What Gender/Sex Discrimination in the Workplace Really Looks Like
The statistics associated with gender or sex discrimination in the workplace are almost hard to believe. But while 42% of US women have said they’ve faced discrimination in a work environment because of their gender, there still seems to be some grey area as to what can be interpreted as discrimination or not when it’s happening in their own office.
Under the federal law known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination of any kind based on sex, race, color, national origin or religion is prohibited by employers of 15 or more employees. This also protects job applicants, unpaid interns, volunteers and contractors working under that employer.
Similarly, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, or PHRA, prohibits the same discriminatory practices by employers in the state of PA. It was enacted in 1955 under the belief that the denial of equal employment results in individuals not being utilized to their fullest potential and deprives them the ability to maintain decent standards of living, which as a result has a direct effect on public health and welfare.
In today’s work environment, it’s too common to see or hear about individuals experiencing sexual harassment, job insecurity and low pay by or compared to their gender counterparts. And while every situation is different, it’s not always clear what this means.
Sex/Gender Discrimination is the act of treating individuals differently in their employment specifically because they are a man or a woman. This includes everything from preventing an employment or promotion opportunity, getting fired, receiving less pay or different benefits due to your gender. Here’s what some of these instances may look like:
Employment or Promotion Rejection/Firing
-You have the right experience and qualifications for a job, but your employer feels that the clients are more comfortable working with men.
-During company cutbacks, a less qualified male with less seniority keeps their job while you are laid off
-After years of proving your qualifications, you’ve applied for promotions that were instead given to a less qualified men.
-You’re asked questions like “do you have or plan on having children” during your interview
-Stating or suggesting a preferred genders in a job advertisement
–You’ve worked your way up from assistant to director, while a recently hired male with similar experience will be getting paid more than you in the same position.
-As a top salesperson, you are given a less favorable territory and client base than a man with much less sales credentials which will lead to better commissions in the long run
– Your company’s health insurance does not cover your spouse under the assumption that he has his own benefits, while your male coworkers’ wives are covered
-While your husband is in between jobs, you’re stuck paying increased health coverage on his behalf while your male coworkers do not for their wives.
While not all these types of discrimination solely apply to women, a recent survey by Pew Research Center showed that women were twice as likely as men to say they’ve experienced one of eight forms of gender discrimination at work. These forms of discrimination include feeling isolated in the workplace, experiencing repeated small slights at work, being passed over for important assignments and being treated as incompetent.
Employment discrimination comes in many forms, but it’s important that you feel safe and comfortable in your workplace. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of employment discrimination or are being wrongfully accused by an employee or coworker, contact our experienced attorneys at Charles Law to discuss your situation and fight for your rights.
Midwest New Media. (n.d.). Sex / Gender Discrimination – Workplace Fairness. Retrieved September 13, 2018, from https://www.workplacefairness.org/sexual-gender-discrimination#1
Parker, K., & Funk, C. (2017, December 14). Gender discrimination comes in many forms for today’s working women. Retrieved September 13, 2018, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/12/14/gender-discrimination-comes-in-many-forms-for-todays-working-women/
PA.Gov. (n.d.). The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Retrieved September 14, 2018, from https://www.phrc.pa.gov/Resources/Law-and-Legal/Pages/The-Pennsylvania-Human-Relations-Act.aspx