Discriminatory Promotion Claims


I think I did not get the promotion because I'm a woman, how do I prove it?


To prove a claim for wrongful denial of promotion, you must show all of the following:
(1) that you were a member of a protected group (i.e., a woman);
(2) that you were qualified and applied for promotion to a position for which your employer was seeking an applicant;
(3) that you were rejected despite your qualifications; and
(4) that men with similar qualifications were promoted at the time your request for promotion was denied.


Must I show that I took proactive steps to get the promotion, and that I was qualified?


Yes. You must show that you took proactive steps to get the promotion. You may do this by providing proof that you actually applied for the position. To succeed on a claim you must also show you were qualified for the position. Your employer may have educational and experiential requirements for a specific job that will legitimately exclude you from a promotion if you do not meet them. For example, if a specific job requires a certain level of education and you have met the minimum educational requirement, but a male counterpart has even more educational experience in that field, your employer may have a legitimate reason for hiring your male counterpart.


Must I show that my employer sought a replacement with similar qualifications?


Yes. One of the essential elements of proving your claim of a wrongfully denied promotion is that someone who was similarly situated to you was granted the promotion instead of you. If you fail to establish that you were similarly situated as a male co-worker who received the promotion or was more seriously considered for the promotion, your claim will fail. To determine whether you are similarly situated, you must evaluate the educational and experiential levels of yourself and the applicant who received the promotion. If you find that those levels are substantially similar, then you may have a claim of wrongful denial of promotion.


What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to their denials?


If you establish the minimum criteria for a discrimination claim, the burden then shifts to your employer to present a legitimate reason for its failure to promote you. For example, your employer may establish that you received poor work evaluations or you had other work-related problems. You will ultimately have to persuade the court that your employer's reasons for not promoting you were not legitimate and that the actual reason was intentional discrimination based on your gender.


Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?


Yes. You must sign and file a verified complaint in writing with the Missouri State Human Rights Commission ("the Commission") within one hundred eighty (180) days of the alleged act of discrimination. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say.


What options do I have if I my employer has fewer than 6 employees?


If your employer has fewer than six (6) employees you may not sue under the Missouri Human Rights Act. However, you may have other options. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say.If I prove my wrongful denial of promotion claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?


You may be entitled to injunctive relief or monetary damages. For more information, please see Remedies.



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