Understanding Prima Facie Case of Discrimination

Understanding Prima Facie Case of Discrimination

In courts, prima facie is a Latin term that means at first glance. It is used to describe how claims are proven in courts. In order to proceed on a claim, plaintiffs must have a minimum amount of evidence to prove their cases at trial unless the defendants present evidence at trial that contradicts it.

Establishing a prima facie case of discrimination

In order to establish a prima facie case in an employment setting, a plaintiff must have enough evidence to show that they were discriminated against by their employer for a prohibited reason. If the employer is not able to show evidence that contradicts it, the employee plaintiff will likely win. A prima facie case of employment discrimination may be shown by proving the following:

  • The worker is a member of a protected class.
  • The worker had all of the qualifications for the job.
  • The employer rejected the worker despite his or her qualifications.
  • The employer then continued looking for applicants who have the worker’s qualifications.

Categories of prima facie discrimination

There are several categories of prima facie discrimination. Employers are forbidden from discriminating against workers or applicants because of their race, age, national origin, sex, disability, pregnancy and others. Prima facie discrimination may exist in any of these categories, but they may require different elements to prove them.

The elements of the different types of prima facie discrimination are subject to modifications based on the specific category. For instance, workers who are older than 40 must show the previously discussed elements along with the fact that the employer hired a younger worker for the job despite the older worker’s qualifications. In other words, it will take more than showing that you are a member of a protected class.

Remedies for prima facie discrimination

There are numerous remedies that might be available in discrimination cases. Employees may recover damages for the losses that they suffered, including lost wages, job reinstatement, recovery of benefits and injunctive remedies to prevent future discrimination.

Getting legal help

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you, an experienced employment attorney at Swartz Swidler can assess whether or not you have a prima facie claim. Contact the law firm of Swartz Swidler today to learn more about your rights in your case. Your attorney will want you to bring documentation to your consultation to help assess the legal validity of your claim.