How Discrimination Cases Are Decided

How Discrimination Cases Are Decided

How Discrimination Cases Are Decided

New Mexico Employment Discrimination Attorney

The Legal Process in Workplace Discrimination Lawsuits

If you’ve been the victim of disparate treatment in the workplace because of age, gender, disability, race, gender identity or sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy or other prohibited classification, chances are you’ll have to file a lawsuit to effectively resolve your claim. In New Mexico, you may be able to do that in state or federal court, as the state has its own anti-discrimination statute. It’s important, though, to understand what a discrimination lawsuit involves and how these cases are ultimately decided.

How Is a Claim Initiated?

As a general rule, to have your discrimination claim considered by the court, you must show four things:

  • You were qualified for a job
  • You experienced disparate treatment, either in the job application process or while on the job. That may include denial of promotions, raises, benefits, scheduled hours, work assignments or even office accommodations.
  • The disparate treatment was based on your membership in what is considered to be a protected class under the law. Suspect classifications include age, gender, race, disability, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity and pregnancy. In addition, you cannot be treated differently in retaliation for reporting discrimination, for certain types of whistleblowing or for filing a valid workers’ compensation claim.
  • The disparate treatment must give rise to an inference of discrimination

To demonstrate the inference of discrimination, you can typically make reference to:

  • Actual statements of management or others
  • The timing of the act—for example, did it happen shortly after an employee came out as LGBTQ
  • The inconsistency of the reasons given for the action—if management asserts one reason in the immediate aftermath, but later alleges another reason
  • The fact that the position was filled by a person not in the suspected class, or that persons not in the suspected class were not subjected to such actions

If you make these showings, the burden of proof then shifts to the employer. The employer’s task is pretty straightforward—give a reasonable explanation of why the action was taken. At that point, your attorney can introduce evidence to challenge or contradict the alleged reasons for the discriminatory acts.

In the American civil justice system, the jury makes determinations of fact and the judge rules on issues of law. Ultimately, the jury will determine whose story is deemed most believable. The court will provide the jury with instructions regarding how the facts must be applied to the laws, essentially directing the jury to make certain legal determinations based on their findings of fact.

Contact an Experienced New Mexico Employment Discrimination Attorney

At Buchanan Law, with our principal offices in Albuquerque, we bring more than 20 years of hands-on experience to individuals in New Mexico who have been subjected to workplace discrimination. Attorney Deena Buchanan has a thorough understanding of the laws and the court system in New Mexico, and knows how judges in New Mexico perceive discrimination claims. A highly experienced trial lawyer who has successfully served as counsel on numerous complex high-stakes employment law disputes, she’s respected by clients, colleagues and judges for her poise and composure in the courtroom. She’s litigated employment issues in many states, working directly with representatives of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in those jurisdictions.

At Buchanan Law, we know that every discrimination claim is unique. We’ll listen carefully, so that we can learn the specific details of your case and tailor our efforts to get the results you want.

If you have been the victim of discrimination on the job in New Mexico, we can help. To determine if you are eligible for a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 505-900-3559. All major credit cards are accepted. We can meet with you outside of work hours, if necessary.

Buchanan Law—When You Need a Tough Lawyer on Your Side

Get in Touch





Office Address

5345 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Suite 202
Albuquerque, NM 87109