Career Woman

How do you identify if someone is experiencing gender discrimination?


Most employers understand the need to treat all their workers with dignity and respect. They do it to conform with the law and to sustain the productivity of their workforce. Unfortunately, some employers do not take this responsibility seriously. They allow individuals to engage in behavior that is unfair, inappropriate, and illegal. Anyone who discriminates on the basis of gender is breaking the law. Companies who tolerate such behavior can be held liable for damages. If you have been discriminated against because of your gender, you do have legal options.

What is gender discrimination?

This form of discrimination occurs when someone is denied employment, promotion, or any other kind of advancement owing solely to their sex. It can be as unsubtle as a male manager refusing to promote a woman because he thinks only men should be in such positions or as subtle as requiring one dress code for men and another for women.

The effects of sex discrimination

1. Endless conflict

Sex discrimination can tear apart teams, groups, and entire companies. It sows seeds of distrust, enmity, and factionalism. If the women in a company feel that they are being unfairly treated, they will eventually confront management about it. Such confrontations will divert the attention of employees from the work they should be doing to the internal conflict that has been initiated. And such conflicts inevitably pit co-workers against one another—to the point where people start caring more about office politics than they do their work product.

2. A hit to productivity

Most people want to do their jobs. They don’t want trouble; they don’t want to create a lot of drama. But if they are being unfairly treated, the same people will feel that their contributions are not valued. They will be distracted and unable to do their best. This will lead to a decrease in their productivity and the productivity of the company.

3. Legal liability

Sex discrimination is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A company can be sued and forced to pay damages if they are found to be in breach of this law.

How to know if gender discrimination exists in a workplace

There are ways to determine if sex discrimination exists in a workplace. You should look for the following signs:

1. Unequal pay and benefits

Employees doing the same job, with the same tasks, duties, and responsibilities, should be paid the same amount of money. This is the law. Unfortunately, a gender wage gap persists despite it. Recent data shows that women workers make 80% of what their male counterparts in the same positions make. It is difficult to find out who makes what in any given company. But if gender pay discrepancies are found, the law is being broken and the company can be sued.

2. Inappropriate remarks

Women workers must be addressed in the same manner as their male colleagues. They should not be called “honey” or “sugar” or any other pet name. Allowing this to happen keeps women from being taken seriously and makes it harder for them to be effective in positions of authority.

3. Glass ceiling

The glass ceiling is a phrase that refers to the capricious and unfair barriers that prevent women from advancing from mid-level to senior-level positions. It is discriminatory. Women cannot be denied promotion owing solely to their gender. Glass ceilings tend to exist in workplaces that have directly or indirectly created conditions that negatively impact only women’s chances for promotion. Employers must take reasonable steps to eliminate such barriers or be held liable.

4. Positional stereotypes

If the management in a workplace runs the business on the assumption that there is men’s work and women’s work, then they are breaking the law. Microagressions such as gender stereotypes will inevitably lead to choices that favor men over women for certain jobs, and this is discriminatory.

5. Double standards in the execution of employment contracts

Men and women cannot be treated differently in the execution of employment contracts. If, for example, certain jobs are given to men rather than women because it is assumed that the former can put in longer hours to complete them expeditiously, the person who makes such a decision is breaking the law. It is a decision that discriminates against both men and women employees.

6. Dress code

Employers can set a dress code, but it must apply to both men and women. Employers cannot force women to wear sexually revealing clothes. Doing so violates their civil rights and opens the door to unwanted sexual advancement and a hostile work environment.

7. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is illegal in its own right; it is also a form of sex discrimination. A company that allows gender-based comments, intrusive questions, unwanted touching, threats or bribes of a sexual nature, crude and sexually charged jokes, stalking, and other forms of harassment can be sued.

What to do if you are discriminated against

If you have been the victim of sex discrimination, you do have legal options. Before you launch a formal accusation against your employer, you should retain the services of a gender discrimination attorney. You should also prepare for the coming confrontation by gathering and preserving as much evidence as you can. Send all emails, text messages, and voice mail to your private account. For once you make a move against your employer, you may be shut out of your office accounts.

During your initial consultation, your lawyer will ask you to describe specific incidents, statements, and actions of sex discrimination. These may be painful and embarrassing for you to recall, but you should be as specific and forthright as you can. The legal strategy that is subsequently formulated by your gender discrimination attorney will be based on these statements.

Organizations tend to respond to such accusations with quickness and vigor. You should refer all communications and correspondence from your employer to your employment lawyer. You should never sit down alone with any representative of the company to discuss the issue without your lawyer present.

In some instances, the company may offer to settle the dispute with money. If the offer compensates you for the opportunities lost owing to the discrimination, agrees to reinstate you without prejudice, and presents a plan to change the way it enforces equal opportunity, then your lawyer may urge you to accept. However, if the company refuses to acknowledge the validity of your complaints, then you will need to sue.

How west coast employment lawyers help

West Coast employment lawyers are trained to help ordinary workers get justice. Filing a lawsuit will give the legal team assigned to your case the power to depose witnesses and subpoena company documents. Your gender discrimination lawyer will be able to ask pointed questions of other women employees. They will also be able to gather emails and text messages between male members of your organization, some of which may prove the existence of systematic sex discrimination.

Your lawyer will also employ private investigators to look into the backgrounds of the people you have identified as the main culprits. It is likely that women employees they have worked with in the past had experiences similar to yours, and they can testify on your behalf.

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