Fedweek Legal

When an individual files a discrimination complaint, the individual often seeks compensation for emotional distress and physical and/or emotional pain and suffering. During the investigation of a discrimination complaint, the employee must provide evidence to support his claim for compensatory damages. The documentation should be specific, should identify the exact damages, and should explain how those damages are directly related to, and caused by, the alleged discrimination. The focus should be on the nature, scope and duration of the harm.

In seeking compensatory damages, the employee should provide the following: medical reports from treating health care professionals that describe the diagnosis, the symptoms, when the symptoms appeared, how long the symptoms last, the employee’s medical history, the prognosis, medications and the treatment. The most important element, however, is to show that the discriminatory conduct caused the condition. Doctors’ reports and medical records are tremendously helpful in proving this.

Evidence does not have to come from a doctor or nurse. Any objective evidence can help, such as the testimony of a spouse or close friends, co-workers or spiritual advisors who can talk about how the employee has changed because of the discrimination, such as mood swings or changes in sleeping habits, eating habits or weight.

Employees may also claim that workplace discrimination aggravated a pre-existing emotional condition. In such cases, the employees should provide a full description and history of the pre-existing condition and how it was aggravated by the allegedly discriminatory conduct. Additional helpful documents include proof of medical treatment and related leave records.

** This information is provided by the attorneys at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., a law firm dedicated to the representation of federal employees worldwide. For more information on Passman & Kaplan, P.C., go to http://www.passmanandkaplan.com. **