How to cope with gender discrimination at your workplace

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A few decades ago sex-related bias was commonplace. Unfortunately, gender discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major issue for both male and female despite the fact that it is prohibited by federal law (also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

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Nowadays gender discrimination can be direct and indirect. Direct discrimination implies behaving differently and often unfavorably towards people because of their sex. The great example of indirect discrimination is when some employers still apply outdated ideas about what job is perfect for women, what is perfect for men and make hiring/promotion decisions based on these stereotypes. This kind of behavior against employees is illegal and it is crucial to fighting it.  

Bias can affect any employer’s decisions not just in terms of hiring or promotion, it can define employment conditions, salary and benefits. This overview article has the most common examples of gender discrimination in the workplace and possible ways to cope with it.

Dealing with discrimination and overcoming eventual bias is not easy, but let’s cover in depth male and female bias in order to know how to fight back and not to let it hinder our professional growth.

Female discrimination in the workplace

Despite all social efforts to overcome bias including gender discrimination law that was supposed to regulate this problem, women are especially subjected to gender bias on the part of the employer. Here are some typical situations of sexual inequality.

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Employers often make salary decisions based on gender. According to numerous research, women earn 20% less than men. They also have fewer professional opportunities that are available for male employees. Even work conditions can differ from that of male workers.  

Female discrimination in the workplace also includes making hiring decisions by judging the way women look and dress. They can be passed over because they are too old, or not pretty enough for a specific position what is not common for male recruitment.

Speaking of promotion opportunities, high ranking positions are unavailable for women because male candidates tend to get executive posts. This phenomenon is called “glass ceiling” which means an artificial barrier based on gender bias that doesn’t allow any career advancement for women.

One more reason why experienced women with an excellent qualification are less likely to get promoted is that because they become pregnant or they may become pregnant. They can be also turned off if they have small children.

One of the most severe forms of gender discrimination at work is sexual harassment. Each employee has the right to perform duties free of undesired communication or romantic/sexual relationship with coworkers or manager.

Male discrimination in the workplace

Male discrimination occurs less frequently than female, but it still exists.  

According to proven data, younger men tend to get hired or promoted more often than older, and similarly taller men will probably earn more than shorter. Discrimination can occur in some career fields such as sales because women employees are preferred over men. Secretarial jobs are also considered as female, so men are more likely to be turned off for such positions.

Moreover, employers are ready to offer a more flexible schedule to women with small children  - they can leave earlier or take additional days-off, but the newly-turned father couldn’t enjoy this possibility. Male employees can be victims of sexual harassment as well as women.

Is there a solution to this problem?

Most people don’t know how to deal with discrimination at work. But your main job is to nip this in the bud and report the violation of your rights. So, if you are a victim and you resolved to report gender discrimination, follow these tips.

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First of all, you need to evaluate the situation. Each case is unique and you have to weigh the pros and cons and to think over the consequences of all your actions. Ask legal advice to understand your options and chances to cope with gender issue successfully.

In order to prove the case of discrimination at work, you have to provide direct evidence - it is the most effective way. So, if something has happened, write it down immediately - date, place, witnesses and describe the situation.

If possible, keep emails, written information, text/voice messages that will be used to prove the discrimination. If you have witnesses, ask them to document what they have seen too.

If your boss is not your offender, it is the first person you should report the discrimination. Otherwise, go straight to human resources.

In some cases, even professional HR manager is not able to deal with gender bias or harassment complaints. If you encountered any form of gender discrimination at the workplace and became a victim, it’s necessary to reach an experienced discrimination attorney. Another option is EEOC - the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - the agency that deals with job discrimination related issues.  

If you want to file a lawsuit in a court, you have to send a formal discrimination complaint to the EEOC, because you can’t go straight to court.

The remedies or relief for victims vary, but generally, it includes money damages. Employees can get compensation for emotional pain/suffering and they can be paid back for the attorney and court fees. Besides, there is an option of getting a job back if you were fired groundlessly. Employees who have been discriminated have right to be hired or promoted. Employer will be required to prevent the discrimination and minimize all chances it can happen once again. 

You already know how to overcome gender employment discrimination and how to report discrimination in the workplace. These tips will be useful for you, but most importantly, don’t be afraid to fight for equality.

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