Most companies understand the importance of fair and equal treatment of employees in the workplace. Anyone who possess the talent, ability, and skill to do a job should be hired, and once hired the employee should be given the opportunity to perform. Women employees should not be discriminated against because of their gender. And any management team that tolerates a workplace environment that is unfair, prejudicial and hostile toward women is breaking the law.
What is Gender Discrimination?
Gender discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably because of their sex. This can happen in direct or indirect ways. Such discrimination can be as unsubtle as a male manager hiring, promoting, or showing other types of favorable treatment to men exclusively, or as subtle as managers assuming what sort of work women and men can do.
Types of Gender Discrimination
1.Not hiring a woman because the boss thinks she won’t fit into a traditionally male workplace Despite the many examples of women who have performed well in positions that were once excluded from, some men continue to believe that women should not be in certain jobs. Such attitudes are prevalent in manufacturing, mining, trucking, and other heavy industries. Some senior male academics working in science and engineering departments in universities throughout the world also hold such views and have been the subject of complaints lodged by women colleagues and students.
2.Offering women and men different rates of pay or benefits for the same job This continues to be a significant source of conflict and vigorous debate in the public sphere. The practice has been outlawed, but employers find ever-more creative ways to discriminate against women when it comes to pay. They play on the fact that most people tend to keep how much money they make to themselves, and women cannot legally compel their employers to tell them how much their male peers make.
3.Not promoting a woman to a more senior position because it’s assumed the other staff won’t respect her authority Women must always struggle for respect as they rise in rank. However, it is illegal for a woman to be denied a position because management doesn’t believe her authority will be respected. First, such a judgment is completely subjective; there is no way to know whether a leader will be respected until they are in the job. Second, it suggests that being a man is a necessary and sufficient condition for getting respect, which is obviously untrue.
4.Dividing up work tasks based on whether staff are male or female This is another example of an illegal act that is based on false assumptions. There is no such thing as men’s work and women’s work. And any employer who divides tasks along gender lines is engaging in sex discrimination.
5.Insisting women wear different clothing at work to men, for example, short skirts This falls under both sex discrimination and sexual harassment. It is the kind of thing that gives rise to a hostile work environment. Women should not be objectified in the workplace. Forcing a woman to wear revealing clothing is a subtle way of emphasizing her sexuality and denying her the opportunity to be taken seriously.
6.Not considering women for a particular role.
If a company categorically excludes women from being considered for a role, that company is in violation of the law.
The Effects of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace
Sex discrimination is not a minor problem. It creates tension and conflict in the workplace. Women who are persistently and systematically discriminated against will eventually take action. That will shift the focus from the performance of daily tasks to the conflict created by the situation. The morale of both male and female employees will go down, gender-based factions in the workplace will be created, and teams will collapse into dysfunction.
Sex discrimination will also lead to lower productivity. Women will feel less motivated to do their jobs if they believe their contributions are not valued. If the issue of sex discrimination goes unaddressed, the performance of the teams and groups within the company will continue to decline.
It must also be remembered that sex discrimination is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Any organization that tolerates such unfair treatment is legally liable. Any of their female employees can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of Sex Discrimination
If you find you believe you are being targeted and systematically discriminated against because you are a woman, you should fight back. Your first move should be to contact a gender discrimination attorney. It is unlikely that one incident, action, or statement has led you to this conclusion. You have probably observed a pattern. You should preserve as much evidence, in the form of text messages, emails, and voice mail, as possible.
During the initial consultation, your gender discrimination attorney will ask you to recall specific incidents that have led you to believe that you are being discriminated against. Recalling such things can be embarrassing and painful. However, that your gender discrimination lawyer will build against the employer will based on facts, so you should try to give as much detail as you can.
You need not file a lawsuit against the company straightaway. However, once the company finds out that you intend to hold them accountable for sex discrimination, they will push back vigorously. Do not be baited or goaded into any action that will undermine your case against them. Do not discuss your case with anyone in the company without your lawyer. And you should refer all communication and correspondence to your lawyer.
If the company offers a settlement that includes damages for past discrimination and a plan to address the unfair treatment of women in the workplace, your gender discrimination lawyer may urge you to accept the offer. If your employer insists that they have done nothing wrong and will not make any changes in their hiring, firing, promotion, and management practices, then you will need to sue.
How West Coast Employment Lawyers Win Cases
West Coast employment lawyers have the expertise and experience to help ordinary women get justice. They will gather the evidence and employ the relevant parts of the law necessary to get you justice.
Filing a lawsuit empowers lawyers to depose witnesses and subpoena documents. Your lawyer will be able to ask direct questions of the people who work in your office, which is an important part of gathering the evidence needed to sustain your charge. Your lawyer will also get copies of emails, text messages, and other documents that may show the sexist attitudes and biases of certain male managers. Your lawyer will also launch an independent investigation into the individuals who you believe are complicit in the discrimination. Professional investigators will interview past female colleagues who worked with them and will uncover any complaints that were filed.
If your lawyer is able to gather enough evidence of sex discrimination, the company may decide to settle the matter on terms that are more favorable to you. They will often prefer this to a jury trial which may go against them.