Legal Advice

Employment Law Case: How to Win with 5 Types of Proof

over the shoulder of two clients in a meeting with an attorney.

There is no one surefire way to win an employment law case, but there are some things you can do to give yourself the best chance at success. One of the most important things is to gather substantial evidence

Regardless of what case you’re facing, you must always have all the information you need to support your claim. Understanding the types of admissible evidence and how to collect it can assist you in achieving the best possible outcome.

There are five common types of proof that are commonly used in employment law cases:

1. Direct Evidence

This evidence includes documents, photos, and other items that speak directly to the facts. If you witnessed an incident or an employee confession and want to use it as evidence, it would be considered direct evidence. Besides visual proof, correspondence can also be used as direct evidence.

Emails can be considered direct evidence if they are relevant to the case and if they have not been tampered with in any way. They can prove that an employer has communicated with an employee about work-related matters or that an employee has sent or received work-related emails.

Emails that are commonly seen in employment law disputes include:

  • Emails demonstrating that the company retaliated against or unlawfully dismissed an employee. For instance, emails commending an employee's efforts might refute accusations that the employer terminated him or her due to poor performance.
  • A record of correspondence proving that an employee worked extra and wasn't paid for it with the supervisor's knowledge;
  • An email from a manager confessing to safety violations, such as not vaccinating staff against the COVID-19 virus or failing to follow other safety norms;
  • A coworker or boss who uses an email to conduct workplace harassment or discrimination, such as employing slurs against a protected class;
  • A supervisor engaging in sexual or quid pro quo harassment by emailing an existing or potential employee;
  • A supervisor who threatens an employee for filing a labor law complaint or pursuing legal action;
  • Emails suggested that employees complained to Human Resources about labor law violations, but the company did not handle the complaints.

As with emails, if you suspect that your employer would admit to criminal action by text or phone, you should consult with an attorney. This is also true if you wish to retain any existing text messages. If you have legal representation, they will be able to assist you in preserving evidence without breaking any privacy rules.

This rule of thumb also applies to communications sent via Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, among others.

2. Circumstantial Evidence

This evidence of an indirect, or inferred, nature. For example, suppose a witness saw two employees outside the building during their lunch hour. In that case, the circumstances may suggest that they are having an affair, even if a witness did not observe the two employees in the act.

One example of circumstantial evidence that can be used in an employment law case is evidence that the employee has been working at the company for a certain amount of time. You can use this to show the employee is trustworthy and reliable and that the company is not likely to be punished if they are found to violate their contract.

3. Documentary Evidence

This includes evidence such as newspaper articles, medical reports, photographs, police reports, and things of this nature. Besides supporting your claim, it can also be a means to provide factual information when you’re contradicting a statement from the defense.

An example would be records of formal complaints about labor law violations filed to Human Resources. Those records are great documentary evidence when filing a legal suit or complaint. Filing a complaint allows the organization to address the issue and provides the employee with a paper trail. This is crucial evidence if the organization doesn't take the right steps to counteract illegal behavior.

You can also use photo and video evidence of labor law violations, such as an embarrassing photograph posted on the bulletin board to make fun of a protected class or a characteristic. It acts as evidence of a hostile work environment. Similarly, employer-posted notices in common areas like breakrooms ordering employees to act unsafely, avoid discussing pay, work through breaks, or otherwise act against labor laws can be powerful evidence. 

In cases where an employee believes surveillance video may have captured illegal acts, such as employees working through breaks, staying after hours without pay, or displaying acts of harassment, video evidence may also be invaluable.

4. Eyewitness Testimony

An eyewitness is someone who testifies to what they saw or heard. This type of testimony is the most common but can also be the weakest because it is easily doubted.

Your case may benefit greatly from the testimony of a coworker or supervisor who is prepared to get up and speak on your behalf. Ask trustworthy colleagues whether they would be willing to assist you in proving your case and if so, connect them with your attorney.

Witness evidence is important because it can add credibility to the plaintiff's claims about the employment law violations being tried in court. 

5. Expert Witness Testimony

An expert witness is an individual who has significant experience in a specific field and can offer valuable insights into the field of employment law. Expert witnesses are often called witnesses in employment law cases to provide testimony that may help the court decide the case. 

Expert testimony is also particularly helpful when dealing with complicated scientific or technical issues.

An example is if your case revolves around discrimination against a protected class, such as your gender or sexual orientation, your attorney may call in a testifying expert on these issues to give an opinion on the validity of your claim.

Employee Law Attorneys to Help You Get Justice

Gathering as much evidence is critical to your case. A skilled attorney can help you turn the evidence you already have into a successful outcome for your case. Employment law disputes can often get complicated, which is why experts like the ones at Mendez & Sanchez Law are available to help. 

If you or someone you know has been involved in a labor law violation, contact our skilled and compassionate Los Angeles workers' compensation lawyers for a free consultation. We can guide you through the whole procedure and ensure you get the compensation you deserve!

If you or someone you know has been involved in a labor law violation, contact our skilled and compassionate Los Angeles workers' compensation lawyers for a free consultation. We can guide you through the whole procedure and ensure you get the compensation you deserve!

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