Gender Discrimination

“Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”

—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Gender discrimination, also referred to as “sexual discrimination,” involves the unfavorable treatment of a person based on his or her gender. Gender discrimination has been such an accepted part of our culture that weeding out the vast dead zones of discrimination that still remain sometimes seems an impossible project.  An aspect of gender discrimination that is particularly malevolent is making persons of a particular gender feel that they DESERVE certain conduct or conditions, or to not even think to question or even see the inequalities culturally imposed by gender.  Plus, who wants to be the employee who is considered “shrill,” or a “bitch,” or other gendered offensive labels that work extremely well to make people quiet.  A boss, supervisor, manager, human resources representative, or coworker can commit a wrong based on gender, and still be someone you don’t want to make trouble for or argue with.  However, when those wrongs have impacted on you, those same people still need to answer for the damage they have caused.

So what is gender discrimination?  Here are some examples of discrimination by employers that we have seen with our clients or that have been reported in court cases:

  • Employers stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement
  • Excluding potential employees during recruitment
  • Denying certain employees compensation or benefits
  • Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different wages
  • Discriminating when assigning leave or retirement options
  • Denying the use of company facilities
  • Discriminating when issuing promotions or lay-offs
  • Allowing or creating a hostile work environment based on gender, making the workplace a difficult or offensive environment that interferes with an employee’s ability to work
  • Terminating or demoting based on gender, which particularly happens when new management or supervisors are brought in
  • Issuing unfair discipline based on gender, faultfinding, nitpicking
  • Treating employees of one gender differently and unequally
  • Providing insufficient training to employees based on gender
  • Holding employees of a particular gender to a higher standard
  • Giving an impossible work load or goals to employees of a particular gender
  • Giving less desirable assignments to employees of a particular gender
  • Giving less hours on the schedule to members of a particular gender
  • Slurs, offensive jokes and comments
  • Displaying offensive imagery, websites, songs, items
  • Bullying behavior, or the office freezing you out of meetings and assignments, refusing to provide normal assistance or interaction

This is of course not a comprehensive list of the ways in which discrimination rears its ugly head at work, but it is a list that you may be more familiar with than you would like.  If you are experiencing any, or many, of the above discriminatory actions, or some other form of mistreatment, please understand that it is in the vested interests of the wrongdoers to make you feel guilty for or hesitate to pursue potential legal claims.  Contact an employment attorney to discuss what’s been happening to you, we’ve heard it all, we know how this works, and we want to help.