination.
Preparing your witnesses for the questions they are likely be asked will make their testimony appear more detailed and credible.
Know what you must prove
Finally, although this may sound like common sense, know the law. Establishing discrimination requires proving certain elements.
Your testimony and evidence should be geared toward proving these elements. An attorney with a practice focused on employment law can help you learn what to expect and advocate for you at your hearing.