Gender equality in the workplace has come a long way in the last few decades, but there are still companies and managers who treat employees differently based on their gender.
Although most people think of women being unfavorably treated at work or earning less than men when they think of workplace discrimination based on sex, the truth is that gender discrimination can happen to anyone, man or woman.
Gender discrimination can be subtle, so it’s important to know some of the signs.
What is gender discrimination in the workplace?
Gender discrimination is any kind of unfair treatment due to a person’s:
- Gender identity
- Pregnancy or related conditions and needs
- Sexual orientation
These are all protected classes of employees under Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statutes and federal law. Employers that engage in sex or gender discrimination violate federal laws and can be held liable in civil court.
12 Signs of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
Gender discrimination is more than just refusing to hire someone based on their gender or firing them because of their sex. There are numerous ways employers or managers engage in gender-based discrimination, such as:
- Not hiring female applicants for certain positions
- Not promoting a qualified employee based on their gender
- Refusing to assign members of one gender to an important project
- Refusing to promote someone because of pregnancy
- Disciplining members of one gender more harshly than the other
- Going easier on members of one gender for certain infractions
- Firing employees based on gender or pregnancy
- Paying members of one gender higher wages than the other for the same work
- Giving bad references to members of one gender
- Asking a female or pregnant employee inappropriate questions
- Refusing to permit employees from taking additional training or professional education courses based on gender
- Engaging in gender-based harassment
Many types of gender discrimination aren’t overt, but if you know what to look for, you may notice a pattern at your company. For example, women are consistently passed over for promotion, even if they have seniority over men or better qualifications.
Additionally, some forms of gender discrimination may take the form of harassment, like making jokes about women being ditzy or men being dumb.
Proving Gender Discrimination
Proving gender discrimination can be tricky. Most companies know that discrimination based on sex or pregnancy is against EEOC regulations, so they will not come right out and say that they don’t like to hire women for certain positions or that they believe that men don’t have the emotional intelligence to be good in certain roles.
Instead, you must look for behavior patterns within the company or exhibited by specific managers. It may take time to collect evidence, so make sure that you:
- Document any discriminatory incidents, including the date and what was said
- Note any adverse action taken against you or others due to their gender
- File a gender discrimination complaint with your company’s Human Resources Department
- Discreetly ask other co-workers of your gender if they have also experienced gender discrimination
You may watch how your employer chooses employees to promote. Are positions announced, with all qualified employees welcome to apply, or are certain individuals chosen for promotions or lucrative lateral moves within the company, and then the changes are announced?
Similarly, are men promoted more often than women in tech roles, or are women disproportionately chosen to work in sales over men?
Do you need to know your legal options in a gender discrimination case?
If you have reason to believe that you have been discriminated against in the hiring process, looked over for promotions because of your gender, or unfairly dismissed because of your sex, then you may have a case to seek compensation in a gender discrimination lawsuit.
An experienced employment attorney of NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of workers in New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation.