In society today, diversity has become a very important topic in the workplace. While there is no doubt today’s modern work environments are more diverse than ever, that does not mean they are perfect. Unfortunately, they are far from it. Whether it is in large corporations or small local businesses, gender discrimination continues to exist. In fact, a recent survey discovered that despite their many career advances, women still earn only 82 percent of what men do for doing the same job. Due to this being a persistent problem in so many workplaces, it is crucial employees, managers, and business owners alike all have a better understanding of the causes and effects of gender discrimination, as well as some of the remedies to address these concerns.
How is this Discrimination Defined?
When defining discrimination based on one’s gender, it is done so by stating it is the unfavorable treatment of another person due simply to their specific gender. However, it is important to note that this treatment applies not only to employees, but to those who may be applying for a job.
Under-representation in the Workplace
When this type of discrimination occurs, one of the primary causes is women being under-represented in the workplace. Common in such industries as auto and construction, this can result in a variety of problems. Since it is likely men in these industries will not have views toward women that are open-minded and progressive, the result can be nonstop tension and conflict on the job. Thus, once a negative work environment is created, the result is usually less production, meaning lower profits for the company.
Male Executives Refusing to Hire or Promote Women
While the vast majority of this type of discrimination occurs in male-dominated industries, there is still plenty of discrimination based on one’s gender to go around to other workplaces as well. In many cases, even in companies that are relatively diverse, male executives or supervisors will be hesitant to hire women for certain jobs, or to promote women into managerial positions. In most instances, this is because they view women as being less capable or too emotional to handle these jobs. If you feel as if you have been denied a job or promotion due to these factors, contact a gender discrimination lawyer at West Coast Employment Lawyers.
Devaluing the Contributions of Female Employees
When this form of discrimination exists within a workplace, one of the most damaging results is female employees having their contributions to the team being devalued. If this occurs, it almost inevitably leads to various types of conflicts, disagreements, and tensions among team members. In addition, the focus of each workday usually shifts from completing the tasks at hand to what actions will need to be taken by the women against the discriminatory practices. Along with this, those females whose contributions are being devalued begin to feel less motivation to perform their jobs at the highest levels, leading to less productivity and other problems.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
While problems with conflicts among team members and employees having little motivation can be serious issues for any company, they don’t begin to compare with the problems that can ensue should the employee or a job applicant decide to hire a gender discrimination attorney and take legal action. If they do, they will have the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on their side. This federal law, which makes discrimination based on a person’s gender illegal, can lead to serious legal repercussions for a company. In these instances, a complaint will be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, better known as the EEOC. If this is done, the EEOC will conduct an investigation and issue its findings, which could be just what an employee or job applicant needs to pursue a lawsuit.
Increasing Workplace Diversity
To solve the problem of discrimination due to a person’s gender in the workplace, many companies large and small are now starting to implement a variety of innovative solutions. For example, for companies that are in male-dominated industries, many are now choosing to change experience requirements for certain positions. By reducing or eliminating various requirements, companies can more easily open themselves up to having more women in their workforce. This can be especially helpful to women who perhaps have been staying at home raising children for several years, and now wish to re-enter the workforce. By eliminating experience requirements and instead offering on-the-job training to applicants, more females are able to enter jobs in the auto industry, building trades, and manufacturing environments.
Seminars and Workshops
Along with making it easier for women to re-enter the workforce or find their way into traditionally male-dominated industries, many companies are also choosing to conduct seminars, workshops, and training classes on workplace diversity and discrimination based on gender. Consisting of classroom instruction, role-playing episodes, and other activities, male employees in these learning environments get a chance to not only learn about how this type of discrimination can impact their workplace, but also get a sense of how those being discriminated against feel in these situations. In many instances, a gender discrimination attorney may also be brought in to instruct employees not only on how to spot signs of this form of discrimination, but also the legal consequences that can be brought against themselves and their company.
What About Transgender Employees or Applicants?
While most discussions of discrimination based on gender focus primarily on women, more and more companies are now having to also have plans in place to deal with discrimination against transgender employees or applicants. Just as with men or women, transgender individuals are also protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and can also file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, since this is a relatively new problem in the modern workplace, many employers still have little idea how to handle these situations. Due to many transgender individuals identifying themselves as “non-binary,” meaning they see themselves as neither male or female, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of current anti-discrimination laws and practices. Therefore, while employers should do everything possible to make accommodations for these individuals, it is also a good idea to consult a gender discrimination lawyer for help on these matters.
Ultimately, the goal of helping male employees in particular learn about discriminating due to another person’s gender is to help male and female employees become allies in the workplace. Rather than continually having conflict and tension on the job each day, men and women in any industry can work together in a positive, motivated, and appreciative atmosphere. In doing so, not only can a workplace and its employees have greater harmony and respect for one another, but also increased productivity and profits.
If you believe you have been discriminated against on the job due to your gender or perhaps were denied a job due to your gender, do not sit back and wonder what might have been. Instead, contact a skilled discrimination attorney at West Coast Employment Lawyers. By doing so, you will have taken the first step toward not only having your legal rights protected, but also getting the job or promotion you deserve.
Contributed by Mahmood Ahmad